Tag Archive: Pale Lager

Big Drop: Lager (England: Low abv Pale Lager: 0.5%)

Visual: Very pale yellow to grain. Thin white head. Not much carbonation.

Nose: Water. Some soft citrus.

Body: Chalky. Woody. Watery. Slight hop oils. Slight vanilla as it warms. Slight sulphur.

Finish: Cardboard. Twigs. Chalk. Sulphur.

Conclusion: After the great Pale Ale from Big Drop (Which has become an even better beer since I did notes on it – recent bottlings have been amazing) this is a pretty big let down I am sorry to say.

So, to be fair, to get a genuinely decent lager without resorting to tricks is a hard enough task, without having to try and do it at low abv, but even with that taken into account this comes out very flat. The main notes are chalky and rough so it doesn’t have that traditional lager drinkability, nor the excellent use of texture in the best lagers. Similarly it doesn’t bring any of the subtle flavours that a good lager gets from having a long time from cold lagering. It ends up one dimension, rough, watery and without weight.

I did allow this to warm up a bit to see if that altered the profile at all. A small amount of extra flavour comes out – some vanilla, some hop oils, but it is vague and gets lost behind the rougher notes.

Unfortunately there is not much else I can say on this one – it is weak feeling and rough. I think it needs a heavy rework, or just started again from scratch to get a decent beer out of it. I hope the Big Drop crew do take another shot at it – they have shown a lot of skills in their other beers, so I figure they are up to the challenge – but right now? This is one to avoid.

Background: Big Drop are tuning out a range of 0.5% or less beers, including their great Pale Ale which I highly recommend. So I saw that they had a lager out now at Independent Spirit, so decided to give it a go. This was drunk on a bloody cold night so I actually slammed the heat up for drinking this, and I say that as someone from the north. Put on Lacuna Coil – Unleashed Memories while drinking – I prefer their old Gothic influenced days over the heavier style they seem to do recently. Good stuff.


Mythos Brewing (Carlsberg): Mythos Hellenic Beer (Greece: Pale Lager: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Large amount of small bubbled carbonation. Thin white head.

Nose: Mashed grain and wet rice. Mild palma violets note. Vanilla cream. Light hop character and bitterness.

Body: Vanilla. Slight brown sugar. Musty at the back. Slight palma violets and mild hop character. Rice crackers. Slight sugar dusting.

Finish: Dry rice. Some bitterness. Wet air. Moss. Vanilla. Some hop character. Rice cakes. Greenery and musty dust. Granite.

Conclusion: This is inoffensive for the most part. Kind of bland. If it wasn’t for a few rough notes at the back I’d even shrug and call it passable. Unfortunately, at the back there are some rough notes. So I can’t. Go figure.

Anyway, all this is predicated on it being a mass market lager that isn’t German, Czech or Polish. So expectations were low going in anyway. If I was expecting anything from it I may have been harsher.

So, I’ll come to the rough parts later – lets look at the rest. The base beer is fairly bland, kind of rice cakes with some vanilla and a mix of brown and white sugar dusting. Hop character is low and kind of musty. Nothing really to write home about.

Even that brings no worse than a shrug from me, I’ve had worse, but then in the late end of the beer to the finish it falls off the road. Dusty notes come up, slightly rough greenery, dry rice notes and such like. For a beer that main audience is one expecting inoffensiveness a rough, muggy, slightly rough tasting finish is a killer. It takes the beer from meh to pretty much avoid.

The thing is, even with this I can’t get up the energy to be annoyed by it. It isn’t Fosters style soda stream fizzy, it isn’t Tesco Value Lager level rank, It is just very dull and a touch badly made.

There really isn’t much to say if I can’t even be arsed to rant about it. The rougher side of dull and it gets worse as the beer goes on. So, avoid.

Background: This was a kind gift from Tony – many thanks! He was in Greece while I was in Germany and brought back a couple of local beers for me to try. Think these are my first Greek beers, so adding a bit more to my beer map! Always good. Anyway, don’t know much about this – had it chilled down on a far too warm day, while listening to Two Steps Form Hell: Archangel. I didn’t know if the beer was going to be epic, but I wanted the music to be.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst: Blue Ribbon (USA: Pale Lager: 4.6% ABV)

Visual: Yellow body with moderate carbonation. White head.

Nose: Slightly eggy and farty. Lemon. Creamy. Cinnamon.

Body: Custard. Very fizzy and slightly chalky touched. Slight lemon. Vanilla toffee. Slight lime. Black liquorice.

Finish: Slightly chalky. Slight cardboard. Quote clean. Vanilla custard. Slight sulphur.

Conclusion: So, one of the most mocked “hipster” beers, and yet also wildly popular. Then again, Budweiser is popular. The American one, not the decent one. Anyway, let’s put all that ballshit aside for now. Hipster seems to have become a term to insult people enthusiastic about different stuff to you, and I don’t really care about popularity – I care about good beer. So, is it a good beer?

