1) In this whacky, crazy world of craft beer, lagers pretty much get kicked to the curb. Not enough hops, you see. Not enough unusual or odd ingredients, you see. Not enough “loud”. For a lot of beer geeks, subtlety doesn’t play so well. A beer needs to be big, brash and knock our socks off.
2) And lagers just don’t do that. So screw lagers, right? Well …. No. Because for those who know anything about brewing, a lager is a bloody hard thing to brew. Those loud beers offer a brewer a lot of things to hide a fault behind. Hell, I’m willing to bet some of the sour beers I’ve had weren’t meant to come out like that; something went wrong in the process, so the brewer rebranded. The difference between a sour beer and a mistake is in the intent.
3) But a lager, well, it doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles. Which means there’s nowhere for a brewer to hide; if they screw up it’s there for everyone to taste. Which is why I’d be skeptical if someone came out with a sour lager. Nah, you just screwed up, didn’t you?
4) Philter, the brewery with the lovely retro ’80s cans, has just released a lager. Which makes sense – if you’re going to have ’80s livery then you have to have a lager. And it’s a good’un too. I’d say it’s perhaps not totally “to style”, in case you’re one of those stick-in-the-butt types who think that crap’s important. That not to style bit comes at the end, where there’s more bitterness that I’d expected, but I found I liked that. The aroma is clean with some bready notes, while there are some honey characters on the tongue and quite a good mouthfeel given it’s 4.4 per cent. It’s a flavour profile that doesn’t scream “HERE I AM AND I’M GREAT!”, but it’s a lager, so it’s not supposed to.
5) If you want something like that check out Philter’s Red Session Ale. It has more alcohol than the lager and a whole lot more hops. All-up, it’s big and thick and tasty.
Free or paid for: The Philter people sent me a mixed six-pack of the three beers in their range. The other one is the XPA, which I’ve already written about here.
Categories: Beer of the Week