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Posts Tagged ‘Premium Lager’

Suntory The Premium Malt’s

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.0

Another random Japanese lager that I managed to pick up and try on my recent trip to Japan, this one a first from the Suntory brewery based in Osaka but one that I picked up from a Family Mart in Tokyo early in my holiday. The beer is one that I’d noted down to look out for, for what reason I’m still not sure but as it turned out it was quite an easy beer to find in the country. Available at almost every convenience store I visited during my trip, this is a beer that I only tried once and it is also one that definitely wasn’t as bad as I had feared upon opening the can.

Appearance (3/5): A fairly light beer that was a straw golden colour and topped with a thumb-sized, foamy white head of about two centimetres tall. Retention was a little better than expected with it holding its initial height well over the opening couple of minutes before eventually halving in size.
Aroma (6/10): Very light and basic smelling with a lot of corn and vegetable adjuncts coming through in the early going, this one is definitely a cheaply brewed pale lager that had some rice and cereal coming through at points as well. There was a touch of skunk towards the end but this was a bit lighter than anticipated before a subtle bitterness seen things out.
Taste (6/10): The taste was a little stronger than with the nose, I managed to get some corn and cereal in the early going before some touches bread and basic adjuncts made an appearance. There was some rice around the middle with a slightly earthy taste and some hay following but it was quite basic throughout.
Palate (3/5):Light-medium bodied and definitely a malty beer as the name suggested, this one was fairly clean and very much a mass-market offering. There was some subtle bitterness further on and thankfully the skunky flavours were kept to a minimum.

Overall (12/20): This one was a fairly basic but somewhat drinkable offering from Suntory, it’s not one that I’d go as far as to recommend anyone tries but it was fairly easy to drink lager with a solid malt taste and some subtle bitterness further on. There wasn’t a whole lot to it really but it’s not the worst Japanese lager I’ve tried either.

Brewed In: Osaka, Japan
Brewery: Suntory
First Brewed: circa. 2002
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Hanzomon, Tokyo)
Price: ¥142 (£0.95 approx.)

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Brewdog Mandarina Lager

August 30, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.15

The second of two new Brewdog beers I tried in quick succession now, this one follows on from their Native Son IPA that I reviewed here last and like that offering is another that I sampled at one of their Glasgow bars earlier this month when stopping in for a mid-week beer. The beer itself is a small batch, experimental offering from the brewery that is currently only available at their UK bars on-tap which is one of the reasons I tried it when I was in. Brewdog have brewed a number of lagers over the years and most have been quite average, with the likes of their Vagabond Pilsner a rare exception to that rule. Thanks to their fairly poor record at brewing decent lagers, I wasn’t holding out a great deal of hope going into this one but I was hopeful it would at least improve upon the fairly disappointing Native Son IPA that I had just finished prior to ordering this one.

Appearance (4/5): A clear golden beer that was almost yellow looking but came topped with a nice head that was white and fluffy looking, holding well over the opening minutes before eventually settling as a nice surface lacing.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with plenty of pale malts and a couple of floral lager hops, this one seemed fresh in the early going with some hints of citrus and a few lighter fruits in the mix. There was a grassy aroma with touches of hay and a bit of lemon nearer the middle of the beer with the odd perfume note and a couple of herbs rounding things off. It’s definitely not the strongest beer on the nose but it’s not too bad for a lager and there was no skunk or off-notes either which was a plus.
Taste (5/10): Kicking off with a few floral flavours and hints of citrus, the beer was slightly more herbal than the nose hinted at and there was some nice lavender notes in there too which I hadn’t been anticipating. It had a subtle sweetness to proceedings with the fruits providing most of this but they did seem a touch weaker than they were with the nose which was a slight disappointment. Some orange flavours and a little bitterness featured down the stretch to see things out but it wasn’t a great taste in truth.
Palate (3/5): Quite a crisp lager but definitely not as fresh as expected, the beer’s name had me thinking it would be quite a lively offering but sadly this wasn’t to be. Carbonation levels were about average for the style and a slight citrus tang, along with some faint bitterness at the end featured but it was quite a boring and difficult to drink beer.

