Thursday, 2 July 2009

Don't Like Lager

Having been shooting from the hip on such subjects as extreme beers and the tie when commenting on other blogs, I feel I should just calm down a bit and stop upsetting people. Perhaps somethings just won't change. Certainly glib and ill thought out commenting is likely only to entrench opinion. Both of these subjects are of great interest to me but need careful thought before writing further.

Last night we managed to get out for a couple of hours. Prior to leaving I had caught sight of Jeff's post about lager. Readers might have noticed that it's been really warm of late. Ideal weather for lager drinking one would think. Go on then I thought, Jeff is always going on about how much lager is demonized in some quarters, I can't proclaim to be a broad minded beer drinker if I don't give it a go. I think Ann just about fell off her bar stool when I ordered it.

What I do think is important when serving a drink is appropriate glassware. Some might ask what difference it makes. Well I think it's an insult to Budvar to put it in a Carling glass. OK, the nucleating glass did give attractive swelling bubbles rising in the glass and maintained the head for the whole time I drank the beer, but putting the wrong beer in the wrong glass gives the impression of couldn't care less from the bar staff.

But, glassware aside, did I enjoy the beer? Well, yes, maybe a little. As with all beer drinking, it was at least enjoyable because of the good company around the bar. Budvar has got better flavour than the beer that the glass belonged to. But it still doesn't quite do it for me. After that I had a pint of a Brakspear cask beer. Now that was really nice.

So, what's wrong with me? Many of the beer connoisseurs I know are arguing that there are some very fine lagers. To be truly broad minded about beer, and I want to be, I should accept good lager as a quality drink.

I have come to the conclusion that it's conditioning. No, I don't mean carbonation levels but the deep instilled opinions that become rooted in ones subconscious. From a very early time in my drinking career lager drinking was synonymous with getting into trouble. I drank bitter or stout or wine or single malts. Perhaps I might try sherry or port or rum. I did so because I believed that's what nice people did. Part of my upbringing I guess.

It makes me think, perhaps our views on the tie, or the strength of or the correct dispense volume of beer and many other manner of opinion are rooted deep in our subconscious.

19 comments:

G. Chapman said...

I think it's part of your upbringing, yes. It's much easier to go along the same general lines as your family and friends when acquiring your drinking tastes, which is perhaps why bitters aren't quite as popular as in the past because new generations emerge who aren't quite so exposed to them.

Artist formerly known as Wurst, CEO APRK said...

Come on Dave, people can't get in trouble with copious amounts of bitter and whisky? You make it sound like only thugs drink lager.

Woolpack Dave said...

Ah, but Sausage, that's my point. It's only a perception I have. Lager does not cause trouble any more than scotch or bitter or for that matter Scotch Bitter does. Trust me, I've got myself into enough trouble without the aid of lager.

In fact that was the underlying point of the post. My opinions, along with everybody else's are just that. Opinions influenced by life experience and current situation.

It makes my opinions no more or less valid than that of the next person, irrespective of their choice of drink.

Moreover, I really do want to find a lager I like. I just haven't found it yet.

Ed said...

I don't generally like lager either but I don't put it down to conditioning - I put it down to the taste. Even quality lagers seem a bit bland with a hint of vegetables to me. I drink them on occasion but I still prefer ales.

Wurst-Internet troll, bully, CEO APRK said...

Dave, find Weihenstephaner Original Premium. Unless you've already had it and don't like it? I find it to be nectar.

Curmudgeon said...

As a philosophical point, it's inevitable that to some extent people's opinions will be determined by their experiences. If you always associated lager with yobbery in your youth then it is likely to deter you from drinking it now - in the late 80s there was a lot of press hysteria about "lager louts".

I very rarely drink lager in pubs, but in this weather getting a bottle of something decent out of the fridge beats drinking bottled ales, which somehow seem wrong if thoroughly chilled.

Washy said...

Some bitters are referred to as lager beers aren't they? The light and hoppy ones like Schiehallion [sic]. In fact I had a very hoppy (indeed over-hopped as you admitted yourself) one of yours Dave when I was last in your bar nearly three years ago.

(Actually Dave it is John Washbourne here - the bloke whose friend never turned up at the YHA in late August 2006. I'll be at the Hollins with a young lady friend (if she blinkin' turns up!) in mid-August this year with the pie and chips brigade. But fear not! Your excellent beer is the first thing on the menu! Just fancied some bargain basement camping with a cracking bit of crumpet.)

Woolpack Dave said...

John, I guessed it was you. The over hopped one was probably Light Cascade. 3 years ago we put too many hops in it. I wouldn't call that a lager however, as it's fermented with ale yeast.

Cumbria Legendary Ales do a "real" lager called Buttermere Beauty. It's nice but doesn't seem to sell well here. Perhaps I should give it another try. I suspect it might go very well in a keg. Might talk to Roger on that one....

Woolpack Dave said...

The Troll Formally Known As Many Other Things,

I'll look out for that one.

You might like to know that I've worked out it's not the fact it's in a keg that puts me off lager. I did flippantly report on Jeff's blog that the lager was too cold and fizzy. However, that has to be a pair of big dangles as I've had some very nice cold fizzy craft beer over in your vast country.

If pushed and there was no other choice I'd even consider John Smiths smooth rather than lager. Although it'd be a close run thing if Budvar was available.

Bland and tasting slightly of vegetables might be near the mark.

Anonymous said...

In this weather, it's got to be cider. Preferably premium!

Woolpack Dave said...

Ah yes, cider, now I DO like cider.

Velky Al said...

In the weeks running up to leaving Prague, I found myself drinking more weizen than lager - very refreshings, even if the weather did suck. I was however thrilled yesterday in a local store here in South Carolina to see Budvar (well "Czechvar") in bottles, and I may even buy a six pack for the big celebration on Saturday (1st anniversary). I can't see me drinking much lager in the coming months, but then with plenty of pale ale to try, I am not sure I will miss it much either.

Ron Pattinson said...

You've probably just never had a decent lager. It's not easy to get hold of in the UK.

I used to think like you do. Until I went to Czechoslovakia in 1983. That changed my mind completely. I was gobsmacked at how much flavour Czech lager had.

At the end of the month I'm off to Franconia. The spiritual home of small-scale lager brewing. Every beer is different and full of character.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of lager is boring crap. But, isn't 95% of everything crap?

Rob said...

If you want to try a lager you like I would suggest an Erdinger Dunkel or Samuel Adams Lager. Beers still full of substance but smoothed out by the lagering process. Technically the difference between Lager and ale is the fermentation with a lager yeast (at lower temperature) and the lagering process itself. Which means you could actually put lager on cask unfiltered. A cask lager may also suit your needs as the carbonation is basically the same as with any cask beer. You will find the world of lager is far from two dimentional consisting of far more than the highly regarded Pilsner/Helles style beers.

Barm said...

If you want to try a lager you like I wouldn't suggest Erdinger Dunkel. Erdinger only brew wheat beer.

Otherwise, what Ron said.

Barm said...

I can understand someone preferring real ale to lager, but John Smith's smooth, really? If things were that bad I'd drink gin and tonic, or (preferably) leave the pub.

In my opinion keg bitter is what turned Britain into a lager-drinking nation.

Rob said...

Barm Erdinger produce two Dunkels, one is a wheat beer the other a lager, it was only released on the UK market a few months ago.

Barm said...

Do you have a link where one can read about that Erdinger dark lager? Sounds like it might be worth trying.

Cooking Lager said...

90% of all the beer sold in the world is lager. If you don't like lager, you are only tasting the 10%

As for finding a lager you like. It's a quest I admire. Don't give up, the reward is worth the journey.