Germany’s Ancient Beer Treasures

The oldest archaeological evidence of brewing in all of Central Europe is located in Germany in the form of an earthenware amphora from around 800 B.C.E..  The amphora was found in the small Northern village of Kasendorf filled with residues of black wheat ale flavored with oak leaves.  The amphora was most likely the creation of the forest-dwelling germanii.

Indeed, not surprisingly, Germans are noted for being the first Europeans to make beer.  Although, their original beer was quite different from the beer you would find in any German beer hall in today.  The very very old German traditions utilized half-baked loaves of bread that they crumbled into water and let sit until yeast from the surrounding environment settled into the mix, leading to the creation of of a fermented gruel.  As one might expect, this mixture was rather murky and sour, most likely lacking any appeal for the modern beer drinker, but still was technically beer made from the same basic ingredients of beer today.

From this little tidbit of beer history, one might begin to grasp the impressive depth of German beer traditions that are still thriving today.  In our modern, industrially dominated food world, tradition is often pushed to the back burner in order to increase production or appeal for the newest trend.  Fortunately, breweries such as Prost Brewing in Denver are committed to preserving these old German traditions, sticking to making the quality beer that is the result of centuries of refinement.

When you drink a German brew at Prost you may not be drinking a glass of fermented gruel that the forest-dwelling germanii drank (you can make this at home), but you will be drinking a brew that contains a slice of Germany’s rich brewing history.  At Prost, we are improving upon the present by preserving some of Germany’s treasures from the past.

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In a Global Brewing Industry, Prost Keeps it Local

As part of a commitment to staying local, Prost Brewing has continued to sell only growlers of its beer to be taken home and enjoyed outside of Prost.  Prost produces no cans or bottles, which it originally had no plans on producing from its inception.  By omitting cans and bottles, Prost significantly decreases its waste, diminishing its environmental impact, and further defining its beer as a truly local Denver beer that is even only sold locally.

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Keeping the German Yeast Alive

Among the German immigrants who made their way across the great Atlantic Ocean in order to start afresh in America was one German man, John Wagner, who diligently transported his lager yeast all the way from his hometown in Bavaria to Philadelphia.  With his precious yeast, John Wagner opened his own shop to sell what later became accredited as America’s first lager beer, brewed from his little shop in the 1840s.

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Friends, Colleagues, & Antifreeze

At Prost we have a large (for a startup) brewkettle. This lets us make a healthy amount of beer at once, but it also limits the number of one off seasonal beers that we can produce. That’s ok with us. That is the German way. There is a season to each of the German beers and in May (Mai) it’s time for a pale bock beer. The Germans like to drink outside in Biergartens but in Mai it is usually just a bit too cold.  Thus, Mai is the ideal time for a pale and smooth, malty and strong lagerbier. That’s just the liquid blanket needed for the job, and we’ve made one with the help of some friends and colleagues.

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Lager Bier and the Republican Party

Believe it or not, German immigrants and lager bier played a part in establishing the Republican Party.

Prior to a group of Wisconsin men establishing the Republican Party in 1854, there were two parties; the Whigs and the Democrats, neither of which appealed to German immigrants.

The Democrats welcomed immigrants and lager lovers alike but were pro slavery. The Whigs were anti slavery but were prohibitionist and anti immigrant.

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Building Solidarity, Community, and Good Cheer One Beer at A Time

One might not picture beer halls and beer gardens as vital spots in building solidarity, community, and good cheer among people within a society, however in Germany, beer halls and gardens have always served communities in doing just that.  No doubt, beer halls and beer gardens may serve other purposes as well, but  it has long been acknowledged, even by well-known sociologists, that beer gardens and halls are vital in cultivating what is known as “Gemütlichkeit” in German lingo.

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1959 Cadillac, Grandpa’s Suit & Your Prost Brew

What does a 1959 Cadillac and your grandpa’s 50 year old suit have in common with a classic German beer from Prost Brewing? The answer to this, if you did not already figure it out, is quality. Classic German beer, a 1959 Cadillac, and your grandpa’s 50 year old suit have all persisted through the decades because they are all well-made, exuding an elegance that may best be described as timeless perfection. They all were carefully constructed using pillars of simplicity, quality ingredients, as well as a touch of artistic play to make things appropriately interesting, without overwhelming the senses.

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At Prost, No Choice But to Order Like a German

In Germany, beers are rarely defined or referred to according to their brand name.  Instead, German beer is categorized according to its style such as Pils, Alt, Weißbier, Kölsch, or Dunkel.  In Germany, every brewery makes several beer styles, and a brand may come to signify a brewery’s particular interpretation of a certain style, while keeping the defining characteristics of that beer style intact.  Thus, different from North America, you can rarely choose a brand when you order a beer in Germany.  Instead, you order a style, and know right from the name what generally to expect, regardless of the brand.

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