Overall (11/20): Quite a disappointing Brewdog offering if I’m honest, for whatever reason the brewery just can’t seem to brew a decent lager despite the amount of attempts they’ve made over the years. This one was quite average for the most part, it did get off to a good start appearance wise and the nose wasn’t too bad either but it was let down by the taste sadly. It was a semi-sweet offering with some basic herbal touches and a combination of lager malts but remained quite weak throughout and didn’t really have too much to keep things interesting. There was some unusual floral touches and hints of lavender at times but it wasn’t exactly what I had been looking for and it didn’t really seem very special either; it’s one to avoid in my opinion.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Brewdog Small Batch Mandarina Lager
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.32

Stiegl Goldbräu (356 of 1001)

August 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.4

A rare Austrian beer that I managed to try without travelling half way round Europe, this one is my ninth beer from the country and only my second from what is probably their biggest brewery, Stieglbrauerei. This one is a beer that I spotted was available in the Bavarian Brahaus in Glasgow as one of the pubs few non-German bottles and seeing that it also features in the 1001 beers list I quickly decided to make it my first beer of the evening on a recent visit. Having previously tried and enjoyed the brewery’s Weisse Naturtrüb when I sampled it in Slovenia a number of years ago, I was quietly looking forward to trying this one and checking another beer off of my list. Introduced in 1912, this one is the brewery’s flagship offering and is surprisingly not a beer that I’ve ever spotted out and about before, it’s a rarity to see any Austrian beers outside of mainland Europe though I guess. The beer itself is a premium lager in the helles style and also goes by the Stiegl Beer name , there was no mention of the Goldbräu part of the name on the bottle I sampled but it was definitely the same beer.

Appearance (2/5): Bright amber coloured with a clear body and not much in the way of a head sadly, there was some fine lacing around the edges but little else beyond that sadly.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a light beer on the nose with some mild hops and faint biscuit aromas to kick things off along with a few earthy malts. There was quite a lot of lager malts and hops coming through and making up most of the nose, I got some faint citrus a little further on though before some basic bitterness and spices rounded off a fairly ordinary smelling beer.
Taste (6/10): Opening in a similar fashion to the nose, this one kicks off with some pale malts and a few earthy flavours that came through semi-bitter and quite basic. There was a combination of cereal and faint spice towards the middle with subtle hops and grassy flavours following on behind. Thankfully there was no sign of any skunk showing and the beer was finished with a semi-sweet taste that was quite light.
Palate (2/5): Quite a light bodied offering, this one was very basic and perhaps edging towards medium bodied at times. There was some faint spice and a basic bitterness throughout the beer, I got a faint citrus tang around the middle too and thankfully no skunk showing but it wasn’t very impressive in truth.

Overall (10/20): Quite a disappointing and poor beer overall, this one was very basic from the start and beyond some light malts and subtle lager hops there wasn’t really much going on here. Some spices showed at times and a few hints of cereal and hay showed around the middle but it’s certainly not one I’d go for again.

Brewed In: Salzburg, Austria
Brewery: Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg
First Brewed: 1912
Also Known As: Stiegl Beer
Type: Munich Helles Lager/Premium Lager
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Bavaria Brauhaus, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £3.80

Łomża Export (346 of 1001)

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

My third review of a beer from the 1001 beers list in a row now, this one being another Polish offering that I managed to get hold of when visiting Warsaw last month but it’s taking me some time to get round to adding it here. This one was the third of four new Polish beers from the list that I managed to try on my visit to the country and follows on from the recent reviews of Żywiec Porter and Perła Chmielowa on this blog. This particular offering is another I picked up on my last afternoon in Warsaw after stopping off at several convenience stores hunting for this or one of the other beers to feature on the 1001 beers list from Poland. The beer is brewed in the town of Łomża, located roughly ninety miles from Warsaw but even then it wasn’t the easy of bottles to get hold of despite it being one of the most popular beers in the northeast of the country. It is a beer that has managed to win a few awards over the years too, including a bronze at the Australian International Beer Awards in 2009 and a gold medal at the Monde Selection in Belgium the same year; not bad for a brewery only founded in 1968 as a government-run enterprise.

Appearance (3/5): Quite a light and clear bodied beer that was amber coloured and had a lot of larger bubbles rising to the surface in the early going. The head was quite a thin and disappointing one, starting about a centimetre tall as a bubbly white one before fading to a fraction of its original size and turning patchy around the edges.
Aroma (5/10): Fairly light on the nose with some early skunky notes and a faint grassy hops making an appearance alongside some hay and basic adjuncts. There wasn’t really much coming through but I could detect some bread malts and a basic sweetness with subtle citrus notes seeing things out.
Taste (5/10): Similar to the nose, the taste kicks off with some basic adjuncts and a couple of bread malts that carry on from the nose, there was a little sweetness in there too though. This was followed nearer the middle by some grassy flavours and hay as well as a slightly sticky tasting biscuit flavours. Towards the end the adjuncts and hay start to become more pronounced on what was already quite a basic offering but it certainly wasn’t the worst tasting beer out there.
Palate (3/5): Light medium bodied and fairly basic throughout, there was some subtle grassy hops and a slight bit of fizz on top of quite a sweet base to the beer. Sticky patches from the sweet malts featured at times but on the whole it was quite a bland and unexciting beer that wasn’t very complex either sadly.

