So it occurred to me that I should get out of the way all the mass-market lagers that I drink for one reason or another when out and about and that make up a decent chunk of all my usual drinking. I accept these are not something to get particularly excited about, but actually I don’t subscribe on the whole to the “craft and real ale are always better” position either. People often talk down these beers, particularly the sort of people that would write a blog like this, but I think that kind of snobbishness is unnecessary.
For a start, a lot of the real ale and craft beer is awful – far less drinkable that a pint of Carlsberg. I’ve had stuff that was actually worse than drinking piss, and it was brewed by a proper brewery and marketed at £4 a pint.
Conversely, these sorts of lager tend to be drinkable by design, unremarkable perhaps, but purposely made to be drinkable in quantity and to appeal to a wide range of different tastes. What is more, some of them are actually quite nice – I’m partial to Stella Artois (already reviewed) and I particularly like Grolsch on tap when watching the footy.
Another picture of a big-brand lager, in case the Bud wasn’t enough.
Of course the craft lager market – I’ve reviewed a few – is just building on what is actually a decent style. Freedom Lager is one of my favourites, but it’s also not that different from something you get on tap in any pub in the UK.
Indeed the anti-big brand snobbishness is itself ridiculous when so many real ale companies are now making massive amounts of money and producing their beer in huge plants. Brewdog make 120,000 of beer a month. They turn over £16 million last year, and don’t think they aren’t aiming for more. Unsurprisingly they now have their detractors for being enormously successful marketing whizz kids, but it’s just beer hipsterism. As it is I don’t like some of their beers either, but that because I think they taste crap, not because I’m passing judgement on the size of the company that made it.
Anyway. I’ve given my views on some of the big brand fizzsters that I’ve had this year. And yes, I reckon I’d get most of the mixed up!:
Carlsberg, Kronenbourg 1664, Heineken, Becks:
Budweiser, Oranjeboom, Red Stripe: