A few weeks ago a gentleman by the name of ‘Huw Rhys-Davies’ emailed The Brew Club asking whether we’d encountered ‘Saint’ lager. Well I confess it had passed me by but never one to pass up a challenge, particularly when there’s beer involved, I set out to find it and review it.
At the moment I’m spending much of my time in Manchester, in the North West of England, and I was delighted to find from the Saint Website that the almost painfully hip ‘Black Dog Ballroom’ stocked said brew. While I’m not known for frequenting hip bars, it was a mission for The Brew Club.
Saint describes itself as a ‘craft lager’, produced in small batches using only “malted barley, flaked maize, caramelised malt, Saaz hops and water”, furthermore they state “no heavy industrial treatment. No chemicals, preservatives or pasteurisation. We avoid anything that could damage the flavour.”
Sounds good to me.
So, looking back at my notes from the ‘Black Dog Ballroom’, I wrote that it had a ‘very hoppy nose (that’ll be the Saaz hops – classic Czech lager hops originally grown in the hills around Pilsen), a gentle sweetness from the maize, then a final hoppy bite’. In the interests of research I tried several bottles that evening, racking my brain trying to place the flavour… and I finally settled on ‘Rolling Rock’; and I mean that in a good way. ‘Rolling Rock’ was one of the first American beers to make it over to the UK that had any flavour, and for a while was my American brew of choice.
There’s a definite smoothness, a mellowness and then that satisfying hop bite.
Of course, there’s the danger that my palate had been swayed by my hip surroundings, so I contacted the brewers and a few days later the beer pixies delivered a bottle to try in more controlled surroundings. Once again I got that distinctive mellowness, and those Saaz hops.
Overall, I enjoyed this, and if presented with a row of bottles in a hip bar, yes, I’d go for this again.
According to our Brewclub scale, that merits a creditable four stars.