As mentioned in part 1, our first experience of beer isn’t usually a particularly good one. We force the drink down with a wry smile, pretending to like it, but let’s be honest; it’s usually more about getting drunk than trying to enjoy it. After a certain amount of time, usually months or years, we acquire a taste for it and our brain also starts to associate the consumption of beer with certain experiences. We conjure up images of afternoon beach adventures, trips down south, or relaxing in your favourite beer garden (for me, Lancelin Tavern strikes a chord).
While some of us slowly progress onto bigger and tastier beers, many of us are completely satisfied with the typical Australian lager.
We get stuck on Swan (Draught). Now I’m here to say there is nothing wrong with that at all. Sure there’s a big world of awesome beers out there, but as the old saying goes “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. The only thing I ask of you is to keep reading so that I might be able to influence which particular pale lager you choose.
Firstly, let’s dig into what a lager is, and some different lingo that gets used for them. A lager is generally a pale beer which is dry, clean and crisp with flavours generally being subtle with no character overwhelming any other. Traditionally, ‘lagering’ referred to a period of time when a beer was stored in very cold conditions. Nowadays it generally dictates a particular style and taste, and very few modern breweries actually carry out the lagering process. If anything it is also dependent on the type of yeast used, as lager yeasts are generally bottom fermenting and carry out the fermentation process at much lower temps compared to ale’s.
Lagers often get called by a variety of different names, so let’s just get them all on the same level: lagers, draught, dry, bitter, extra dry, export, pils, pilsner, helles, dortmunder… disregarding some subtle differences, they are very similar.
So the next question is, can the term ‘craft beer’ and lager be used in the same sentence? The answer is a huge YES. Not all craft beer is an expensive, fruity and bitter liquid made for hipsters. In fact, almost every micro-brewery in Australia makes an easy drinking beer or lager to satisfy your taste buds. Here’s a current list of WA breweries and easy drinking beers that are widely available in bottle shops, restaurants and some pubs:
Feral Brewing Company – Perth Local (Australian Lager)
Little Creatures Brewing – Original Pilsner (Pilsner) & Elsie (WA Steam Ale)
Mash Brewing Company – Freo Doctor (Australian Lager)
Gage Roads Brewing Company – Alby Draught (Australian Lager)
Eagle Bay Brewing Company – Kolsch (Kolsch)
Colonial Brewing Company – Draught (Kolsch Ale)
Cheeky Monkey – Australian Lager (Lager)
Black Brewing Co – Lager (Lager)
Admittedly a couple of the beers on that list (Kolsch and Steam Ale) aren’t officially lagers, but they are made with the same end point in mind; an easy drinking pale beer.
Now you may be asking, why switch from the beer you’re drinking, to a micro-brewed lager? Here are some key reasons:
Supporting local business: Just like any other small business, when you buy from them, you are investing in your city and state. You give locals jobs, you keep farmers afloat and you reduce the harm caused to the environment.
Higher quality ingredients: Micro-brewed beers are hand made by people who love beer! It’s not some huge production line where corporations are trying to cut costs everywhere. The primary concern for every craft brewer is to make great beer, and to do that you need to use the best ingredients.
Price Competitive: Many craft beer prices have started to fall in recent years, and a pint of good beer at the pub will probably cost you the same amount as the bulk produced lager.
And there you have it. If you aren’t willing to venture into the world of big flavoured beer, please give some thought to trying a micro-brewed lager. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.