Samuel Smith “Pure Brewed Organic Lager Beer” – Euro Pale Lager – 5.0% ABV – IBU: 50 (my best guess)
I must give Samuel Smith credit here: they managed to brew a fresh, crisp, clean, balanced and refreshing beer in the bottle of their “Pure Brewed Organic Lager Beer”. It is light, thirst quenching and easy to put down. But that doesn’t make it a good beer. That just makes it good for this style. Its competitors are Heineken, Stella, Harp, Peroni, Grolsch, Singha, and Sapporo, so there you go. The style is simple: malted barley, water, hops, and yeast; straight from the last revision of the Reinheitsgebot on wikipedia.
When I was in high school I took an English literature class that was supposed to be for the smart kids. I did not belong there. Sure, I was smart. In fact I was smarter than most of those flabby little bookworms, but I wasn’t conscientious. They studied 4-6 hours per night in order to maintain their GPA’s while I played Sonic the Hedgehog, chased skirts (and failed), strategically placed Silly Putty penises around the house for my parents to find, and masturbated frequently to the pornography magazines ingeniously [stupidly] hidden between the mattress and the box-spring of my bed. Thank Christ for that one student who filled the role of the creepy, gangly, mustached black market dealer of printed pornography, who sold me these publications in the dank and seldom-utilized corner of the gymnasium locker room. Playboy. Penthouse. Hustler. And when I wanted to feel truly filthy: Cheri. “My GOD. I can see her kidneys!” These works of literature were my rye fields. Every night I tumbled off the edge of the brink (or was it my bed?), and relished the waiting for the next opportunity to climb back up and toss myself off again. I was the typical, awkward, tissue soiling teenage lad who loved to read… between the thighs.
But one year, when I was placed in the aforementioned “advanced” Literature class, there was an unwelcome nuisance among my stack of reading material; a literary interloper that threatened my penile self-flagellation sanctity with its presence. Standing betwixt me and Larry Flynt’s “Hustler” was Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. The most boring and mind numbing slice of pretentious dreck ever to be printed within a book cover. And I had to read it instead of paying my respects to Hugh Hefner. That’s right, I’m saying it: Jane Austin, even as a decomposed corpse, SUCKED MY COCK, and continues to suck cock to this day, boring the snot out of many a high school boy held hostage by its requirement in his school curriculum. It may have been written well from a technical standpoint, but the sound of it being read is virtually identical to an “emergency broadcast system” tone that interrupts your television program 3 times per year. “This was only a test. Had this been an actual emergency, JANE AUSTIN WOULD STILL SUCK GOAT BALLS.” And if there is one beer style that can be compared to the insomnia curing content printed on the pages of a Jane Austen novel, it’s the Euro pale lager.
To be fair, Samuel Smith’s “Pure Brewed Organic Lager Beer” is probably the best of its kind. But that is akin to saying the morning hour is the most exciting hour of C-SPAN. This beer is clear, bright gold/lemon yellow. The head pours foamy, thick, and triumphant, but settles down into the liquid fairly quickly. Surprisingly it has a strong and pleasing aroma full of yeast, malt, grapes and granny smith apples. The flavor starts with a strong bitter bite, and smoothly transitions to grain, malt, and sweet sugary fruit (grapes and bananas). From the finish to the aftertaste it is bitter, but not flowery, piney, fruity, or candied like the hops of a complex IPA or APA. It’s just bitter and dry. The texture is impressive with silky softness and a high amount of carbonation. Lacing is non-existent.
Please don’t misunderstand me and accuse me of disrespecting beer here, not only because I simply don’t give a shit, but because you’d be wrong. I do appreciate this product, because it takes me to the roots of traditional brewing (after the discovery of yeast). And it’s better than anything at the bottom of a cooler at a woman’s themed costume party. But a beer with this flavor can easily and inexpensively be brewed by anyone now that home-brewing kits are so accessible and recipes are all over the web. So why bother purchasing this import? It is a humdrum bore-in-a-bottle in the world of avant-garde brewing.
One final observation: this lager is clearly and shamelessly riding the “organic” trend that has given rise to the modern era of the health food craze with “green” aisles, organic grocery stores, and farmers markets. Want to impress your co-workers? Let them know your lunch was made from organic ingredients! Make sure you find a way to work “Whole Foods” into your group dinner conversation. Tell all your friends where the best organic products can be found in their neighborhood so they, too, can be ORGANIC. It’s cool to be ORGANIC. So, the word “organic” is printed ELEVEN FUCKING TIMES on the bottle of this brew. Here’s a perspective: ORGANIC. ORGANIC. ORGANIC. ORGANIC. ORGANIC… and that’s just 5 times. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I… DO… NOT… GIVE… A… FLYING… FUCK!