Brooklyn Lager

Total Score: 7.15/10 Lemon1Peach1Biscuit1Stein1

Holy Cadillac-meringue-foot! It’s really been 10 whole days since I did a list of my top 100 beers (obtainable) and 20 whole days since my last beer review. Worry not… no really, stop worrying – you’re going to give yourself an aneurysm… because the wait is finally over and those cats at Brooklyn have a Lager that has stared me down one too many times for me to miss it: Brooklyn Lager – A prohibition-style Vienna Lager in the vein (or Wien) of brews like Sam Adams Boston Lager – because that’s what they drank back in them old days.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a stein.

A: Wow it’s been such a long time since I’ve described a beer… ummm, it’s cloudy and amberish with a touch of caramel in the body… it has a head (duh!) thin and beige-tinged… looks tasty hey – like a golden sunset of roasted barley and caramel dreams [Ooo, poetic, nice one me!]. 8/10.

S: Right off the nose there’s some lemony notes, sorta like the smell of a KFC wet wipe. Hints, nay – very large suggestions of: Caramel, toasty barley and biscuit characters mingle about in the background hosting their very own “who pitched the yeast” mystery party. It’s an Ale-like Lager, as that Vienna lot tend to be, with plenty to keep this Ale-drinker happy. 7/10.

T: Much like several of Brooklyn’s brews (I won’t name names – you’ll just have to look up my reviews) it starts off dry and finishes dry. The flavour betwixt is an alright combination of lemon, floral potpourri hops, some peach [WTF did that come from???], toasted biscuit malts, and did I mention it’s dry? Yes, ok, I just bring it up because some of Brooklyn’s brews give Japanese Lagers a run for their sand*. In any case a bit of malty sweetness would not have gone astray here. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied, nice bit of heft to it, with an almost flat but creamy carbonation. 8/10.

D: It’s a tough one because I’m pretty sure if I had Sam Adam’s for the first time the score I gave it wouldn’t be so high (I was a bit more generous in those days). Still Sam Adam’s, which is really the basis of comparison here style-wise, beats Brooklyn because of my main Brooklyn complaint: Too dry – sweet is better when it comes to a Vienna Lager IMO. 7/10.

Food match: Cheese… just don’t have a water cracker: Your brain might implode.

*Get it – cause sand is dry… yeah I really pulled out my thesaurus on that one.


Negra Modelo

Total Score: 6.65/10 Caramel1Coriander1Malt1Stein1

Hey look, it’s one of those beers I’ve had often but never reviewed: Negra Modelo. Generally because it’s not a Lager in the vein of Corona like almost every other Mexican beer, ever… Negra Modelo is one of my go-to Mexican restuarant beers (at least until craft beer takes off in Mexico, which we are starting to see with brews like Red Pig). Anyway, it is what it is, and I for one think Mexico benefits greatly by knowing how to brew and export a beer style other than Adjunct Lagers – here’s looking at you Grupo Modelo S.A. de C.V. (huh, same brewery as Corona, there you go).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a stein.

A: Deep clear caramel brown body with a thin half centimetre beige head that soon fizzles out like a damp squib. Not the most attractive beer ever nor does it look like a train wreck either, a middle ground here. 6/10.

S: Aroma has a real cola-esque fragrance to it – look you’re not fooling anyone Grupo Modelo: This is a glass of Corona with Coca-Cola syrup added to it isn’t it? Seriously though there isn’t much to this brew in way of aromas – a coke/sugar like sheen with some light caramel malt and naught else I’m afraid. 6/10.

T: Flavour is on the lighter side, with Negra Modelo just slightly unable to shake the feeling of being an alcoholic soda drink (again Coke comes to mind). Hints of caramel and a slight herbal note towards the back. Finishes crisp and dry with a mild bitterness. Aftertaste takes on a toasty caramel character. Refreshing beer? No doubts here. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, slight watery bodied, with an affably (for a Mexican brew) dense carbonation – it’s a bit fuller in texture than other common Mexican beers. 8/10.

D: Apart from being a little bit pedestrian this is one of the better, and let’s be honest the competition isn’t grand, Mexican beers on the market atm. However setting this aside how does it stack up against other Vienna Lagers out there? Considering my limited experience with the style [having reviewed only 3 others]: Better than Dos Equis but worse than Sam Adams. Other than that it is still my go to in the Mexican restaurant purely for being the lessor of shites, not a thing to be proud of: But a thing nonetheless. 6/10.

Food match: Considering I’ve only ever had this with Mexican food I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say: Indian. Ha, gotcha!


Dos Equis Amber

Total Score: 5.5/10 BrownSugar1 Barley1 Lemon1 Stein1

Dos Equis (or “two X”) proves it may be half the beer that our Australian XXXX is… I hope not because XXXX is crap at best. Anyhow I was entirely convinced that I’ve reviewed this (and many other Mexican beers) before but it turns out I haven’t. Why? Because most Mexican beers are that forgettable. But who can blame them with their equatorial climate that makes drinking anything other than Lager practically unpalatable… fair enough I say – if I lived in Mexico the idea of an IPA or RIS would be like wearing a winter parka in that blazing oppressive heat: Unbearable.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear caramel coloured body with a sea foamy off-white head on top… it’s like a Lager but brown, Michael Jackson (the beer reviewer) cited these beers as Vienna Lagers, a style developed by Austrian brewer Anton Dreher – which made its way to Mexico via Austrian immigrants. 7/10.

S: Aroma is a mixture of cane sugar, dark fruit (specifically plum) and a hint of dark Grenache grape (WTF???). Overtones of vegetal matter and dark rum bring this brew back to earth and stamp it indelibly as the macro Lager it really is. 6/10.

T: Crisp, dry cereal characters banish the above intriguing aromas to the nether region of good beer “Never to return!” shouts Dos Equis, “A pox on thee!”. Hints abound of brown sugar/caramel malts and crisp lime hops but overall the dryness of this brew in the finish is almost unbearably Japanese. 5/10.

M: Mid to light, almost watery bodied, with a gassy medium carbonation and naught much else. 5/10.

D: Again for a Mexican beer on a hot summers day I can see this going down a treat as long as it is ice cold, but here in the mild spring weather of Canberra it’s an absolute bore of a Lager, like most macro Lagers, I’m struggling to contain my boredom of this beer as I drink it… perhaps I should chuck in a lime wedge? Nope, it’s almost finished, stay the course. In any case I might try this again in the context of a Mexican dinner during summer – with that sacrilegious addition of a lime wedge… mmm, sacrilegious. 6/10.

Food match: Quesadilla or Cemita with sliced avocado, meat, white cheese, onions, pápalo and salsa roja – take your pick.