Wednesday 19 March 2014

Beer Tasting: Hackney Brewery Dark Lager

Most off-licences are pretty boring when it comes to beer. But Broadway Wines, right on Broadway Market in Hackney, offers a decent range of beers, highlighted by some local breweries such as London Fields and Hackney Brewery. My most recent visit to this offy yielded a new Hackney Brewery beer: Dark Lager. (I also snagged a killer Cypriot pale lager. How could I not?) Hackney Brewery seems to have a somewhat limited distribution of its bottled beers but it's nice that one can get them locally.

So, dark lager. Off-hand I can't think of too many other examples of this style getting made in London. Camden has definitely done one but, aside from that, dark lager (or amber lager, or vienna...) is mostly unmined territory. And fair enough as it's not an especially sexy type of beer. It's not as crisp as a straight pilsner and it's not as hearty as a stout. I enjoy a nice dark lager probably more than the next guy but I've never found myself desperate to drink one.

This dark lager from Hackney carries on the style's tradition by being perfectly drinkable though not terribly exciting. It pours clear brown with a frothy, quickly fading beige head. There are lightly toasted dark malts in the nose with subtle dry chocolate and scorched earth. Light to medium sweet, the flavor holds smokey dark malts, a bit of burnt earth bitterness and well-toasted wholegrain bread. Medium bodied with fine to average carbonation, it's fairly low-impact stuff. Reasonably well balanced to finish with moderate roasted malts, more sugary and charred toast, earth, ash, faint burnt leaves, rocks and just whispers of burnt toffee. It is an interesting beer, pretty well balanced overall and easy to drink. It was fun to try.

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