Curious Brew Lager

Chapel Down Winery: Curious Brew Lager (England: Premium Lager: 4.7% ABV)

Visual: Very pale yellow. Surprisingly small white head and low carbonation in the body.

Nose: Crisp. Resinous hops. Slight citrus. Lime. Parma violets. Grain fields. Butterscotch.

Body: Smooth. Slight golden syrup. Banana. Parma violets. Hop oils. Butterscotch popcorn. Light hop bitterness. Shredded wheat.

Finish: Hop oils. Parma violets. Banana. Butterscotch. Light citrus. Slight hop character. Dry.

Conclusion: Had a few odd thoughts while drinking this one. Mainly about butterscotch. The presence of too much butterscotch flavour in a beer is often looked upon as a flaw in the beer – the sign of an excess of Diacetyl and thus a flaw in the brewing process. Some even look at any butterscotch flavour at all being a sign of a problem with the beer, though most are not as strident and absolute as that.

The thing is, here the butterscotch is not just present, but a vital component that compliments the other flavours of the beer well. What we have is a sweet and thick lager beer with a light citrus character.

For the most part the thicker character means that it doesn’t seem as dry or crisp as many lagers. This is a mixed blessing, it allows the sweetness of the beer to develop in banana and Parma violets characteristics, but does mean it isn’t as easy drinking or thirst quenching as you would expect of a lager.

This is emphasised in the texture details below, a kind of shredded wheat malt base with popcorn fluffiness. It works well as a base for flavour, but the beer feels like it could do with that crisper note. Something to make the flavours come out cleaner and more refreshing. The beer is ok here but it doesn’t have either the depth of flavour of a complex ale, nor that real drinkability of a great lager.

Still, it isn’t a bad beer, and the sweet flavours balance themselves well, going down reasonably easily. There are no real bad elements, even the feared butterscotch works well, but it doesn’t have those elements that lets it stand against the top class of the style.

Background: It’s nice have beer fan relatives. This was brought up at Christmas by my sister and she let me take a bottle back to review. Many thanks sis (and Brother in law). This was refermented with champagne yeast and made with nelson sauvin hops. Sorry about the delay in getting reviews up, it’s been a busy week.