Lager gets a bad rap. It is seen by some as the anathema of ‘craft beer’. I have been told by experienced brewers that it’s really hard to make a good lager though. With this in mind I tried a few from California, Scotland and Cork.
I started with Brewdog’s This. Is. Lager. According to the commercial description this one is brewed with ‘100% malt and ten times the hops of most industrial lagers!’ They are subtly referring to the rice and corn used to give Budweiser that smooth taste we all know and love. It’s brewed with Pilsner Malt, Munich Malt and it’s hopped with the classic Hallertauer, Hersbrucker and Saaz hops with the addition of Columbus for an extra kick of hops. But of course. It is Brewdog, you weren’t really expecting a straight lager were you? It’s really tasty. Give it a go Lager Haterz.
Next I tried Anchor’s California Lager. It’s an attempt to recreate the first Californian Lager brewed during the Gold Rush using an ice pond in the mountains. This is also brewed with 100% malt and it’s hopped with Cluster hops as it would’ve been over a century ago. This is very drinkable. I’d say I should’ve drank it before the Brewdog but you live and learn.
There is a pub in Mayfield in Cork called the Cotton Ball and they have been brewing since 2013. I really need to get down to that end of the country, I’ve a good few places that I’m keen to visit. In the meantime, they began bottling late last year so it’s available outside the People’s Republic now! The Mayfield 5 Pilsner Lager is made with Irish Malt and American Columbus and Galena Hops. It is also late hopped with two of the hops that are dubbed ‘Noble’ Hallertau Perle and Hersbrucker. It’s clean, crisp and refreshing. Which is exactly what a lager should be!
I had the Cotton Ball Indian Summer Beer another evening with a pork burger from our local butcher. It’s a Lager/Ale hybrid. They used an ale yeast and Lager and Crystal Malts and ‘New World’ hops. It went really well with the burger and I’d imagine it would go equally well with spicy food. I have to say I reckon this is one hybrid that works. It’s not ridiculously hoppy but it is a well made beer that I’ll be stocking up on for the Summer! Sláinte!