Sunday, 28 March 2010

Lager of the week — Löwenbräu’s Triumphator

Craft brewers aren’t the only ones who make decent beer — I’m told that this is a controversial statement. With that in mind, this week’s lager is Löwenbräu’s Triumphator, a doppelbock from a brewery owned by Am-Bev, or whatever they call themselves these days. To some people in the beer communication business they are the very devil, while I have nothing to do with them so out of sight out of mind: though I do recall back in 2005 the furore that ensued when the British Guild of Beer Writers got some sponsorship for them for their awards (as I was sitting on the committee as I still do this was more of an internal thing that something out in the open). The award was named after Artois Bock, a beer that they received some good reviews for from some very respected people but the thing about that beer was that even though they were obviously trying to get some respect when you saw it at a quid a pop in Tesco’s you realised it was just the same as any other loss leader. 

However, this post is about the beer in the glass, which in this case is the colour of a well-burnished conker. The nose is heady, fruity and boozy, there’s also some toffee, plus a hint of stollen cake and dried straw; the mouthfeel is chewy, boozy, vinous, sultanas, but also soft and nourishing. The finish is sweetish, almost like a sweet sherry with more of that grainy like strawness. It’s thinner and less elegant than some of the best of the style such as Ayinger, Andechser or Weltenburg, though it doesn’t have the alcoholic burn of strong Euro beers either. It’s not craft, it’s not macro, but it’s very drinkable; what are we to do with it?