Tuesday, 19 April 2011

In defence of lager

I love wine, and I adore a well crafted real ale. I drink rustic farmhouse ciders and am quite partial to a decent whisky or brandy. There are books written in their honour and whole conferences set up to explore the diverse range. One product that is often looked down on is a good, humble lager. This is my attempt to turn this tide.

There are many crimes made in the name of lager. The insipid, watery, tasteless bilge served in pubs up and down the country is beyond redemption. At best it is very cold and will quench your thirst, that's it. However, there are many great versions of this drink that shouldn't be ignored. Germany is where the name Lager is derived from. The whole country produce a depth of styles that range from pale to dark, light to strong. The classic crisp, bitter, pilsners are one end of the spectrum while the dark, smoky, rich dunkel beers are their polar opposites.

Kaiserdom Pilsener is a good example of the lighter German style. It's a very pale colour, but is full of body and flavour. It has a malty hay smell that is quite common with many decent lagers. The mouth filling feel of the beer is set off with the carbonation. There is a slight smokiness to the taste and the whole drink is finished with a crisp, clean bitterness.

Hawkshead brewery from Cumbria, England,  make their own version with the Lakeland lager. They take the the classic pilsner version and add just a slight twist of a real ale brewer. Like a good pilsner, it's bitterness is matched by the fullness of the body. It fills the mouth and yet has a slight stringency at the end that cleans the palate. With a spicy curry, this style of drink complements the food, slows down the heat and allows you to taste the different parts of the meal.

George Wright Brewers from Rainford, Lancashire go for a different style of Pilsner. Unlike the German style, this is a more amber colour. There's a touch of grassiness in the nose and the body has a creamy texture through low carbonation.There is a faint floral note that is balanced with the clean bitter aftertaste. This style of cask beer can bridge the gap between real ale drinkers and the usual lager drinker.

The Spanish Alhambra Reserva 1925 is a completely different beer. This has a darker body and much heavier style. There's a rich malty smell and a pronounced sweet grapey taste. This is then followed by a balancing punch of alcohol that rounds all the sweet malty  notes. Lending some influence to the Belgian and Dutch styles, this is an incredibly complex beer that is a million miles away from the watery, tasteless styles that are so often synonymous with  lager.


We've set up this blog to keep you up to date on all the things happening in the deli. We're constantly getting in new foods, beers and wines. Plus our menus are forever being argued over and adjusted, this will keep you abreast of these changes.
As many of you know, we regularly have different tasting evenings. We will keep an account of all of these with menus as well. Also this is where you can keep up with OutSource, our outside catering arm of the business. We regularly travel to shows and mini festivals and will plot our travels around.

Cheers, Paul and Matt