And Union’s Unfiltered Lager

In the world of beer drinkers lager can be a bit of a dirty word. Seen as a beer that is often mass produced flavourless fizzy water to satisfy those who are scared of flavour. I was pretty much of that view until I tasted And Union’s lagers. The first one I had was their dark lager. I expected nothing and got everything. It changed the way I looked at lager forever. Their unfiltered lager is just as good and is this weeks craft beer of the week.

There is still a hell of a lot of bad lager out there. Most of it mass produced and containing chemicals to speed up and stabilise the brewing process which goes against what lager originally was.

Lagerung, where the word lager came from, in German means storage or somewhere where things are stored. In the 15th century, before the discovery of the existence of yeast, brewers would add the foam that bubbled up during the fermentation process to the next batch, declaring “God is good” when the foam had magically transformed their malty water into beer. Bavarians started to store their beer in caves, deep into the foothills of the Alps, where the cold temperature would stop the beer from spoiling. It was discovered that by fermenting in the cold caves the beer became more stable and consistent and this is where lager started moving away from ale. The yeasts evolved and instead of floating to the top at the end of the fermentation (as with an ale) it would sink to the bottom. It was also slower to ferment, and once it had done, it needed some time to chill some more in the caves to develop and release all of its crisp tasty potential. And so lager was born, with the yeast moving round Europe, evolving all the time, before becoming so popular it started being produced on an industrial scale.

Now we go back to 1516 when the Germans introduced a purity law know as the “Reinheitsgebot” (say it in your most over the top German accent), which decreed that only three ingredients could be used to make beer:An Water, hops and barley as the existence of yeast hadn’t been discovered. There were a few reasons for this law, but one of the main reasons was to keep wheat and rye exclusively for bakers to ensure the availability of affordable bread for the masses.

500 years on and the Reinheitsgebot is still in place, which some say holds German beer back. It does however stop the introduction of chemicals and additives forcing brewers to make lager the right way, with time and a lot of care. Which is why it’s so hard to find great lager! I have heard many people say they drank beer in Germany and woke up with no hangover afterwards. Maybe that’s because what they are used to drinking in the U.K. has chemicals in, it becomes a revelation when they drink something pure.

And Union’s unfiltered lager is pretty much as pure as you can get and could convert the most ardent of ale drinkers into (secret) lager drinkers. Unfiltered, unpasteurised and taking a relaxing 6 weeks to become as crisp and fresh as a cold winters morning. However it’s 6 weeks of brewing captivity has led to a rather boisterous but smooth lager.

As soon as you pop the cap you can smell it. As you pour it into the glass it lures you in. Don’t be afraid of pouring the tasty yeast in either. It’s a style you know well (I’m sure most people started their beer journey on lager) but you can tell it’s different from how it fills the glass. With its slight haze, topped with an effervescent floral and grassy foamy head that makes you think of the first blooms of Spring. That spring afternoon is cut through with some zesty lemon that jumps out of the glass. This is no ordinary lager!

As you taste it you get a good sweet bready maltiness that’s rich, crisp and with a lemon sharpness. It all finishes with a little touch of white pepper spice that leaves you wanting more. This lager will quench your thirst on a hot day like no other lager can.

The And Union unfiltered lager will go great with a lot of the great locally caught fish at the farm shop. If you buy fish you need to be buying this too! The citrus and dryness will cut through the fish beautifully, enhancing the delicate fresh flavours of the fish. This lager can even take a bit of spice or oil along the way too if you want to raise the heat or do a bit of frying. This is also great with some pork chops, lightly marinaded in olive oil, lemon, thyme and a good pinch of salt or ¬†enjoy while snacking on a salami. Finally you can saddle this beer up to our awesome classic margarita pizza from our wood fired kitchen. Simple pizza + simple beer = great times! Life doesn’t have to be complicated. Cheers!

Jamie