36LAGER, ALE AND MATHEW BIXEL

Mathew Bixel
Mathew Bixel
Although the brewing of beer has been around for a long time, the lack of refrigeration meant that commercial brewing didnít boom in Ontario until the 1880s. Prior to this many farmers brewed ale in the fall and winter, and as this beer was difficult to store, it went flat or sour easily. It was impossible for one company to dominate an entire market the way beer companies do today.

In the 1870s, beer tastes began to change for two main reasons: German immigration and the Temperance movement.

German settlers brought with them a taste for lager beer, which was a staple in Europe. Without Anglo-Saxon suppliers in North America, German businessmen began to brew the beer for themselves and their fellow Germans. Others were curious, and the light, crisp flavour of lager became very popular.

Lager was preferred by members of the Temperance movement because of its relatively low alcohol content. Ales then could contain up to 13% alcohol, while lager contained about 4%, and sometimes as little as 2.5%, alcohol.

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