Monday, September 16, 2013
The International Lager Challenge - Grand Final
Poland - The Zywiec had an easy Semi against the relatively unknown Warka and squeezed past the Tyskie in the regional final.
Germany - The Krombacher had perhaps the hardest road to the final. I was able to find eight German lagers so the Krom had to win a quarter Final, a Semi Final and a Final. In the QF it handily beat the upstart Warsteiner. The Semi was a tougher affair, with the much fancied Veltins being narrowly dispatched. In the Final, I was tired and elected the winner more or less on a whim.
Czech Republic - The Budvar was always a favourite of mine so I never expected it to meet much opposition on the way to the final. Staropramen was defeated in the Semi and the Budvar came through in a tight contest against a resurgent Pilsner Urquell in the final.
Netherlands - The Grolsch - vanquished the surprisingly popular (in Amsterdam) Bavaria in the SF and then beat the southsiders fave Heineken 5% in the final.
So I asked Herself to pour the four finalists into identical glasses. I expected not to be able tell anything from the visuals - colour, head etc. and thus it proved. BTW I asked Herself to chime in also, she knew what the beers were but she wouldn't have the same prejudices, preconceptions and outright biases that I maintain. I know they aren't beer glasses but those were the only glasses I could find four of...
Herself said that she found it "gentle", I found it delicious and subtle, if I had to describe it, (and I guess I do, given that's the raison d'etre of the post). If I'm honest, it took until the second round of tastings that I really got this...
Guess - Krombacher.
Hey Mikey, she likes it!* I liked it too. Full falvoured and well balanced. I suspected it wasn't the Krom or the Bud so..
Guess - Zywiec
Herself preferred #2 and so did I. After the first two this came across as a bit bland.
Guess - Grolsch
Big, bold and beautiful.
Guess - It can only be the Budvar.
Which leaves us with the Krom and the Bud, beauty and the beast, and I have to choose between them. Or Do I? Its my ball and I'll play with it as I see fit. In this case, I'm giving them joint first place.
If you want a delicious but subtle lager, Krombacher is for you. If, at another time, you need a big beefy, full strength lager lager then Budvar is your man.
Apologies for my equivocation, but when in doubt, do both.
* A very popular TV advertisement when I was growing up, on the "other side of the pond"