This week parts of the UK basked in the blazing heat of the hottest July day on record. Inevitably this triggered a national outbreak of barbecueitis, as hot-headed carnivores battled for the last packs of burgers and sausages in the supermarket aisles. To follow each mouthful of charred meat, the country mostly turns to insipid yellow lager, sold by the crate-load for loss-leading, knock down prices.
Along with every other house on my street I also dusted down and fired up the barbecue. The singed meat spitting over my coals was fish and accompanying it was the first picking of home grown courgettes. And I also went for a cold lager to provide the necessary liquid refreshment.
But lager doesn’t have to be of the all-gas no-flavour variety, and the trailblazer for a new wave of maltier, hoppier brews is New York’s Brooklyn Lager. First brewed in 1988 it has been available in the UK for quite some time and is a regular fixture at most supermarkets. It’s based on a style of beer known as ‘Vienna lager’ which uses a specific boiling technique and a combination of three different malts – Munich, Pilsner and Vienna. Brooklyn’s version weighs in at a generous 5.2% and has more of a malty backbone than most traditional lagers, initially evident in the darker-than-usual colour to the beer.
The floral hop flavours are also quite pronounced, helped by some crafty dry-hopping. It’s a crisp, dry beer and, as you would hope for a lager, deliciously refreshing, especially on a rare scorching English July day.
Brewery: The Brooklyn Brewery, New York, USA
Beer name: Brooklyn Lager