It is..varied. Nose is a bit shite – slightly eggy sulphurous – though in its defence it does have a pleasant creamy lemon sweetness under that. The tail end finish is sulphurous again and slightly cardboard like. All a bit rubbish so far, no?

The thing is, the main body is actually ok. A bit too chalky and fizzy, but generally soothing custard sweetness with pleasant citrus side noes. Notably it has near no bitterness or hop character. Between that, the sweetness and the easy going texture I can see how this can have mainstream appeal outside of the usual people who are beer fans.

There isn’t really much more to it than that though – it doesn’t suck enough to deserve the level of hate it gets, but it is hardly lining up for praise either. It is no Fosters or Tesco value lager for shitness – it is ok to weak, but I could hardly pick it out of a line-up for good or bad.

Background: I don’t know how this is received in the USA, but in the UK it has a bit of a reputation as a beer that only hipsters drink and is generally mocked for that fact. Anyway I was given a can of this as a joke present at Christmas by Matt. Thanks. I think. Drunk while listening to some Erock – especially Jessica Jones Meets Metal. Mainly as I absolutely adore the Jessica Jones netflix series. If you have not seen it, watch it, just be warned it is dark as hell compared to normal Marvel stuff.

Carlsberg Serbia Lav Pivo

Carlsberg Serbia: Lav Pivo (Serbia: Pale Lager: 5% ABV)

Visual: Light gold. Some carbonation. Small yellow white head.

Nose: Shortbread. Soft lemon and caramel. Custard.

Body: Lemon sherbet. Toffee. Light aniseed. Fizzy mouthfeel. Caramel. Custard.

Finish: Aniseed. Toffee malt. Light liquorice. Palma violets.

Conclusion: So, after that tasty Serbian craft beer, I thought it was time to take a swig of the everyday available cans of Belgrade for comparison. When I tried this on tap I found it ok, it gave a much smoother and superior experience, however for now it is the can in my hands so the can version we will discuss.

First comparison I shall do is against everyday canned lager in the UK. So how does it compare? here, fairly favourably, it doesn’t have that soda stream fizziness of a lot of UK lagers – the main base is soft lemon and caramel that isn’t bad. However it is pretty heavily let down by the finish where dry aniseed and liquorice off notes rise up and shit all over the main flavour. It says a lot about the UK canned lager scene that this still compares favourably despite that. Those elements were not present in the tap version, which is why I hold that one as superior. Meanwhile, back at the can the aroma is pretty much a non entity for the most part.

So, how about a second comparison, this time to the beer scene as a whole? Here this really suffers. It has an ok middle, but really weak front and actively bad end – it really isn’t worth grabbing.

So, anyway, on tap – more gentle, not great but much better than on the can and manageable. This canned version? It just doesn’t hold up. Despite having a reputation for getting a lot worse in the past ten years, I would still say Jelen is the better of the two mainstream lagers I encountered.

Anyway, this is called Lav, and tastes a bit piss. Snigger. I am such a child.

Background: Milos kindly put a few cans of beer in the fridge for me to try while I was in Belgrade, so I decided to do notes on one to see what the standard lager scene is like. I decided to go with this one as it is called Lav. Pivo means beer. So this is basically toilet beer to my ruined British mind. I am puerile. I had tried both light and dark version of this on tap in the pub the night before.


Morrisons: M Savers: Lager (England: Pale Lager: 2% ABV)

Visual: Grain gold. Massive carbonation. Large white bubbled head.

Nose: Slightly off raw chicken. Muggy. Dry malt. Sweaty sock.

Body: Fizzy. Cardboard. Mucus. Lots of carbonation. Watery – ditch water. Rubber.

Finish: Musty and hairballs. Cardboard. Raw chicken. Cold pizza texture and gorge rising acid reflux.

Conclusion: This is just Tesco Value Fucking lager in a different can isn’t it? God-damn it Dave Behan, have you just conned me into drinking this piece of shit twice?

Ok, it may or may not be the same beer. I would hate to think that there are two beers that bad out there in the world but you have to face these horrors some time. It is likely they are at least related, like the withered stumps of an incestuous beer family tree. Worrying, the idea of two beer cans with inbreeding withered limbs rutting together to squat out this monstrosity is a less disturbing image than actually drinking the thing. Just. Don’t test it, it isn’t worth it.

Rubber, cardboard, off chicken, watery and for once the moments of watery blandness are the ones you live for.

I can’t bring a similar hate for this that I did for Tesco value lager, vile as it is. I am an older and hypothetically wiser reviewer and I realise its own existence is its punishment. Lets face it, it tastes like the sweat dripped from a scab ridden dirty old man’s grey sock into a dirty glass. That sort of thing has to scar a beer for life. Lets face it, whatever insults I throw at this beer can’t be worse that the process it lived through to become like this.

