Tasty British lager

Being big fans of good lager, we were excit­ed to read Stonch’s rave review of “Morav­ka”, a lager brewed by the Tadding­ton brew­ery in Der­byshire, in the mid­dle of Eng­land. We were even more excit­ed to see we could give it a go in the Jerusalem Tav­ern.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Bai­ley got man-flu, so I went on my own. And it is, indeed, love­ly stuff. One thing that marks it out from oth­er micro-brewed lagers we’ve tried is it had the body and car­bon­a­tion spot on – it wasn’t thin and fizzy, but rather bold and almost creamy in tex­ture. Flavour­wise it’s accen­tu­at­ed more towards the malt than the hops, but it’s cer­tain­ly not sweet or bland. I could drink pint after pint of it.

Micro-brewed lager has got a very tough con­vinc­ing job to do in the UK. It can’t com­pete with the mass-mar­ket­ed rub­bish, but can’t count on a “craft beer / arti­sanal beer” mar­ket to make up for it, as too many ale drinkers just dis­miss lager. Yes, I know the read­ers of this blog are more tol­er­ant, but I’m sure you all know peo­ple who “won’t touch the stuff”…

So good luck to ’em. They deserve to do well.
Dec­la­ra­tion of pecu­niary inter­est: I got my pint free, from an evan­ge­lis­ing Stonch. But I would def­i­nite­ly pay for it in future.


Dos brewpubs en Madrid

[I wrote about these brew­pubs back in Novem­ber 2007]

Creo que Madrid tiene algu­nas de las mejores galerías de arte en el mun­do y algunos de los mejores bares tam­bién. Pues, al menos si hablam­os sobre el ambi­ente – ¡ojalá que la cerveza fuera tan bue­na que la atmos­fera!

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Con­tin­ue read­ing “Dos brew­pubs en Madrid”

Searching for a good dark lager

Dark lager: won­der­ful idea. When done well, you get the refresh­ing crisp qual­i­ties of lager but with much more going on in the nose and mouth. Simu­ta­neous­ly restora­tive and stim­u­lat­ing.

But when it’s done bad­ly, it’s either indis­tin­guish­able from the pale stuff if you close your eyes, or worse, a sweet­er ver­sion there­of. We had many dis­ap­point­ing dark lagers in Ger­many. Not so much in Fran­co­nia, where they’re not afraid of a bit of char­ac­ter in their brews, but cer­tain­ly out­side.

We decid­ed to escape from the “eurowhiff” and have a tast­ing ses­sion at home of some dark lagers we’d picked up at Uto­beer. And by dark lager here, we’re not talk­ing about a strict­ly defined style, but rather any­thing that’s a lager and is dark.

Bohemia Regent Dark4.4%

One of the more com­mon­ly avail­able Czech dark lagers (i.e. I’ve seen it in at least two places…)

This remind­ed me of a Fran­con­ian beer – refresh­ing, incred­i­bly gul­pa­ble, but with inter­est­ing flavours to analyse. It has a good long aro­ma of trea­cle, which makes you think the beer’s going to be over­pow­er­ing­ly sweet, but it’s not. You get a soft burnt caramel flavour, with the hops adding sub­tle spici­ness, although not much bit­ter­ness. It leaves a light roast­ed malt flavour on the tongue.

The Bohemia Regent site is here.

Hirter Morchl, 5%

This is from Aus­tria, and that’s about all we’ve been able to work out from their web­site. It’s a sim­i­lar dark red colour to the Regent, with a love­ly toasty aro­ma with hints of smoke. It’s not par­tic­u­lar­ly fizzy, giv­ing it a rich­er, fuller body. It’s slight­ly on the sweet side, and gets sweet­er as it warms up, becom­ing rather cola-like. Can’t real­ly taste much hops.

Bud­var dark, 4.7%
Well, it looks great, with a tow­er­ing frothy head. Mild­ly smoky. It doesn’t have the same pro­nounced malty flavour as the oth­ers we tried today, but it’s got inter­est­ing sour notes, like a good stout, and very dis­cernible, almost raw, hops.

We’d hap­pi­ly drink all of these, but we didn’t think any of these were as good as the Bernard dark beer we had in York last month. That was love­ly stuff, with a full body and cof­fee bit­ter­ness, and yet incred­i­bly drink­able. An exot­ic mild…?

What are your dark lager rec­om­men­da­tions?

Bigfoot Barley Wine in Oddbins

UK wine sell­ers Odd­bins, with branch­es all over the coun­try, are now sell­ing Sier­ra Neva­da Big­foot Bar­ley Wine and Ear­ly Spring Beer. They’ve always had a pass­able beer selec­tion, but this is real­ly good stuff. Let’s hope they ditch one or two of the rub­bish Euro-lagers soon and replace them with more inter­est­ing beers along these lines.