Foster’s Lager was first brewed by William and Ralph Foster who arrived in Melbourne from New York in 1886. They set up their brewery with an American refrigeration engineer and a German brewmaster in late 1888. Situated on a site in Rokeby Street, Collingwood, they delivered their first shipment to Hotels in Melbourne in February 1889.
At this time Aussie’s were used to drinking a British style Ale. This was a heavy and complex taste not particularly good for a hot climate. When Foster’s hit the market it was pounced on because it was cold lager and therefore lighter, smoother, higher in Carbon Dioxide and ultimately more refreshing.
The refrigeration engineer meant they could keep the lager cool during the brewing process so it did not over ferment or go off. The German brewmaster meant they could create a great clean crisp lager that the Germans were famous for instead of the colonial ales that the poms had forced on the locals
The icing on the cake was delivering the product packed in ice during the hottest month of the year, meaning the owners of the Hotels could serve the beer exactly how it was crafted to be drunk – ice cold. It was instantly more refreshing than anything seen at this scale before in Australia and in 1889 it won “Highest award against the world” in the Melbourne Centennial exhibition.
In the UK, Foster’s is still brewed in strict adherence to the original 1888 recipe. All processes are the same as the 19th century version, however the use of modern brewing technology, has allowed the brewers to maintain the traditional flavour whilst supplying the commercial volumes demanded by the British public.
Foster’s Malt, Water and Hops are all sourced locally in the UK, however, the Unique strain of Foster’s Yeast came to the UK from Australia and is only ever used in the brewing of Foster’s lager. As part of the “Master Culture Collection” in the Tadcaster brewery, the Tim Foster number 6 strain yeast is a direct culture of the original Foster’s yeast. This heritage is what keeps each generation of Foster’s true to the taste of William & Ralph’s original formula.
As a result of being lagered for longer than most of its contemporaries, Foster’s has time to develop into the perfectly balanced and easy to drink lager it was designed to be. It is a clean-tasting beer without a sulphurous, grainy or overly malty palate. It’s neither too hoppy nor too fruity, and has a creaminess, which gives it both sweetness and a full-bodied mouth feel that is more robust than any other lager with the same ABV in the market.