There’s not much I can add about Thornbridge, they’re constantly brewing interesting brews, and embrace the classic beer styles with panache.
Their Vienna-style lager is 5% and has the daunting name of Kill Your Darlings – a phrase that pre-dates the recent Daniel Radcliffe film (it’s a phrase that’s often attributed to William Faulkner, occasionally to Mark Twain or Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and relates to the ruthless self-editing of work by writers). In Thornbridge’s case, according to the label on this brew “This captures our spirit and and asks us not to be too precious about beer, but simply to revel in the joy of creating it.”
Vienna Style lager was first brewed as ‘Vienna Red’ by Anton Dreher in 1840 at the Schwechat brewery in Vienna. This was, in effect a ’Marzen’ (March) brew and is often described as Dreher’s response to the first golden lager produced in Pilsen; but as Pilsner Urquell was first produced two years later (in 1842), this doesn’t quite add up. Suffice to say the introduction of gas-fired maltings allowed brewers a greater control over the roast of their malts, so the consistent production of golden and red beers was possible.
I digress, Thornbridge’s take on Vienna Red is made with pale Munich and pale crystal malts, and a small amount of black malt to enhance the colour. The hops are Amarillo and Super Alpha and Tettnager, creating just 20 bitterness units, that’s less than half the bitterness of Jaipur, so I’m expecting something mellow.
It pours a dark brassy copper colour, a sort of caramel/toffee colour with a white, if reluctant head. The nose is equally reluctant, there’s some hops in there, but not a lot, certainly not in comparison to a classic Pilsner. I guess those hope are just not very aromatic.
Flavour-wise, it’s distinctive, but again, different. Those hops give a flavour that’s dry, crisp and bitter, almost metallic. There are hints of sweetness, but only hints.
I’m always happy to try new Thornbridge brews, and while this is a good example of a Vienna style lager, it’s not something I’d rush to drink again.
Update – actually I did – I found it on draught, alongside Jaipur, and while I love Jaipur, it’s a bit potent at 5.9% ABV. KyD makes a pleasing and safer session beer.
However, based on our rating system, this is a beer that achieves what it sets out to, so I guess that’s another four points for Thornbridge.