Overall (11/20): A better beer than I’d been expecting going in, but in truth that is only half the story since I definitely wasn’t expecting much from this one and the fact it came in a 660ml bottle didn’t help matters. Appearance wise the beer got off to a poor start but things picked up a little with the nose and taste at least without really excelling. It remained quite an easy one to drink with a nice balance that made it better than quite a few other Polish beers I’ve tried but I’m still not sure I’d put it in the 1001 beers book to be honest with you.

Brewed In: Łomża, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Łomża
First Brewed: 1968
Type: Dortmunder/Export Lager
Abv: 5.7%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Żabka Supermarket (Warsaw)
Price: 3.49PLN (approx. £0.70)

The Grunter

January 17, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.9

A first beer from Grunting Growler for me now, a local bottle shop based in Glasgow, Scotland and one that has recently started brewing a couple of their own beer. This is a beer that I was given as part of a gift set as a Secret Santa gift at work recently and I opted not to wait until Christmas before cracking the bottle open; a review the other beer in the pack, The Growler, will follow at some point in the near future. This particular bottle, a lager brewed with orange and ginger, is one that instantly appealed to me when I opened the box and I’m interested to see how it rates. Sadly I don’t really know too much about the set-up of this brewery really, other than that they make use of the facilities at Drygate Brewing across the city to make their beers; their website doesn’t really provide much details either.

grunting-growler-the-grunter

Appearance (4/5): Qutie a light, almost watered down amber that is semi-clear looking but is topped with a pretty nice looking, foamy white head that sits about a centimetre tall and leaves plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass. There isn’t much head movement in the early going, it just sits there for the opening minute or so before fading ever so slightly nearer the centre of the surface but maintaining good height around the sides.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh on the nose in the early going, there is definitely some of the orange mentioned on the label with some nice citrus notes in there backing them up. I got a nice touch of the ginger too and thankfully it wasn’t as strong or overpowering as expected, hopefully that is something that continues onto the taste. There was a little bit of spice coming through nearer the middle and some earthy malts before a couple of subtle hops featured. Throughout there was some subtle hops and grassy flavours making the odd appearance and overall the balance seemed good, although the ginger was still probably the strongest smell in there.
Taste (8/10): Opening up in a similar fashion to the nose, the first thing that hits you is the orange flavours with a little bit of citrus and maybe even some pine backing it up here. The ginger from the nose wasn’t far behind and same through a touch stronger without overpowering, a pleasant surprise. There was a little more sweetness coming through this time too, I got some decent sugars and strawberries with a few other nondescript fruits pushing forward to give the beer nice complexity. It was certainly an interesting one and unlike anything I’ve had before which is always nice.
Palate (4/5): Quite balanced throughout which I wasn’t expected, the ginger and spice was definitely the most noticeable but neither overpowered at any stage as I’d expected them to. There was some nice sweetness with the taste and the beer was well carbonated too, coming through with a decent tang from the citrus and plenty of fizz. It was an easy one to drink and came through surprisingly complex with some nice variety to it as well.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a surprising beer and one that went down a lot better than I’d expected, I was anticipating an interesting beer given it boasted both ginger and orange on the label but I was impressed with how well-balanced both flavours were. There was a good complexity to this one with some nice hops and even some strawberries coming through nearer the end, plus the beer seemed quite fresh and lively throughout; an excellent beer and one I’d happily go back to again.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Grunting Growler (Brewed at Drygate Brewery)
First Brewed: 2016
Full Name: The Grunter Orange & Ginger Lager
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Grunting Growler (Glasgow)
Price: Gift

Brewdog Kingpin

August 23, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

The first review from the latest batch of beers that I ordered from the Brewdog online shop now, this one being their latest attempt to brew a popular lager and as such it follows on from the likes of their 77 Lager, Vagabond Pilsner, Fake Lager and This. Is. Lager offerings that have come and gone over the last couple of years. The beer will be the 110th from Brewdog that I will have reviewed on this blog, and roughly my 105th unique beer from the brewery given I’ve tried more than one version of the same beer a couple of times in the past. This is a beer that I tried to pick up not long after it first appeared in Brewdog bars and shops earlier this summer but it seems to have been quite a popular introduction for it and I was finding it difficult to source any initially, so hopefully that is a good sign of things to come from this one.

