Lager: its origin dates back two centuries
The brewing variety was born in 1602, on the initiative of the then king of Bavaria
This was revealed by a historical-scientific survey published by Oxford University Press.
The "family tree" of lager beer has been identified. The credit goes to the work on Fems Yeast Research, by the Weihenstephan Research Center for Brewing and Food Quality of the Technical University of Munich, published by Oxford University Press. Based on historical documents and contemporary phylogenomic research, researchers have identified the probable place of origin of lagers in the court beer hall (Hofbräuhaus) of Maximilian the Great, elector of Bavaria, in Munich in 1602.
The discovery is not insignificant, given that lager represents 90% of all beer consumed worldwide. The first brewing productions would have their roots in the eastern Mediterranean 13,000 years ago, while until the beginning of the 20th century the prevailing variety was the ale. Lager, therefore, would not have been born a hundred years ago from the hybridization between S. cerevisiae and S. eubayanus as claimed up to now, but its fermentation would have already occurred at least two centuries earlier.
The origin of lager therefore dates back to the moment in which, in 1602, the new Bavarian ruler, Maximilian the Great, appropriated the privilege of special wheat beer, taking over the Schwarzach breweries of the von Degenbergs. In October of that year, the yeast from the wheat brewery was taken to the Duke's court brewery in Munich, where hybridization would take place, thus giving rise to S. pastorianus, from that moment widespread in Bavarian breweries and, in followed, from all over the world.
At the source of the epochal turning point in the history of brewing, curiously, there is the sterility of the previous sovereign Hans VIII von Degenberg, who, unable to father a son, he put an end to his dynasty upon his death. "While one lineage died out, another began. No heir, but what a legacy he left to the world!", comments Mathias Hutzler, one of the main authors of the historical-scientific investigation.
EFA News - European Food Agency