The roots of lager are intertwined with Germany. Michael Jackson takes a looks at the role of Benno Scharl, the Spaten brewery, Oktoberfest and others that took lager beer from ice caves to the modern era.
"As I entered the Weihenstephan Brewery," writes Roger Protz, "the hairs rose on the nape of my neck. A sign on a wall says 'Altester brauerei der Welt.' You are in the oldest brewery in the world, a thought that concentrates the mind. No matter that today it's a commercial brewery attached to a university. The place has got history."
After the dark months of winter, Bavarians will venture cautiously into their beloved beer gardens, even when the weather is not yet reliably warm enough to ensure comfort. They can always give themselves a little central heating with a Bock Beer.
Michael Jackson has been banging on about South German wheat beers for years, and he's glad to see them spreading beyond their Bavarian homeland. The most visible examples are perhaps those from the Erdinger Weissbräu brewery.
From the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, to Tulsa, Okla., every fall it's time to drink German-style beer, eat until your tummy hurts and jump in and try the Chicken Dance. Everything you need to know.