Bomber of the Month: April
Samuel Smith's Organic Lager
By: André DiMattia
Regular Price: $3.49
Sale Price: $2.49
Sale End: 4/30/2012
Beer Advocate: 93
When the discussion of English born beer arises, many will focus on the topic of Ales. Top fermented by definition but varying in color and style creates a steady range of beers that can easily be sectioned off a “pure” or “distinct” representation of classic English beer. Many purest take great joy in their selection of what they consider the proper pint of ale, and yet one of the largest advocates of English brewing is bottling a style more associated with the purists of mainland Europe. Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England, a brewery based in so much history of traditional English born beer, is confidently and steadily producing not one, but two bottom fermenting Lagers.
Rather than being seen as a diversion from the English born classics, the appreciation for brewing, regardless of it’s debated origins, is the place from which these lagers were born. While many beer enthusiasts sometimes frown upon lagers as a category, they are quite difficult to create as flaws can easily be detected without a mountain of hops or strong sweetness to hide behind. Samuel Smith’s engagement for the alchemy of real brewing is apparent with each offering found on the shelves. Organic hops and UK grown organic malt give the beer a very sincere focus of quality and adds a Tadcaster signature of discrete distinction.
On to the Tasting Notes:
Pouring with a fully aerated head of eggshell colored bubbles, the beer has a long and lasting pillow of carbonation. The actual beer it self has a light olive color and is filtered for ultimate clarity. The common aromas of barley and yeast are backed up by an intriguing quality similar to damp cement and toasted cornhusks. Inviting with its cleanliness and particular in its uniqueness. Even before first sip, it’s apparent that this is no Euro born beverage.
The palate holds more depth than what the aromas might suggest. The rocky almost slate backbone of the beer is coated with the hops obvious touch, adding a faint bitterness that brings out the grains and finishes on the nutty side. More textured than usual lagers, the carbonation is nearly perfect for a beer that will certainly be swallowed in large gulps. The hops help lend a prominent flavor of pepper and spice without upstaging the beer’s ultimate smoothness. Some oat and grain-like flavors intertwine with the vegetal contributions from the hops that only affirm the beer’s delicious level of enjoyment.
Being a beer full of refreshing softness, foods on the heavier or even greasy side can be salvaged and made into a supporting meal. Battered and fried fish and crispy frites or chips would go down fast as a simple lunch, egg salad and rye bread would find a rare partner with the beer’s herbal notes, even something with a bit of heat like spicy Thai noodles or racy bbq sauced pulled pork would be a breeze if eaten with a bottle of Organic Lager in hand. The simple applications aren’t just the only way of making this beer shine, the more difficult foods like artichokes, sardines, roasted garlic and even beets would find comforting support in a glass of Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager.