Saturday, July 21, 2012

What is Zoigl Bier?

Ever had Zoigl brau? Ever heard of it? 

I had my first Zoigl brau at the Appalachian Brewing Co's Brew Pub in Gettysburg.  ABC listed the Zoigl as a summer seasonal on the menu, though it's actually brewed in the winter. Golden and hazy, with a faintly spicy aroma and a complex flavor, I liked Zoigl Star Lager well enough to  learn more about the style. 

Turns out, I like the story of Zoigl brau even better than the beer itself! 

Zoigl brau is the product of an association of homebrewers. Each brewer in the association brews a batch in turn. When the first brewer's batch is ready, he offers it to community patrons. While his batch is available, he displays a six-pointed Zoigl star on the corner of his home. The next brewer in sequence brews, lagers, and kegs his batch in time to take over serving when it's his turn. The responsibility for brewing the communal brew rotates through the association in turn.

Small clusters of homebrewers in a Zoigl association will develop their own preferences and the beer they brew will reflect unique flavors of the local ingredients and preferred proportions. Because of the local variations, Zoigl brau is a style of brewing more than a style of beer.

These two articles were helpful to my appreciation of this interesting approach to brewing and sharing beer, the most convivial of beverages.

What is Zoigl?
White Beer Travels Zoigl

Since true Zoigl brau is brewed in one of a few Communal Brew Houses in Germany and the Czech Republic, I believe ABC's beer should be called a Zoigl-style beer. There's a difference between champagne (France) and prosecco (Italy), and between a Trappist ale and a Trappist-style ale brewed outside the 7 approved monasteries.

At any rate, I am fascinated with the idea of a community of homebrewers taking turns brewing and serving the town's favorite beverage. Bravo!