I love lagers. You unfortunately don't hear that enough out of the mouths of beer geeks, but I really love lagers. I've heard people say things like "I don't like lagers." I understand they might associate lagers with macro beer, but they are really cutting themselves off from some of the world's very best beer under that idea. Lagers can be anywhere from wonderfully easy-drinking pilsners to body-warming dopplebocks. One of my favorite types of lagers is the slightly obscure zwickelbier style.
This isn't a very well known style here in the United States, but I certainly hope that will change. The zwickelbier (pronounced "zvick-el) is a very close cousin of the kellerbier (celler beer) style. They are both unfiltered, unpasteurized, yeasty, hoppy, malty lagers that hail from the Franconian area of Germany. They are still very popular summer biergarten beers. The main difference in the two beers is their mouthfeel and carbonation and on historical examples, the color. Kellerbiers were usually stronger in ABV and in hop levels. True kellerbiers would have been fermented "unbunged" so that the carbon dioxide escaped while maturing in a wooden cask. The final product would have had little to no head and really would have resembled British cask ale. That certainly isn't the case anymore, but that is historically accurate. Kellerbiers were normally brewed to between 5-5.5%ABV.
|This is a modern day "zwickel"|
I honestly don't know of any zwickelbiers that have been brewed in Indiana. My current favorite available here in Indiana is Zwickel from Urban Chestnut in St. Louis. With our history of German immigration here to Indiana and the references I can find to pre-prohibition beers in Indiana, we've had these beers here before. It would be nice to have the sunshine on my back, to be surrounded by good company, and to have another stein full of zwickelbier in front of me.