Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard
It’s that time of year again –– time to dust off your steins and head to your nearest purveyor of fine lagers to celebrate Craft Lager Day.
But where to go to find a decent lager outside of a well-stocked bottle shop? After all, not too many craft breweries outside of regions with historically high rates of German immigration feature lagers in their lineups. For starters, lagers suffer from an undeserved image problem on this continent. On top of that, lagers are notoriously difficult to brew. The clean fermentation profile of lager yeast leaves nowhere for faults to hide.KansasCity BierCo (Logo) And from a purely monetary perspective, lagers tie up fermenters for much longer than ales –– weeks if not months longer.
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Venture through a dank railway tunnel, then turn on to a small industrial estate in south east London and you’ll find yourself at a fine example of a British brewery. But there are no rambling roses or tumble-down ancient buildings crying of English tradition here. The Kernel brewery is little more than five years old and the beer produced in this urban hideaway combines old traditions with new thinking – and a little experimentation.
“We rely on that process of hypothesis, experiment and result,” says brewer Toby Munn. “We can create our own little experiment and do all kinds of different things, which is fun.”
Munn shows off the fermentation tanks, where yeast gradually turns sugars into alcohol over several days, and a room full of barrels and large French “fouders”, which were previously used in wine-making.
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