Sunday, March 13, 2011

463. Samuel Smith’s Organically Produced Lager Beer

From the Old Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire comes our first Samuel Smith’s beer. Or at least the first one recorded for posterity. That is, unless there is some secret intelligence branch of the government dedicated to surveying my drinking habits. We’ll just say it is the first one recorded by us for posterity, while noting that there will be more, and leave it at that. Go on, check the files.

Pouring a crystal-clear straw, Samuel Smith’s Organically Produced Lager has a thin white head that is well maintained by the prolific carbonation streaming through the beer—lots o’ bright tiny bubbles. The nose is crisp and dry, with a light grainy malt sweetness mixed with low levels of hop bitterness. Overall, the nose is clean and fresh, although as it warms, a slight corn aroma emerges. The body has more malt character than the nose, with sweet grainy maltiness that tastes like Pilsner malt. I’d say I can taste the cleanness and wholesome goodness of the organic malt, but then you might see though my charade of words. The middle dries out, giving way to assertive but restrained hop bitterness. The carbonation bite in the final third wipes the palate clean—it is a bit sharp and bracing with a touch of a carbonic bite, but leaves the palate open to enjoy the dry, clean finish that balances well with the lingering hop bitterness. While this beer is quite comparable to Bell’s Lager in the larger malt body and hop presence, Samuel Smith’s has less sweetness and a wider range of flavor with the same malt substance. As well, the higher carbonation and drier finish allows Samuel Smith’s to better showcase the gentle lingering bitterness at the end. Both, however, make use of the possessive in their respective name. Forced to choose, I’d give the nod to Samuel Smith’s, but this is certainly a win-win choice if ever there was one.

From the bottle: “A full-bodied lager with lots of malty character, a touch hoppier than many lagers yet perfectly balanced. Brewed using lightly kilned organic lager malt from barley grown in the UK, organic hops, yeast and water.”

ABV: 5.0%


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