By Helen Wilson | Editor
Many of us craft beer drinkers will have started out drinking the classic Pale Lagers; then you get introduced to maybe a Pale Ale or a Hefeweizen and you’re down the rabbit hole, so to say, ending up drinking a 12% Breakfast Stout or a cheek-puckering Gueuze from a stemmed tulip glass. Soon, Lagers become passé, the drink of choice for the unwashed masses and you’re more likely to have a bad Lager than a good one. And it’s true, it’s easy to f**k up a Lager, but to make an easy-drinking, crisp yet flavourful Lager is the benchmark of any good brewer!
And there are plenty of Lager styles to experiment with too; earthy, more hop-forward Pilsners, clean, crisp and slightly sweeter Kölsch, a more balanced, medium-bodied Helles, full-bodied and amber-coloured Märzen. And even if you’re a seasonal drinker, there are darker Lagers to enjoy come the cold months; with smooth and malty Dunkels, robust and toasty Bocks, stronger 7-8% Doppelbocks, and the very alcoholic Eisbock with tons of malty flavour created by freeze distilling a Bock/Doppelbock to remove water and increase the alcohol percentage anywhere up to 14%.
All this meaning, there’s no reason to stop drinking Lagers as your beer drinking tastes expand, and any beer drinker who actively avoids Lagers because “they’re not craft beer” is just working off some mighty preconceptions! Make no mistake, there are some stand-out Lagers that can satisfy ANY craft beer drinker. We thought we’d help you wade through the long process of finding such a Lager and got our hands on one of them:
Wye Valley Brewery – 1985 (Kölsch, 4.5%)
We’ve tasted this Herefordshire-based brewery’s wares many a time and it’s no surprise their Kölsch-style Lager matches up to the quality of their Ales, and it’s got the awards to prove it – winning Gold for the National Keg Premium Lagers & Pilsners at SIBA Independent Beer Awards 2019!
This crystal clear, golden-straw coloured brew bares aromas of sweet citrus, lemon zest and a touch of pine. The citrus-notes are followed into the flavour, met by a slight biscuity underlay, finished off with a crisp, dry, bitter finish. The moderate carbonation is not too overpowering and doesn’t fizz the hell out of your tongue either!
So why not consider yourself a Lager fan in the making, and get out there and support those breweries like Wye Valley Brewery making Lagers the way that they should be made!