The epitome of lad culture, lager is sometimes seen as a one-dimensional beer style. But there are more characters and personalities in the world of lager than you and your customers might think. Adrian Tierney-Jones introduces us to them in this six-part series
Family member: The cool uncle
The hoppy pils is a traditional member of the family who has given himself a bit of a fashionable makeover to become, if he does it right, a cool uncle (rather than an embarrassing dancing dad). This lager style began in the USA and over in the UK is best exempliﬁed by the likes of Fourpure and Vocation.
Keeping it in the family
Deﬁnitely golden in colour, but often hazy. Firm snap of citrus or tropical fruit on the nose, with a grainy note in the background. On the palate it’s crisp, showing citrus or tropically fruit ﬂavours and a dry and bittersweet ﬁnish.
Some of uncle’s friends
Lost and Grounded Keller Pils
Sprightly and sparkling, this is one of the ﬁnest hoppy pils in the UK at the moment.
4.8% abv, £82.95/30-litre keg, Pig’s Ears
Vocation Dirty Pilsner
Unﬁltered and assertively dry-hopped, this is fruity, spicy and bittersweet.
6.5% abv, £19.07/12x330ml, Pivovar Orders
The tale of hoppy pils is very much rooted in the hop-loving community of American breweries, which then passed over the Atlantic and planted itself amongst the wave of UK craft brewers of the past few years. This is very much a hybrid, a new style that doesn’t have decades of tradition behind it. It’s a bit like that cool uncle who keeps reinventing himself.
Gets on well with
Hoppy pils is a sociable and garrulous creature with a good line in colourful stories, that feature such hop names as Saaz, Mittelfrüh and Hallertauer with ease and abandonment. The cool uncle likes to break the rules sometimes with the use of exotic hops from America and/ or New Zealand.