Visit the Cooking Lager site

I appreciate I’m guilty of banging on about free beer that people send me, but I just happen to love free beer. Recently I necked some lovely lout that Glynn was kind enough to send me. At the time I think he was hawking some sort of lager festival at his gaff, The Rake of old London Town.

I’m not adverse to craft lager, and especially not adverse to free lager and it is interesting to have a go on it. Though my opinions will naturally not just be whether I think the beer is any good or not, but whether it is worth paying more for than cheap lout.

First up, Cotswold 3.8 Lager. As the name suggests a 3.8% lager. The Label makes mentions of the 1516 German Purity Law & Saaz, Syrian, Goldings & Cascade Hops & Optic malted barley. All fascinating stuff I’m sure. I guess if you wish to flog more pricey lout you have to make mention of such stuff to give it an air of quality.

Overall all I though it a cracking swig of lout. It had a bright fresh smell and a complex series of flavours. A depth you honestly don’t get from a can of Foster’s. I was quite surprised it was only 3.8%, it drank stronger. In all honesty a beer worth more than a 40p can of Foster’s. I’d pay upwards of 60p a bottle for it, a whole 50% more. Thumbs up for craft lout.

Cotswold Premium Lager comes in at a more expected 5%. More mention of the German purity law alongside the information of 4 weeks lagering, Liberty & Hellbruker Hops & Maris Otter malted barley. I’m not going to become the type of geek that recognises the differing flavours of hop & malt varieties, but heh, it does add and air of sophistication.

Overall I preferred the 3.8. It wasn’t that I didn’t like this one, it was fairly decent, but the previous one was more to my taste. It had a fruity, slightly medicinal smell. A well rounded sweetness interjected by moments of sharp hop. Sweetness was the dominant characteristic. Was it better than a 46p bottle of Beck’s? I’d pay about that for it, with a preference for the Beck’s.

Cotswold Dark Lager 5.5% describes itself as a tawny (that means brown) lager with a smooth finish. British Bramling cross & American cascade hops with Munich & chocolate malts & more of that optic malted barley.

I preferred this one to the 5% lager, it was bang on. A roasty malt aroma, with a dominant taste of the chocolate malt. A sweet and bitter aftertaste lingered pleasantly making the beer quite moreish. A dryer complexity to the premium. I was expecting more sweetness, like a Munich dunkel, but the dryness really worked. I thought it very nice indeed. I’d go as far as to say the beer is worth at least 80p a bottle. Praise indeed.

However all this nice beer is likely to set you back near £2 a bottle, off trade. Ah well, at least Beck’s is still on the special at Sainsbury’s. That’s a nice drop of lout and by all accounts follows the same purity law.