If there were only one style of beer to experience reputational demise in light of the explosive growth in the craft beer sector of recent years, it would most certainly be lager. This bad rep owing in no small part to the ubiquitous European pale lager brands that had dominated the market for so many years. These days the masses seem to favour the bigger bolder flavours of IPAs and stouts to spend their cash on instead of the craft lagers.
That being said, all hope is not lost for lager. With many different styles of lager such as pilsners, bocks and kolsch, each with their own subtle characteristics, it is a whole other side of beer that deserves respect and attention. Taking both points into consideration, there are three lagers that should please the taste buds of those used to brighter and citrusy ales and also three beers to reflect the diversity within lager itself.
With their distinctive artwork against raw aluminium cans, Whiplash is a stand-out new brewery who has been making tidal waves in the Irish beer scene since they dropped their first brew just last year in 2016. With an interesting collaboration between themselves and 3fe coffee under their belt, this fledgling operation is already being considered one of the most exciting and highly esteemed new breweries by many of Irish craft beer writers and bloggers.
It was only this time last year that TheTaste.ie caught up with founder Alex Lawes, having just lifted the 1st place trophy at the Alltech Brewers, for his role of head brewer in the Francis’ Big Bangin’ IPA (part of the McGargles range) and its encouraging to see the progress that has been made in just twelve short months.
This is a massive tasting pilsner with the aromas of citrus peel notes more commonly found within hoppy west coast IPAs, this unfiltered and unpasteurised lager is an absolute must for anyone looking to retune their thinking on what lagers are all about. Come to think about it, this beer is just ‘a must’ for anyone.
Whiplash’s True Love is available at Martin’s Off Licence at €3.39
Hailing from the Islands of Hawaii, Kona Brewing Company pay tribute to the history and heritage of surfing, which has been popular on the islands for well over one hundred years. Originally a quaint father and son operation, the brewery has now been in business for over twenty years. Their flagship lager has gone on to earn the brewery dozens of awards including a recent gold medal at the 2016 International Craft Awards Competition.
Expect a crisp and refreshing mouthful here, with a strong malt flavour and an ever so slightly floral aroma, uncommon to this style of European lager. This is a top class beer and truly one of the best to help rediscover any lost love of the European pale lager style.
Kona Brewing Co’s Longboard Island Lager is available at Martin’s Off Licence at €2.65
Known primarily for their flagship lager, Brooklyn Brewery beers have started to become more frequent around some of the better Irish stockists. However their recent seasonal release of this dark lager is definitely one worth checking out if you can get your hands on one.
With an almost jet black appearance coming from the addition of American black barley and roasted malts, accompanied by a short tan head, it would be easy to confuse this as a stout upon initial pour. An exceptionally smooth lager with a faint coffee twang, it is recommended to pair this beer with hearty meats or breads or even some strong cheddar. This is a good demonstration of the versatility of style.
Brooklyn Brewery’s Insulated Dark Lager is available at Martin’s Off Licence at €3.20
Having previously devoted every ounce of his spare time to music, Tony is more commonly found these days in a kitchen than on a stage. With experience in writing on festivals and shows around the country he has recently turned his pen to more culinary exposés. With a particular penchant for craft beer he can often be spotted travelling from one bar to another in search of the latest brew to hit the market.