BEERISTA

The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - SOR­CHA HAMIL­TON

In se­ries 4 of Bet­ter Call Saul there’s a scene in which Mike, the dot­ing but shady grand­fa­ther, is of­fered a beer. He’s sit­ting at a makeshift bar in a ware­house, set up for a group of Ger­mans build­ing an un­der­ground meth lab, when he’s asked: “Pil­sner or lager?”

( A Pil­sner is a type of lager so the ques­tion is a lit­tle bit like ask­ing if he wants a lager or a lager.) Mike goes for the sec­ond op­tion, which we can pre­sume is the in­dus­tri­alised brands that have dom­i­nated US mar­kets and world­wide, par­tic­u­larly in 2003, when the fourth se­ries of Bet­ter Call Saul is set.

Back then, the craft beer revo­lu­tion was just get­ting go­ing in the US, though in Ger­many, Aus­tria, Czech Repub­lic and there­abouts, there have al­ways been many in­ter­pre­ta­tions and re­gional vari­a­tions of the lager style.

These days most mi­cro­brew­eries are still mainly ob­sessed with IPAs, though many have started to ex­per­i­ment with the lager style over the past num­ber of years.

Magic Rock brew­ery, based in the UK, has a Ger­man lager called Danc­ing Bear. Made with Ger­man Haller­tau hops, for a herbal fresh­ness, and Saphir hops which give a cit­rus/ or­ange peel flavour, there is a malty and soft spritz mouth­feel with a touch of sweet­ness. It is light- bod­ied, pours pale golden – from the Mu­nich and Golden Prom­ise malts – and is an easy- go­ing 4.5 per cent.

Neu Black Lager by And Union in Bavaria looks like a stout with a tight, white head. There are aro­mas and flavours of liquorice, toasted malts and a hint of cit­rus hop­pi­ness. It’s dry with a smooth but light body and a bal­anced fin­ish­ing bit­ter­ness. I liked this one a lot: it’s got lay­ers of flavour, is a drink­able 5 per cent and comes in an ap­peal­ingly min­i­mal­ist black can.

@ ITbeerista

beerista@ irish­times. com

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