“Lager in general is underappreciated by ‘beer enthusiasts’.”
That’s something the Pub Curmudgeon (@oldmudgie) said on Twitter the other night. We probably wouldn’t have taken particular note had it not arrived in the midst of what has felt like a positive bombardment of love for lager in the feed.
For example, the Pub Curmudgeon’s Tweet landed right alongside a series of distinctly lagery Tweets from Mark Dredge who is currently in Germany (researching a book about lager, we assume).
Augustiner Keller is the busiest beer garden I’ve drunk in. The sound of conversations, clinking cutlery and clunking mugs of lager is all around and it’s wonderful! There’s about 5,000 seats here and most are taken. pic.twitter.com/XrlBuBsOz8
— Mark Dredge (@markdredge) July 19, 2018
— Chris Hall (@ChrisHallBeer) July 19, 2018
We do get what the Pub Curmudgeon is getting at: there was definitely a stretch, 30 years or so, where big-brewery lager was the enemy as far as many CAMRA members were concerned, not helped by its public image.
And it’s true that lagers don’t get big ratings.
But the thing is, they do get the check-ins: Carling has been rated 30,000 times on Untappd, compared to 60,000 for Beavertown Gamma Ray, to pick a popular craft pale ale as a point of reference. Beer geeks (and we reckon anyone who bothers logging every beer they drink counts as a beer geek) are drinking Foster’s, Stella, Carling and Kronenbourg 1664 fairly frequently.
We reckon there’s one of yer false dichotomies here.
The same people who enjoy imperial stouts and IPAs, and love limited edition novelties and specialities, also drink normal beer with their normal mates in normal pubs.
There aren’t many people living a 100 per cent Craft Beer Lifestyle, as far as we can tell. (Even if there are, there are plenty of lagers about in that world these days, from BrewDog to Cloudwater.)
It feels to us that as long as we’ve been into beer, we’ve seen beer people talking fondly about lager. Michael Jackson wrote about lager with as much passion as any other beer style; Graham Lees, co-founder of CAMRA, became a lager specialist; and Alastair Hook built what were arguably Britain’s first Definition 2 craft breweries largely on lager.
Indeed, Meantime’s range of lagers were among the first beers to grab our attention, and lager prompted us to start this blog in 2007.
Many of the first beer bloggers and writers we engaged with were open about their enjoyment of lager, to some degree: Stonch, Tandleman, Ron Pattinson, Max, Velky Al, Evan Rail, Robbie Pickering… We could go on.
In Eastwood. Drinking Stella pic.twitter.com/MT7aGAnjSI
— Simon H Johnson (@simonhjohnson) April 6, 2013
In fact, the only person we can think of who still baldly states that he doesn’t like lager in general is Ed Wray – hardly a figurehead for the trendy end of the craft beer movement. (No offence meant, Ed. Or would the opposite be ruder?)
Perhaps the impression that beer geeks don’t appreciate lager is partly a result of the way beer geeks who do tend to talk about it:
- “Unlike all those other IPA-obsessed beer geeks I, an open-minded world traveller with a sophisticated palate, am able to truly appreciate the subtlety of lager.”
- “You might think Budweiser is bad but actually it’s good, ahh, not like you thought, aah…” (The Ironic Review.)
- “Am I the only one here who appreciates a good pilsner?” (No. See above.)
Not that there’s anything wrong with not liking lager.
There’s nothing wrong with not liking it, and there’s nothing wrong with liking it.