There have been a number of posts and comments here at The Brew Club about Samuel Smiths beers.
As I mentioned back in April 2009, it was to the ‘Brewery Tap’ (the bar attached to the brewery in Tadcaster) that a callow 16 year old Michael Jackson was taken on his first day as a cub reporter. That first pint of Old Brewery Bitter was the start of a long and passionate relationship with beer, and it’s fair to say that Michael was a key player in promoting craft beers in the US in the eighties. Jackson still rated ‘Old Brewery Bitter’ as a classic and their ‘Oatmeal Stout’ one of his top ten beers in the world.
It’s not just Michael, the consensus of our reviews and subsequent comments is that Sammy Smiths is a trusted and well regarded brewer.
Accordingly it was with some trepidation that I approached their Organic Lager. I’m not overly fussed about the whole ‘organic’ thing, I know that organic fruit is supposed to be free of wossnames and should taste better, but in all honesty by the time they’re made into beer all the ingredients have been mashed, boiled and pummelled to within an inch of their lives.
The question is – having an enviable reputation for their fine top fermented ales, how do they cope with the very different challenges posed by a bottom fermented lager?
And the answer is…. they cope very well indeed.
As you’ll see from the pictures, it’s a light amber lager with a pleasing tight white head. The head is slow to disperse and there’s more lacing than you would associate with a lager. There’s not much of a nose, no ‘in your face Saaz hops’ so this takes it away from a Pilsner or Budweiser style beer, more of a Munich style lager. The hops are in there though, dancing on your tongue when you take your first sip.
The second sip is close behind, then the third. This is a really inviting, refreshing lager, the sort of lager that (to follow Scott’s imagery) that would get me out cutting the grass knowing that this is waiting for me.
So… to summarise, Sammy Smiths does great lager as well as classic ales. Some friends are arranging a ‘pub crawl’ around some of Sammy Smiths London pubs soon, I’m looking forward to it and will report back with my findings!
Three and a half stars… a very good lager, almost a great lager.
Bob the Brit