We sat down with Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, to get the lowdown on Brooklyn Lager, the first beer to be inducted into the Men’s Journal Craft Beer Hall of Fame.
“I think today Brooklyn Lager is in 36 or 37 countries,” Oliver told Men’s Journal. “I’ve had it everywhere from Shanghai to Australia. What was a strange little beer 25 or 30 years ago, has grown into the everyday beer for people all over the world.”
Oliver first joined Brooklyn Brewery in 1994.
“At that time, I think Brooklyn Lager had started to lose its way, flavor-wise, so I just kind of tightened things up,” Oliver said. “When Brooklyn Lager was introduced, beer was this kind of yellow, fizzy liquid. That was the stuff people knew as beer.”
When consumers first saw and tried Brooklyn Lager, they didn’t understand its color and taste. It was dark, because it had “caramelized malts” and it smelled different because they “added some hops.” Thankfully, they held fast to their beer.
“The thing we always had confidence in was other people’s good taste,” Oliver said. “It’s funny, after all these years, you still feel like the snot-nosed kid, the insurgents, and in a certain way as craft brewers, all of us still are.”
Watch the full video for more on Brooklyn Lager and how Oliver helped develop it into the beer it is today.
Brooklyn Lager Stats (courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery):
Style: American Amber Lager
Malts: 2-row, Munich, C-60
Hops: Cascade, Hallertauer Mittelfrueh
Yeast: Brooklyn Brewery house lager yeast
Alcohol by Volume: 5.2%