One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is the first post in a series that discusses exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.
The beer:Belhaven Scottish Lager, Belhaven Brewery- Dunbar, Scotland, United Kingdom
The pub: The Queen Vic, in Northeast DC (this is my “home pub” for most Villa matches, so you’ll see them here a lot)
What you need to know: For most Americans, “lager” is exactly the kind of beer you grew up on, and lager is indeed the quintessential “cold one”- it’s fermented at 40 degrees rather than 65, and it’s meant to be super clear and crisp.
Lager is also the “entry beer” for most people who take the step up from American Light Lager (your Buds, your Rolling Rocks, your Rocky Mountain Runoff), as both the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) and Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn Lager) have become the standard “upgrade beer” at most sports bars.
Beyond those entry points, lager is a very diverse style, which Belhaven bear out in their approach to this beer.
So, About this beer: The beer pours a pale gold (think Notre Dame helmets, not clear yellow), with a quickly dissipating head. The aroma is bready, as you would expect from a brewery more known for their ales. The mouthfeel is crisp, with a little bit of body (though it’s not a thick beer, per se). The taste is rather interesting. This is a sweet lager, though not so much as a Helles lager. You really taste the toffee flavors of Belhaven’s malt mixture, and there’s just a slight hop snap on the back end. This is really refreshing, and I could imagine it being a nice go-to for a Summer day, or as a beer to recommend for the friend you bring to watch the match who “doesn’t like beer.”
Verdict: While it’s not my favorite beer of all time, it’s very, very good. I’d recommend this for anyone, if you can find it Stateside; the Vic claims to be one of a handful of pubs in the country that imports it.