Not longer after we’d decided to ditch Foster’s in favour of real ale, we had our minds blown for a second time when we rediscovered lager at a friend’s birthday party at the Greenwich Union, the brewery tap for Meantime.
We were surprised to realise that, within that catch-all category, there were sub-types and variations we’d never dreamed of: at that time, the Union was selling Kölsch, ‘Golden’ and Pils. All three looked similar, but tasted different. Not wanting to look too geeky, we whispered to each other — “This one’s more… it’s got more… it tastes…” — but didn’t really have the vocabulary to express what we were experiencing.
We liked Golden Lager the best and we came back later that month to drink it again. They no longer make it but, even now, when we taste a certain kind of “double malt” European beer, like Estrella Voll Damm, GL is the reference point we return to.
The important lesson for us, we suppose, was that Real Ale Good/Lager Bad is a stupid over-simplification.