Wednesday 28 April 2010

Lager of the week — Sam Smith’s Pure Brewed Lager

I once had a lovely stemmed tulip shaped glass, branded with the name of this brewery and its beer, an elegant and temperate half pint size, and picked up for a song in Dulverton’s Thirft Shop (if you fancy paying very much under the odds for beer glasses, especially those with a pedigree, then these establishments can often reveal some great treasures). But then I dropped it when I’d had — perhaps — too many Rocheforts (or was it the three pints of Salvator conjoined with after the pub?). Anyway, Sam Smith’s Pure Brewed Lager is not complaining about the fact it isn’t in its own glass. 
  The brewery used to produce Ayinger’s lagers under license, but they stopped doing it, but who’s to know what influence this spot of contract brewing had on Pure Brewed. 
   So here we go: pale yellow, Saxon blond hair the colour in the glass, flaxen even; nose a pleasing mixture of restrained lemon curd on gently toasted white bread, very breakfast-like — spend too many breakfasts supping on these and my only link with journalism will be selling the Big Issue. Palate is watery bitter lemon (no bad thing), a full, pleasing voluptuous mouthfeel and a dry and bittersweet finish. Halfway between a Bavarian Helles and a Světlý Ležák — some bigots (a phrase I think we’re all familiar with at the moment) might not believe that this gorgeous blonde of a beer can emerge from the gritty bowels of this most traditional of northern beermakers, but it does and it’s a beer well worth courting.
Talking of Sam Smith’s, I’m reminded of the Inspector Morse episode where the bereaved father of the arty murdered man looks around the deserted studio, picks up an empty bottle of Old Brewery Pale Ale and intones, ‘he was always a good friend of the Smith family’. Classic, makes me want to stand up and cheer. How sad is that.  


  1. I agree it's a nice lager. For drinking lout in pubs, it's also pretty cheap. A nice cheap cold lout. Bang on. Sam Smiths do a 4% lout aswell but this one is nicer. Their organic wheat beer fails to hit the spot but for a really cheap pint their old brewery bitter is a decent beer and low on pong.

  2. Sam’s beers are pretty cheap in London, pity the bloody stuff I had at one of their historic palaces last year was on its way to being a lambic (not that there’s anything wrong with lambic, but I like bitter to be bitter and lambic to be lambic). Their russian stout is good as well and under two quid in Taunton at the County Stores, purveyors of esoteric foodstuffs to West Country knobs.

  3. It's a decent drop, and I like the fact that they also bottle in 355ml bottles - as though they stand a better chance of getting taken on in some fancy bar if they package it right.

  4. Mine was in a 500ml one and even though I like a lot of liquid, I did think that the bottle with its broad, padded, spiv-like shoulders reminiscent of Private Walker’s off duty jacket was a bit old fashioned. I like 600 ml chaps, long and sleek, Italian suits of packaging, unless it’s an ‘Italian suit’ that was designed by the south London tailors that my late father in law suggested for wedding day, I shouda gone to Next. That taught me. Some of us should remain in the communal gutter.

  5. I think it's really pretty decent -- I prefer it to Zatec, for example. In the pubs, they serve it in that beautiful tall glass and (usually) with a big fluffy head. Often my first pint of the night in a Sam Smith's pub, especially on a hot day.

  6. Bailey — you’re right, I’m seriously disaffected with Zatec these days, even though it’s a 1001 beer written by the magnificent Evan Rail — maybe we’re not getting the freshest supplies.

  7. Ayingerbrau is still brewed as Alpine IIRC.

    The beer may not be complaining about being in the wrong glass, but when I worked for Sam's the great Humph himself dictated that the draught Pure Brewed has to be in the correct glass or it would be taken out of the pub! Bottle wise, Sam's recycle all their bottles, so this could be a fair few years old...

    Had a great pint of Old Brewery in the Golden Ball in Scarborough at the weekend - £1.52 is on the expensive side!

  8. I sing the praises of beer,
    To everyone able to hear,
    Hops, barley and yeast,
    Good water, not least,
    To all who imbibe - good cheer!

  9. When I had my off-licence, I stocked the complete range of Sam Sith's bottled beers. Pure-Brewed was always the first to sell out, and I can only agree with the comments that it is an excellent beer.

    ps. Having been to Aying on a couple of occasions it's difficult to compare the real thing with the contract-brewed Ayinger Lager that Sam's used to do. From memory though, it was pretty good.