We should pity its sickness inducing form and offer it not scorn, but the emperors mercy of an early grave.

To the sink the beer goes, and in case you haven’t worked it out yet. NO THE BEER ISN’T ANY GOOD!

Background: Gifted to me my Dave Behan to exchange for decent beer at a recent promotion. Part of the strings attached to the gift was that I had to review a can of the beer. Now that is some twisted shit. Behan has previously “Gifted” me Tesco’s value lager, which I am mostly convinced is in fact the same beer as this one. This review is a callback to the earlier days of my reviews when I tended more towards the hyperbolic being a fan of such shows as Zero Punctuation and the Nostalgia Critic . Nowadays I try to follow the example of the late great Michael Jackson and look for the good in all beers if It can be found, and to do more critical analysis. It was fun to break out the hyperbole again, I may be exaggerating just slightly on the beer, but don’t be fooled. It really does not taste good. Drunk while listening to Paradise Lost: Gothic. The less that optimistic music seemed appropriate for some reason.

Photos Photiades Brewery: Leon (Cyprus: Pale Lager: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear golden yellow with a moderate bubbly head.

Nose: Cooked chicken, sugar and malt. Lemon and icing sugar. Light citrus.

Body: Good malt and lime. Smooth, orange peel and a slight thickened texture. Very light barley. Crunchy nut cornflakes. Malt loaf with margarine.

Finish: Slight zesty orange, angel cakes and very slight banana and cloves.

Conclusion: Another Cyprus lager, but this one has a touch more body, decent malt and significantly less fizziness. A few decent flavours can be found within as well.

Of the two Cyprus beers this is easily the superior, and a decent enough lager in general as well. In style its closer to the eastern European lagers, though without the same flair of full bodied nature.

As of such it is a pleasant beer, which makes the fact that it is rapidly vanishing in the face of Keos prevalence in Cyprus all the more disappointing.

Phoenix Beer (Mauritius: Pale Lager: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow brown with a decent bubbled head that doesn’t last.

Nose: Lemon, malt and glucose.

Body: Golden syrup, banana, lemon. Custard. Quite smooth and malt filled. Medium thickness is the texture with a touch of snappy bubbling.

Finish: Slick, dries out as it goes. Whole meal bread and a bitter end.

Conclusion: A simple smooth lager, quite nicely textured without excessive fizz. Not a wow for complexity but has a nice mix of sweet and malt.

It’s above your usual mainstream lager, as weak a complement as that may seem. Not going to shake the pillars of heaven, but I definitely wouldn’t cut my balls of to avoid drinking it.

If your going to end up having a drink to remember your holiday be you can do worse than this one (it most definitely beats VB on that front – bleh).

Thanks to Dave Behan for the kind gift of this beer, and thanks muchly for not providing another Tescos Lager 🙂

Sapporo: Yebisu All Malt (Japan: Pale Lager: 5% ABV)

Visual: Light mix of banana syrup and gold with fast bubbles and a decent bubbly white head.

Nose: Light malt, lemon pancakes, that slight off nose that comes from many canned beers. Light banana. Quite floral.

Body: Smooth and malty, slight caramelised brown sugar. Sherbet like feel. Smooth syrup near the end. Dry wood grain back.

Finish: Dry hops and pineapple. Sugar dusting. Light and fresh. Lemon.

Conclusion: I don’t know it’s a side effect of the can vs bottle, but this beer seemed much less fizzy that “The Hop” and so I enjoyed it more – even though it could not lay claim to the same complexity.

Smooth and relaxing, it’s not a bad wee lager, though it doesn’t really break out of the style. Again the finish lets it down a touch, but it would be a nice relaxing drink under the cherry blossoms on a warm day.

Note: Later I had the chance to try the bottle version of the same beer which was even less fizzy (thus answering that question) and had a better nose; Still not resoundingly complex but a superior version of the beer.

Sapporo: Yebisu – The Hop (Japan: Pale Lager: 5.5% abv)

Visual: Bright light banana yellow with a small white frothy head on the fizzy body.

Nose: Banana, malt and light hops.

Body: Malt, then slow building hoppiness. Pineapple, ice-cream. Fizzy and some banana. Mix of lagers smoothness and light IPA hops.

Finish: Light bitter hops, pineapple, vanilla. Gets slightly rough towards the end of the pint.

Conclusion: A nice mix of lager drinkablility and ale hops. If has the oft found problem of being just slightly too fizzy but the degree of flavour it brings into the lager style helps make up for it. The extra bit of hops is distinctly welcome.

I’d say with less fizz it would be a fine competitor to the 77 lager and the like. As it is it’s a nice malty beer with a slightly sub par finish, but still a decent enough drink.

Not as premium a beer as it claims, but not bad.

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