Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Going for An English - Lager Edition

Pale lager, it's just my thing people.

Whether it's a pilsner, of German or Czech extraction, a Helles, a Maibock, or a Kellerbier, if it's pale and lager I'll give it a bash. Some might draw the line at drinking mass produced pale lagers, but I have a soft spot for Tennent's (if anyone fancies sending me a slab of those beautiful yellow cans, feel free), and from time to time I quite like a Budweiser, not Bud Lite, proper Bud.

English lager is not really a common sight over here in Virginia. Once upon a time our local Wegmans stocked Charlie Wells Dry Hopped Lager, which was ok, but more recently they have started stocking Pure Brewed Lager from that bastion of ale brewing, Samuel Smiths. In one of those spur of the moment things, I picked up a four pack as I had no recollection of ever having tried it, though I did recall that the Tadcaster brewers used to brew under license for Ayinger, so I guess they know what they are doing.

The cans themselves don't really give much away in terms of style, but the beer has an abv of 5% and won a gold medal as an "International Style Pilsner" at the US Beer Open in 2018. In a rare moment of brand consistency, I poured the 16oz can into one of my several Samuel Smiths pint glasses...

Pretty looking beer there, I think you'll agree. However, I have a minor gripe, nucleated glassware often does my head in, you know the kind of thing, glasses with laser etchings on the base that ensure the head is constantly refreshed, I am just not a fan. Next time I try it, I will use one of my standard German beer glasses to get a better sense of actual, unaided, head retention.

So, yes, top marks for looking exactly as a pale lager should do, suitably golden, crystal clear, and all topped off with white foam. That anything in the aroma made it though that mass of foam is a wonder, but there was some lovely floral notes, some grassiness, and the very subtle toastiness of a Vienna malt. The breadiness was evident in the drinking as well, with a lovely lemoniness that firstly put Tettnang hops in mind, but then made me think of lemon curd on toast, minus most of the sweetness of the curd though.

Overall, a very respectable pale lager that put me more in mind of a Helles than that grab bag of naff that is the "International Style Pilsner". Assuming that the 4 pack I snagged at Wegmans on Saturday wasn't the last they will ever have, I still haven't forgiven them for no longer stocking Black Sheep Ale, then this might just become a frequent visitor to the Velký Al beer fridge.


  1. I am a craft beer drinker. But when I decide to stray from the side, the pale yellow, fizzy lager is on my roster of what to have.
    And for that particular lager, I keenly prefer it be from a small, regional brewery which's continuted operation is in question.
    Such as - and as you are in Virginia, probably available at Trader Joe's stores therein. (Presuming I know the distribution pattern for stores on the East Coast of the U.S.A.) (If you lived on the West Coast of the U.S.A., I puzzle what would be the pale yellow, fizzy lager on offer on its stores there?)
    Anyhow, the pale yellow, fizzy lager I especially commend when you want to go this route is Simpler Times Pilsner (not the Lager, although it would be the 2nd). It is brewed in Monroe, WI., at the second oldest still operational brewery in the U.S.A. - the former Huber | Augsburger brewery in Monroe, WI. (The Stevens Point Brwy. may challenge this brewery claim as to its spot on the chart. Its claim falls to whether the brewery brewed beer from 1920-1933. I feel there is enough circumstantial evidence, and its face against an advertising push, that this is accurate.)
    I will do whatever I can to keep these old regional breweries brewing. My core belief is that a closed brewery cannot produce a great beer.

    1. I quite often buy lagers from our local Trader Joe's, though usually it is the Gordon Biersch brewed PLZNR, or their doppelbock in winter, which makes a lovely drop to soak the dried fruit for fruit cake! I have tried the Simpler Times beers and found them perfectly acceptable, also good is the "Peter's Brand" pilsner, a "Dutch style" brewed in Germany, go figure.


Taking Up the Alworth #MyDreamBrewery Baton

We've all done it I am sure, dreamt about what our ideal brewery or pub would look like. I have done it many times, whether sat in a tap...