There are several beer styles that just do not float my boat at all. And, honestly I think they’ve been ruined for me by from many years of mass-produced, commercial, cynical conglomerate products. European lager is one I just had lost all love for, & even craft versions of european lagers have a hard time winning me over. I don’t think I’ll ever want to make lager my go-to beer style ever again, but some craft lagers have made me gain an appreciation for the style again.
When I think lager, I honestly think of 90’s sub-culture, cans of piss yellow carbonated garbage set against a backdrop of Underworld’s mega hit, ‘Born Slippy’ lit up by dancing lights of every colour of the spectrum with Begbie, Mark, Sickboy & Spud choosing life.
Lager for me became the remnants of ‘the worst toilet in Scotland’, crawl down the u-bend & all. Commercial lager drove me from beer completely at one point. YellowBelly Lager comes in a black can with that familiar 1920’s by-gone era beer champion on the front. No catchy name. No claims of beery righteousness. Just ‘Lager’.
Did someone in Wexico take a day off from the marketing boilerroom of Simon Lambert & Sons? Was Declan swinging the fucking lead that day? ‘Lager’? ‘Lager’? Are you pulling my fucking wigwam here? Last time I seen ‘lager’ as a beer name was on yellow pack lager tins from Tesco. And THAT was a fucking travesty.
This however, is anything but. I love the fact it pours slightly hazy & is not piss-coloured. I love the fact the nose on this is big fuck off fresh from the oven french boulangerie. The head on it is a fantastic, & the carbonation wasn’t like an ‘X’ buzz bubbling up.
That first taste isn’t just crisp. It’s hard to describe. Many paler craft lagers go for this almost sweet toast-like feel on the first taste, which I just do not like. This feels like that first taste you get from some lightly toasted brioche, which is ridiculously welcoming. Then, that malt sweetness comes in & it’s not a big hit of sweet, again it’s brioche like; bready sweetness, that is just quintessentially ‘lager’.
The mouthfeel is anything but lager-esque in the commercial sense. Dare I say at 4.1% it’s a medium body that I’d typically find on a five to six percent English IPA. But, there’s definitely no hint of an IPA yeast in use here, which some craft lager producers use to cheat their way to a faster-turn around on a lager. There’s that wonderful slight citrus you expect from lagering yeasts that get the full-time to work their magic. This tastes like it’s been given its full time in the lagering process to allow the yeast to deliver all those wonderful flavours, that just have a great back-to-you, return-to-glass value
The finish of the beer is everything I expect from a lager – clean. There’s no malty hang around. No citrus linger. Just smooth, good times to refresh & get you back in for more. There’s a phrase going around amongst the beery-smark-types these days; ‘crushable‘. And this lager is just that. It’s ridiculously easy to drink while utterly enjoyable at the same time.