Have you noticed that summer is running out of a steam, that, like a bottle of beer you opened the night before it, it has started to lose its fizz and go flat?
A sure tell-tale sign was prying my frozen fingers off the handlebars of my bike after cycling to work this morning. Time to put my gloves back on, I thought, and perhaps its also time to stop filling the fridge with sunshine bottles of bling bling IPAs, APAs, saisons and wheat beers and start stocking up with more malty, comforting offerings.
But then I stopped myself. Hell no. I’m not ready to give up the summer and give in to Autumn. Not just yet anyway. I need some time to ease into the winter, wean myself off of my summer hop habit – and that’s what Veckans Kasse is all about this week.
Three beers, a Norrländsk Czech lager (you know what I mean), a US ‘bridge beer’ to help ease my passage from light to dark and finally a powerful American Strong Ale dedicated to would-be astronauts (no, I’m not making that up) that is so warming when you drink it you’ll hardly notice the summer sun has set.
Levande Lager – Kallholmens Maltbryggeri (89410). This Skellefteå-based brewery stays true to its Czech roots (by, among other things, using decoction mashing techniques and only Czech malts, hops and yeast) with a classic take on a Bohemian pilsner. Slightly watery golden colour trapped under a bright white head. Standard stuff but well executed. Fresh, grainy flavour with hints of earth and nuts. Pleasant bitter finish. This is the best bottle of LL I’ve drunk to date (batch 262) and although there’s a slightly niggling metallic aftertaste it is very drinkable stuff!
Black Lager – Samuel Adams (1535) is a beer that transports me back in front of the BBQ, flipping spitting lumps of steak and turning glazed ribs. For me black lager has always been a fantastic ‘grill’ beer, with its roasted caramel and chocolate (and in this week’s bottle in particular slightly oaky) flavours adding even more interest to heavy meat dishes. Its darker tones make it the perfect BBQ beer for those of you brave enough to fire up long into the Autumn.
Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale (11883) – Lagunitas. If a single beer could resist the onset of Autumn it would probably be this one. A swipe at government red-tape, this protest beer was brewed after the Californian brewery was made to shutdown production for 20 days following a visit by the local authorities to a festival the brewery was attending. But rather than get mad, Lagunitas got brewing, with this outstanding beer packed with fruity hops and the kind of caramel and resin sweetness the very best US craft breweries have mastered so well. Enough hop kick to satisfy the most addicted hop-head, and a finish as warming as swallowing a bonfire. If you haven’t tried it yet you’re in for a treat!
Test: Darren Packman