Carlsberg Sverige: Backyard Brew: The Lawn Mower Amber Lager (Sweden: Vienna Lager: 4.8% ABV)
Visual: Browned gold, moderate mounded head that leaves suds. Moderate carbonation.
Nose: Flour. Palma violets. Fluffy hops. Cake sponge.
Body: Brown sugar and golden syrup cake. Palma violets. Light bitterness. Toffee. Cardboard.
Finish: Slick remaining feel. Slight gritty hops. Honey. Some bitterness. Caramel. Greenery. Cardboard.
Conclusion: First thoughts on writing this conclusion: Huh, not bad. I have to admit I was kind of expecting the worst, despite some previous good history with Carlsberg in Denmark itself – but, while this has its rough spots – initial impressions are that it is hardly hideous.
Let’s go to the worst aspect first – the back end. The finish, which should really be a rounding off of what came before, and a refreshing smooth out is, well, a bit rough.
It’s a bit grit, a bit rough greenery, bit cardboard – and for that I pretty much can’t recommend the beer. However, with that said let us work back from that point and find as it becomes progressively more pleasant.
The body still has underlying elements that have the same weakness as the finish, but layers over that a thick yet slick sweetness that makes a good impression up front. There is a Palma violet hint in the hops that reminds me of the noble hops, and a very brown sugar and golden syrup sweetness that dominates. Surprisingly it is pretty smooth despite the heavy emphasis on the sweeter flavours.
Now let’s lead the experience back once more to the aroma. While pretty unobtrusive this is actually well done, gentle but with crisp hops that seem to call to noble hop styling with a cake sponge sweetness. While not giving much away it is far from unpleasant as an introduction to the beer.
Now, as a single beer, well, with the exception of the finish it is ok. However, I can’t see the sweet emphasis body holding up too well over more than one beer, and for something called a “Lawn Mower” beer that is a bad thing.
In fact as I reach the end of this beer it is already wearing out its welcome. the rougher finish is backing up and running roughshod over the main body. The more pleasing notes are fading away, so I am doubting it will even last the entire can.
So, I expected worse, and it is drinkable for a while – but it isn’t really worth it.
Background: Everyone is trying to be craft beer these days. “Backyard Brew” with its imagery of a beer knocked up in a small space – made by Carlsberg- ok Carlsberg Sweden, but still Carlsberg. Then again some of Carlsberg Denmark’s beers are actually quite good, the ones that never seem to leave the country, so it is worth giving this a chance. Well, I say give a chance, this was donated to me for review purposes. Many thanks. Rate beer calls this a Premium lager for style, it calls itself an Amber Lager, so I will list it as what it is trying for. For now. I am always unsure reviewing macro brewery beers. Half of me wonders if I am being harsh due to them being part of the macro scene, the other half of me worries I am going easy on them to try and avoid letting my biases affect me. Hopefully it comes out about even, you will have to decide for yourself.