Thursday, 25 June 2009

Loving lager

Wondered why I've been quiet this last week? No, I didn't think you had. But I'm going to tell you anyway. Volume IX of my Mini Book Series has been occupying most of my time. "Trips! (South)" it's called. A guide to the beeriest spots in southern Germany.

While I was at it, I thought I may as well smarten up the brewery section. I originally assembled the book before christmas and didn't do much in the way of extra research. I've been putting that right this week. Which has meant looking up some stuff on RateBeer. Guess what I noticed?

Now, I don't usually pay much attention to how others mark beers. But something struck me when looking at the really good Franconian breweries. My own scores were way out of whack with those on RateBeer. Mine were much, much higher.

Closer inspection revealed a depressing fact. Virtually no average strength lager got a decent score. Not even the heart-stoppingly good ones. And those good ones only scored marginally higher than not very good ones.

Why does no-one else love lager the way I do?

12 comments:

Tandleman said...

We do Ron, particularly Franken ones. But of course if they were an Imperial Triple Landbier than Ratebeer might just think more highly of them

Pivní Filosof said...

It seems to me that both RateBeer and Beer Advocate are made up mostly of people who don't know how to properly enjoy anything that is below 8-9% ABV and 80IBU, quite hard to get, etc.

Quite sad, actually....

First Stater said...

Throw about 6 Cascade hop cones, an ounce of Simcoe and a bit of Amarillo extract in the bottom of the glass, pour on the lager and let rest. That unfortunately is the state of 'good' beer on Ratebeer, if it isn't Imperial, Double, Extreme is cannot be rated well. And I've totally given up on the twin wanks running BA, don't even go there anymore.

ealusceop said...

Also, a funny fact, because Germany is far away from america, some lagers from here are rated much higher than the ones from Germany. Example: The best Helles on Ratebeer, is the Montréal Hell, the Helles we brew here in Montréal. But, we smiled when we saw this... So many great, fantastic Helles in Germany, and the best one in Montreal. Even us, we don't think so! :)

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm so excited. I've just booked my train ticket for the Annafest. I can't wait to get my gob around a few proper lagers. Only five weeks to wait.

Very sad that so few geeks can appreciate ordinary cooking lager. Oh well, more for me, I suppose,.

Barry (Adeptus) said...

Don't worry Ron, I love lager too. But then living in Germany I have little choice but to love it :)

Ok, ok, I do have choice, but there's so much to try, you can't help but find lots of delicious lagerbiers, even if a large proportion are bland.

Kristen England said...

I sat in a presentation by Keith Villa, the experimental and one of the Coors Master Brewers, which he showed an analysis of lager beers of germany over the last 10 years. he showed that all are currently drier and less hoppy. The malt has gone way down in the Salvator, which most of us can tell. The pilsners are much less flavorful and on average are about 10bu's less since 1996.

Although I do agree that most people can't spot a really good lager, a lot of them have gone down the tubes.

That being said, there are a lot of wonderful lagers that are being made by the smaller microbrewers throughout the world. In the US two of the best German lager makers I've ever had are Capital Brewing in Milwaukee and Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania. I found the same when I was in germany and Slovenia. The small little breweries seemed to have much better lagers that the big boys.

Bailey said...

I love lager!

It's not a totally crazy idea that a lager from North America might beat a bottled German one in a tasting conducted mostly by North Americans -- a large part of the appeal of lager is its freshness.

Elektrolurch said...

youll be at annafest?maybe ill be there,too.
i really love franconian lagers, but they really are best fresh from the brewery tap.
i cycle to nankendorf, waischenfels or weiglathal every few weeks to get this taste. and a fix of saure bratwürste, quite similar to utopenci, but warm!

Mark Andersen said...

Exactly why I don't bother with RateBeer. Glad to hear your going to Annafest. I'll be in Oberfranken for a week just before Annafest. I leave in 19 days. I can't wait!

Andrew said...

Funny you should mention that, I've had a similar experience. I'm in the process of doing a few beer write ups so I've had a look over at Ratebeer as a sort of sanity check after the fact and was quite amazed how some extremely good, well-balanced beers were way under-rated. I think the question of balance is really not something that many beer geeks consider important.
I've had an overweight of Porters and Imperial Porters recently and it was quite a relief to get down to to the less challenging lagers and weiss beers.

Ron Pattinson said...

Kristen, interesting about the analyses. It doesn't surprise me. I've noticed OG's dropping and attenuation rising in lagers from the bigger German breweries.

What was particularly depressing about the low RateBeer scores is that some of the higher ones were for things like Salvator which, in my opinion, is total shit nowadays.

Talking of Salvator, did I mention that I have a whole series of posts planned on the subject?