It may seem strange, but I’m on a quest for the best local lager.
For most of us who were reared on hops and cut our teeth on stouts, a good lager may seem like an oxymoron. They all taste the same right?
Well, no surprisingly – although North American lagers and pilsners do tend to taste remarkably similar and it can be difficult to tell them apart.
I’m convinced that among other causes, the main reason for this comes from the dominance of macro-produced lagers using inferior or inappropriate ingredients. Having traveled in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria I’ve had the privilege of drinking many, many lagers and pilsners from different breweries and regions, and they all taste different and possess unique and distinct characteristics.
For one thing, these beers typically use only a few varieties of hops and so their main flavour component comes almost exclusively from the malts. Not only that, but the hops that are used do not tend to overpower the malt flavours. The facility that produces the malts in a given beer will determine the flavour characteristics as much or more than any other ingredient; even the same grain processed by two different malting facilities can produce vastly different final products. With the resurgence of smaller micro, craft and nano breweries in BC, I’m convinced that the era of unpalatable, bland lager is at an end.
In order to prove this hypothesis in the most unscientific way possible, I’m going to be searching for and collecting lagers and pilsners from local breweries and doing a taste comparison. As much as possible I’ll be sticking to packaged beers since it will be a difficult thing to compare growler fills due to freshness and differences in filling equipment. I’ll also be bringing in some friends to help me in order to lighten the load. Some of them are fans of beer in general, others less so, but I figure that’ll give a better overview of what people like and don’t about the current state of lagers that are available from BC breweries.
Together, we will sample local lagers and pilsners and try to determine which of them taste the best!
Can you help me find the best lagers and pilsners in BC? Do you have a favourite that I can’t miss? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. Help me find BC’s best lager!