Tag Archives: Lager

Goose Island Summer Time Kölsch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a nice seasonal gem from Goose Island. Kölsch is the name for a pilsner-style top-fermented beer from the town of Kiln (Cologne) in Germany. It’s a bit obscure, but has become popular with US craft brewers of late.

Goose Island Summer Time Kölsch 
5.1% alcohol
Gold in colour, this is a deliciously open, full flavoured Kolsch with a strong sweet malty background. It’s very fruity, too, with some ripe apple and pear notes, as well as a bit of orange peel. There are notes of honey and summer meadows, and a bit of dry straw character. The hops sit in the background. Overall, a very drinkable, friendly full-flavoured lager style with a hint of seriousness. 7.5/10

 

 

Camden Hells Lager

camden hells

Camden Town Brewery is a small craft brewery that by all accounts was fixing to be friendly with a big brewery, and ended up selling to AB InBev last year (one of the globes biggest brewers) for 70 odd million quid. There have been a spate of craft breweries selling to large brewers: the large brewers are terrified by declining sales of their key brands and see buying much hipper craft beer brands, which they can then scale up, as being the way forward. The flip side of this is suddenly there’s more beer and better availability, and the consumer wins – but only if the quality is maintained. Beer is recipe-driven and a brand can be scaled up, as long as no compromise is made with the ingredients. But some of these ingredients are expensive, and big breweries just love to cut back on costs, so there’s real peril. This Camden Hells is pretty good.

Camden Hells Lager
4.6% alcohol
Half way between a pilsner and a helles in style, using bavarian lager yeast and pilsner malts, with perle and hallertauer hops. This is a bright, fresh, yet flavourful lager with zippy citrus notes, a nice bitterness, and juicy lemony fruitiness. I really like it: it’s not the most complex beer, but it is very fresh and has plenty of flavour. 7/10

Aldi’s Oktoberfest beers: five from Schwaben Bräu, Germany

IMG_2109

To celebrate Oktoberfest, Aldi are launching five new beers in store from German brewery Schwaben Bräu. They are each priced at a very reasonable £1.79 for 500 ml, and they will be available from September 15th. It’s a large brewery based in Stuttgart (website is here).

Schwaben Bräu Volkfestbier
5.5% alcohol
Yellow/gold in colour. Malty and broady with herbs and toast and toffee notes. Has a hint of sweetness and nice smooth, broad flavours with a bit of tanginess. Finishes a bit spicy. Like a full flavoured lager. 6.5/100

Schwabern Bräu Das Naturtrübe
5% alcohol
Unfiltered Pilsner. Fresh, complex and tangy with a sweet herbal edge to the lively citrus, pear and pith on the palate. This is concentrated, spicy, lively and refreshing with an attractive spiciness. 7/10

Schwaben Bräu Helle
5% alcohol
Lively, tangy, bright and citrussy with a refreshing, zippy sort of personality. Lovely hoppy bitterness counters the fruity notes. Nice weight and focus here with good balance. 7.5/10

Schwaben Bräu Das Weizen Here Hell
5% alcohol
Bright and textured with herbs, coriander and spices. This has a lovely density to it: it’s mouthfilling, with a lovely spicy yeastiness adding extra dimensions to the flavour. Finishes with a tangy, citrussy bite. So delicious, well balanced and complex. 8/10

Schwaben Bräu Schwarze 
4.9% alcohol
Brown colour. Herby, tangy and tarry, with some treacle notes and a bit of spiciness. Malty and tangy with a very spicy citrus peel edge to it. 6/10

 

Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager

brooklyn lager

Had this the other day at a Burger joint. It reminded me just how good it is: a lager, but with proper flavour. This was the beer that started the now-famous Brooklyn Brewery back in 1988. Steve Hindy and Tom Potter set out to revive one of the USA’s leading brewing centres, hit by a hop disease and then prohibition in the early 20th Century that pretty much wiped it out.

Steve and Tom commissioned William Moeller, to brew their lager based on an old recipe of Moeller’s grandfather. It involved dry hopping an all-malt lager, giving the beer a distinctive tropical fruit/floral/hoppy aroma that makes this beer taste almost like a lager/IPA cross. It’s lovely stuff.

Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager
5.2% alcohol
Gold bronze colour. Full flavoured, spicy and a bit hoppy with some nice exotic fruity notes. It’s a full flavoured, well balanced lager that’s almost an IPA with those dry hop characters integrating perfectly with the maltiness. Lovely. 7.5/10

 

 

Two ‘craft’ lagers, from Fullers and Greene King

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is why the term ‘craft beer’ needs a definition. Two respectable enough beers from big brewers, but not really craft at all, even though they appropriate the term.

Fuller’s Frontier New Wave Craft Lager
4.5% alcohol
Made with new world hops. Golden colour. Rich and full flavoured with a distinct maltiness and a hint of herby, spicy hoppiness, as well as lemony notes. Full flavoured lager that’s just a little bit boring. 6/10
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Greene King Noble English Craft Lager
5% alcohol
Brewed with Tettnang hops. Gold colour. Sweet and herby with some toffee notes. Very fudgy and sweet but there’s an attractive tangy, citrussy hoppy edge to the palate which saves it. I’m not keen on the toffee notes, though. 7/10

Revisionist beers from Tesco

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s time for the big brewers and supermarkets to jump on the craft beer bandwagon.

Guys, clamber aboard, but be aware that your beers will be subject to scrutiny. I’ve nothing against larger brewers when they make great beer. But I can’t stand it when they make boring beer and use distribution and marketing clout to put it in front of poor suckers who don’t have much in the way of alternatives.

Tesco has just launched a range of ‘craft beers’, which they’ve called ‘Revisionist’. The packaging is great, and all but one is made by Marston’s (the odd one out is from Wychwood). How do they fare?

Revisionist Craft Lager
5% alcohol
Dry hopped with Admiral and Boadicea, made by Marston’s. Yellow/gold colour. Full flavoured lager with notes of herbs, straw and hay, with some citrus and bitter hop characters. Real personality here. 7/10

Revisionist Dark India Pale Ale
4.8% alcohol
Made by Jon Tillison and Dave Carter at Wychwood, dry hopped with chinook and citra. Full brown colour. Malty and warm but with fresh tangy citrus and herb hoppiness. Some bitter black chocolate notes too, and some floral characters. An odd beer that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. 6/10

Revisionist Pacific Hop Red Ale
4.2% alcohol
Made by Simon Yates at Marston’s, hopped at four stages with Waimea and Pacific Gem. Red brown colour. Sweet, malty and quite rich with some warm herbiness and contrasting bitter hop notes, as well as a bit of roast coffee and chocolate. Despite the hops this is a slightly cowardly beer, a little afraid of flavour. 6.5/10

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Revisionist American Hop Rye Pale Ale
‘Craft brewed by Marston’s’ and dry hopped with Amarillo and Citra, made using rye crystal malt. Spicy and slightly toffeed, with a rich nose that has floral herby notes. There’s a hint of roast coffee on the savoury, tangy palate as well as some bright, spicy notes. Could do with more richness and hoppiness? 7/10

Revisionist Belgian Saison Beer
5% alcohol
Made by Marston’s, dry hopped with Styrian and Lubeski. This is interesting: it tastes Belgian, a bit like Leffe Blonde, with lovely spiciness and a rich, sweet core, coupled with bracing citrus freshness. Real interest. 7.5/10

Revisionist California Common Steam Beer
4.7% alcohol
Made by Marston’s. This is a lager fermented at higher temperatures to produce a sort of lager/ale hybrid. Gold/bronze colour. Simple, a bit spicy, with nice fresh hoppy bite and some malty richness. A bit boring. 5.5/10

Windsor & Eton Brewery Republika Pilsner Lager

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now this is good. It’s a pilsner-style lager with a distinct Czech influence: the malt, hops and yeast are all Czech, and it was originally brewed as a collaboration between Windsor & Eton brewery and Tomas Mikulica of Pivovarsky Dvur. After fermentation the beer was stored at very low temperature for 6 weeks, a process known as ‘lagering’. The result is fabulous.

Windsor & Eton Brewery Republika Pilsner Lager
4.8% alcohol
Saaz hops and Czech yeast. Lovely aromatic nose is fresh, hoppy and citrussy, with some floral notes. Complex palate is very fresh and tangy with grapefruit notes. Proper lager. 8