The best holiday lagers brewed in the UK: taste tested
Thanks to today’s well-traveled British brewers, you don’t need to jet off abroad to enjoy a lager that tastes of holidays. These beers all go wonderfully well with summer food, says our award-winning beer writer Mark Dredge…
Lager is the world’s most global beer, and equally its most local. Wherever you go, and to virtually any country or city in the world, you’ll find that place’s own lager. When we travel, we try these beers but don’t often notice how they come to reflect where they’re made, in the branding (stylish Italian, traditional German, patriotic American) and in the flavour and character of the beers from that region.
These drinking qualities may seem subtle, but if you were to line up a dozen world lagers you’d begin to notice the nuances, and they’re often determined by the local climate and cuisine. Spanish lagers have a fuller malt flavour for sunshine and salty dishes. Italian lagers are more snappy and bitter – perfect with pizza. Southeast Asian brands are a little sweeter to begin, which is great with chilli heat, then refreshingly clean at the end. Japanese lagers are dry and crisp, for lighter dishes such as sushi as well as richer ones (ramen and noodles). Czech lagers are richer to go with the heartier cuisine and cooler weather.
These holiday beers are for those drinkers who enjoy the flavours of global lagers but prefer to buy from smaller British brewers. They’re inspired by classic lagers and lager-drinking memories, because just think about all the best world lagers you’ve tasted and there’s a good chance you remember where you drank them – and an even better chance it was when you were having a great time on holiday.
5 of the best British lagers with global flavours
Fierce Cerveza, Scotland 4%
Brewed with lots of lovely lime, this Aberdeen-brewed Mexican-style lager has a vibrant, zesty aroma and a refreshingly dry finish (it’s also gluten free). Tasty with tacos and quesadillas.
Available from fiercebeer.com (£1.95 for 440ml)
Duration Brewing Good Times, England 4.2%
This Norfolk brew reimagines the ideals of a classic American light lager. Made with maize, it’s bright and easy-drinking, and somehow nostalgic, even for a British drinker.
Available from durationbeer.com (£4 for 440ml)
Mash Gang Stoop Extra Dry, Scotland 0.5%
This Japanese-inspired lager is as good as any 5.0% brew. Crispy dry, super refreshing, lightly bitter, a gentle hop fruitiness – and great with sushi.
Available from mashgang.shop (£10 for 4 x 440ml or £2.50 as part of a mixed four-pack)
Moonwake Lager, Scotland 4.8%
A modern hoppy evolution on lager. Lightly hazy, some toasty malts, and New Zealand-grown hops give this Leith-brewed beer gentle aromas of grape, citrus and tropical fruit.
Available from moonwakebeer.com £3.25 for 440ml
Utopian Bohemian British Lager, England 4.2%
A classic Czech-style lager brewed in Devon. Rich biscuity malts, lemony hops and a beautiful balance. Great with lemon roast chicken and salad.
Available from utopianbrewing.com (£15 for 6 x 440ml)
Did you know?
The name ‘lager’ comes from the German word ‘to store’, as these beers originated (over 500 years ago) when Bavarian brewers decided to mature (or ‘lager’) their beer in cold underground cellars for several months, resulting in crisper, clearer and more consistent brews than the ales made elsewhere.
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