Brewdog Kingpin

Appearance (4/5): Quite a bright beer, this one is also pretty clear and sits a medium amber colour in the glass. It is topped with a fairly large, centimetre and a half head that’s a bubbly white once it settles a little but started as quite a foamy one. There was plenty of fine bubbles rising to the surface and the head retention is about average, initially fading to about half its original before finally settling as a fine white lacing atop the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Quite standard fair on the nose in the early going if I’m honest, there was a little grain and the usual grassy hops with a little hay and a faint touch of lemon too. The odd bread malt sneaks through as well before a couple of lager malts see things out. It’s quite a basic nose consider what I’ve come to expect from Brewdog and there wasn’t too much to it really.
Taste (7/10): Opening up with some subtly sweet malts and  a few grassy flavours, there’s thankfully a bit more to it than the nose hinted at, I got some citrus flavours and a little grain but also some background apple flavours and a biscuit taste too. A couple of Czech style hops featured around the middle and a bit of corn followed without anything being overly strong or overpowering.
Palate (4/5): A light-medium bodied beer and with softer carbonation than I’d anticipated although it definitely wasn’t flat. There was quite a sharp, crisp feel to the beer and it was easy to drink with the odd touch of sweetness coming through as well. It’s definitely not the most complex beer out there either though but it was pretty much as I expect from a craft lager I guess.

Overall (14/20): A decent lager from Brewdog and probably better than I thought it would be going in, they’ve released quite a few relatively poor lager/pilsner style beers over the last couple of years so the fact that this one good (not great, just good) is a step in the right direction. It’s probably still not quite as good as their 77 Lager and Vagabond Pilsner offerings of the past but I wouldn’t say no to a second can at least.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.70

Nørrebro New York Lager

April 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

Another beer from my recent trip to Denmark now, this time a first beer from the Nørrebro brewery based in Copenhagen and one that I managed to try on-tap in an Italian restaurant on my penultimate night in the city last month. The beer is a premium lager brewed using North American cascade hops, apparently in the pre-prohibition style with quite a malty taste. Founded in 2003 by ex-Carlsberg brewmaster Anders Kissmeyer, this was one of the brewery’s first beers when it launched but is sadly not one of the brewery’s two beers that appear in 1001 beers list; that honour going to both their Bombay Pale Ale and Little Korkby Ale offerings.

Nørrebro New York Lager

Appearance (4/5): Light bodied and clear, this one is an amber gold colour and is topped with a quarter centimetre head that’s a foamy white and just about covers the surface, leaving a touch of lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (6/10): Starting with quite a standard lager aroma, there is some solid malts and a touch of corn to open things up before some faint grain and a further malty sweetness come through. The usual grassy hops and hay were both present around the middle and a hint of citrus made an appearance towards the end as well. It wasn’t the most complex or interesting nose but on the whole it wasn’t a bad one either.
Taste (6/10): Beginning with a nice helping of pale malts and sweetness, there is a bit of citrus following on behind as well as some faint corn and a tiny bit of skunk. There’s wasn’t much overly pronounced about the taste either, save for some earthy malts around the middle and a few lager hops and grassy flavours. Some bread malts came through towards the end and I got some faint bitterness as well but again it was quite basic tasting without being disappointing.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and quite crisp, this one had a tangy feel thanks to the citrus coming through and there was a malty sweetness throughout as well. A faint touch of skunk did come through and overall the beer was quite light and basic with moderate carbonation making it a drinkable but not a very interesting beer.

Overall (12/20): Quite a basic and fairly average pale lager overall here, this one was drinkable but fairly light overall for the most part. There was some nice malts and a little sweetness in short bursts throughout but not much else grabbed my attention and it seemed too much like a regular macro lager for my liking; I can’t imagine it’s one I’ll go for again to be honest.

Brewed In: Copenhagen, Denmark
Brewery: Nørrebro Bryghus
First Brewed: 2003
Type: Premium Lager
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Draught (400ml)
Purchased: Mama Ludbas, Copenhagen, Denmark
Price: 44 Danish Krone (approx. £4.84)