Monday, September 16, 2013

The International Lager Challenge - Grand Final

So it's come to this - I've decided to blind taste the four lager finalists. A quick reminder of how the finalists got here.

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...

Lager #1
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.

Lager #2
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

Lager #3
Herself preferred #2 and so did I. After the first two this came across as a bit bland.
Guess - Grolsch

Lager #4
Big, bold and beautiful.
Guess - It can only be the Budvar.

I'm batting .500 with 2 out of 4 correct. I mixed up the Grolsch and the Zywiec, speaking of which the Zywiec did not come across well. The Grolsch was pretty good, in third place, and surprised me by kicking some Polish ass.

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"

1 comment:

  1. Good series of posts again Willie. I'm more of an ale man myself, but I do like the occasional lager. Its been a good few years since I had a Krombacher so I'll be picking one up on my next trip to Sweeney's.