When summer arrives, and the weather gets hot, sometimes you just want a lager. That crisp, refreshing flavor coupled with memories of long summer days and BBQ’s with friends; doesn’t that just hit the spot?!
Now, lager gets a bad rap from some beer aficionados for being dull, uninspired, and dominated by corporate giants, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
There’s a rich and diverse world of lager beyond the major brands, and it certainly doesn’t have to be bland. After all, the only thing really separating lager and ale, is basically yeast; the core ingredients are still the same.
Why are most lagers so dull?
The word lager comes from a German word, meaning “to store, or stow away”. This storing period is critical to the maturation and development of flavor in European lagers.
The problem with most big brands is that they’ve realised the best way to increase profit, is to a) cut the maturation period, and b) replace expensive malted barley with, cheaper adjunct cereals. The result is a thin, weaker, and sometimes unpleasant tasting shadow of the real thing; it’s quite frankly, a swindle.
The good news is, increasing numbers of consumers are now rejecting the industrialised offerings of big breweries and discovering just how much better lager can be.
Here’s some background…
A few years ago it was very difficult to find good quality lager in the UK. The reason being, unlike US breweries – who tend to offer a lager as part of their range – UK Brewers opted to remain focused on their core ale based products.
Recent years, however, have seen an increase in traditional UK breweries offering a lager style beer to their customers. Meantime Brewing are one obvious example, with their lovely “London Lager” and Fullers, of course, have swiftly followed up with their own offering, “Frontier”.
Today, however, we’re going to sample a Lager from outside the capital: Korev Cornish Lager, from the St Austell brewery.
Founded in 1851, St Austell remains proudly independent, and proudly, Cornish.
(For those of you outside the UK, Cornwall is a county in the South West of England – it is both the most western and most southerly located county with a strong sense of identity and historic Celtic roots.)
The brewery is lucky enough to have a surviving Victorian Tower Brewery, which they’ve proudly brought up to a high standard, modern spec. Also, despite being relatively small, their award-winning beers are easily obtained just about anywhere in the country. Great news if you like a nice pint, of which today’s reviewed beer is a fabulous example….
Korev Cornish Lager Reviewed
Korev (Cor-Eff) is an interesting offering from a brewery better known for their cask and bottled ales, but in true micro-brewed lager fashion, it’s just as rewarding to drink.
The beer pours a beautiful, mouthwatering pale straw color with a small but attractive off-white head. On the nose, the aroma is delicate and fresh, with a subtle honeyed cereal sent and floral notes.
Getting to the taste, Korev is clean and crisp with an initial sweet maltiness, followed by a bready malt character and a pleasant bitter finish.
I actually thought the bitterness was quite similar to a German Pills – which I’ve had plenty of opportunities to sample on business trips to Germany – but I’m informed that Korev is intended to be in the “Helles” style, which is typically more delicate on the hop bitterness front.
Still, the style accuracy of the beer is beside the point; whatever label you want to put on it, Korev is a fantastic addition to the British beer market where we desperately need better quality lager. By providing an option beyond the industrialised big brands, brewers like St Austell are helping those who aren’t ready to make the leap to other beer styles experience the taste of something more gratifying. I’ll cheers to that!
Fantastic bread-like quality. A great quality British lager, and a rare breed.
The head dissipates quite quickly, but it’s likely this would improve with the use of a lager glass.
Perfect for Indian dishes or shellfish.
Time of Year
TA Brews rating: 4/5