Monday, 2 May 2011

Calvors. British Lager.

The summer time is great for kicking back with a cold lager (is it summer or spring? It's hard to tell). But it;s not just your Pilsner/Hells pale lagers, Amber lagers, Dortmunders, Dunkels and the likes are also great, especially when when you're bringing out the barbecue. It seems the relationship between British Beer and Lager has been long and changeable. A few decades back many CAMRA folk would have Lager down as a swear work (I wouldn't be surprised if some still do). But the likes of Meantime  and H2O came along. Beer writers and enthusiasts became interested in beers from around the world and stopped ruling out the bottom fermented as bland, pale and just fizzy. Things became more open minded, and the acceptance of lagers, well that was just the beginning.

It's a happy story. But just the other week I was on the way back from a lovely southern county known as Kent and me and the missus stopped by at an old farm shop she knew where I managed to pick up a few bottles of British Lager from a fairly new brewery in Suffolk called Calvors. So with a long weekend ahead and the sun shining I thought I might as well get them opened.

To start things off, Calvors 3 Point 8 at (you guessed it) 3.8%. This is obviously meant to be the most laid back easy drinking session beer of the group and pours a very pale straw in colour, about as pale as beer can get before you get to the likes of Sol and that nasty clear beer muck. Very faint aromas, maybe a touch of spicy hop. On the palate more subtle spicy hop notes over a very faint malt backbone finishing airy and bone dry. A tad two-dimensional and a touch watery. So all in all not far off mass market cooking lager, but I'm guessing the product is aimed at that kind of market.

Next up, the 4% Amber gives a far better impression. Golden bronze in colour it brings juicy, toasty, smooth malts and noble herbal hop notes throughout. Again the finish is a bit short and dry but still respectable at 4% drinking a bit like a toned down Sam Adams Boston Lager, Brooklyn Lager or anything of the style. Good, but didn't quite beat the deliciously smooth, toasted grain and milk chocolate notes of the 4.5% Calvors Dark.

That's how dark it is

Light of body but well-composed and delicious throughout. Slightly subtle for an authentic German Dunkel but with simple, refined, well composed flavour. Much appreciated, and after this I found the 5% Premium to also be another well-crafted affair. Pale straw with plenty of herbal hop flavours and aromas, crisp, clean and quaffable, finishing dry. So basically a textbook Bavarian pilsner, done rather well.

 So in conclusion Calvors offer a nice approachable range of beers. They probably won't be grabbing the attention of many geeks and I myself would probably only bother getting the Premium or Dark Lagers again. Still, they were well worth a try.


Mark N said...

Must admit, the labels look to give the bottles a touch of class.

Chris G said...

Best lager ever and now the first Calvors pub is open just a few miles fromthe brewery in Needham Market, Suffolk