Red lagers

By Gregg Smith

Lately it seems every time you turn around there's another new "Red Beer" coming on the market. Brewers from coast to coast have been rolling out the barrels as quickly as they can devise a formula. Truth is, this newest, hot craze in cold beers is really quite old.

As far back as ancient Summeria the brewers were making a red beer they called 'Kassig' and the beer of more modern origin "Vienna" was probably invented by brewer Anton Dreher in 1841. But the style eventually feel out of favor. However, a group of immigrants fleeing Austria took the style named Vienna with them to Mexico and the Southwest United States. Where the brewers of Dos Equis and Negro Modelo carried it on.

Fortunately the rise of the microbrewing movement brought with it an interest in traditional brewing. Along with this was a natural curiosity about the old methods and beer styles. Meanwhile down in Texas and Mexico a few examples of Vienna beer lived on and waited for micro brewers to revive Vienna style beer.

With a change in name to reflect the reddish-amber hues, the style is characterized by the toasted malt which imparts the color. The taste is of soft malt and sports a complex nose of malty sweetness mingling with low aroma hops. It's also not unusual to hear people describe the flavor as toasty.

Excellent with any matter of sweet, spicy foods, Red Beers make a good year round choice. So admire the light shining through the and reflect on a beer that reaches back to ancient Summeria.

Gregg Smith


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