It isn't often that I disagree with the Beer Nut when he describes and recommends a beer, above all because I rate his beer tasting notes as second to none and therefore his recommendations as ones to be taken very seriously indeed. As I neither have his dedication nor inclination, I'm generally happy to enjoy his tastings vicariously and of course, being a lazy git I'd rather sup beer than write tasting notes. So very unusually and with a caveat, I'm going to tentatively disagree with the Beer Nut over this post about BrewDog's This. Is. Lager. (TIL). The caveat is that the Beer Nut describes the bottled version in his post and I have been drinking the draught version.
Now given my poor views of the state of cask beer in London, I tend to drink a heck of a lot more lager there. And a lot more gin too. Drinking cask beer in London (an aside in this post) is far to often the triumph of hope over experience, with its attendant coming down to earth with a bump. This brings me back to TIL. I was very pleased when BrewDog introduced it and looked forward to it when I heard it was coming to JDW. But it is so variable. All too few times the beer is clean, hoppy, full bodied, mouthfilling and refreshing and all too many times, metallic, ridiculously over-carbonated, brasso like and weedy. I asked E whose palate is excellent and who likes lager nearly as much as I do, to describe it. She summed it up thus: "It's usually too harsh. I used to like it, but I don't now". How can this be?
I offer two explanations. First the old BrewDog problem of inconsistency of product is one possibility and this may or may not be the case. I just don't know. The second and possibly more likely one, is that I'm drinking it in the wrong place. I drink it in Wetherspoons. Why should that be an issue I wondered? I turned to a friend of mine who manages a leading JDW for his thoughts. "It doesn't turn over as quickly as it needs to to be fresh and consistent" he said. "And most people just don't like it." So is that the explanation? One piece of evidence for this, in this neck of the woods, came on Saturday in the Art Picture House in Bury. This Is Lager was being offered (or was it remaindered?) at £2 a pint. E had a half and didn't have any more. She didn't like it. I tasted it and found it thin and unappealing. Going back to the Beer Nut, I'm not quite so tentative when I say I am somewhat taken aback when he says "Put it in a grown-up serving size and you'd have a rival for Pilsner Urquell"
I disagree. On draught at least, for me and in my opinion, This. Is.Lager doesn't have the same complexity and consistency as PU. Moreover, to me, it just hasn't got the sheer quality of PU. Maybe though I'll have to find a bottle one day to see how that stands up.
Perhaps someone that regularly drinks it in BD pub could give their views? On the plus side, and thinking on, at £1.99 a pint, it is most certainly "Craft Beer for the People"!
I note too that BN had a few eyebrow raised comments about his views and some support. That's interesting. Maybe he just got a very good bottle of it?
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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