Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Euro Lagers - Part 4: Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria

While hardly representative of Belgian beers, Stella Artois is a large part of Belgium's export market. It is included here with a trio of Euro lagers from Holland and one from Austria.

Stella Artois (Belgium)5.0%

A pronounced mix of sweet maltiness and dry hops. The result is a sweet moderately bitter lager that is refreshing and characteristically well balanced. There is also a detectable skunky off-flavour, that comes about due to the use of a green bottle which doesn't block UV-B the way a brown bottle does. Though technically an off-flavour I feel the skunkiness adds to the balance of the beer by forming a bridge between the malt and the dry hops.

Hollandia (The Netherlands) 5.0%

A somewhat yeasty, grain aroma. Full gold in a glass. Malty and quite bitter. A slight metallic alcohol flavour which is surprising for a beer that is only 5.0%. A generally unremarkable beer but not bad.

Grolsch (The Netherlands) 5.0%

Its characteristic flip-top bottle is a favourite of home-brewers (read: favourite of mine) and has also seen service as a bottle for homemade hot-sauce. The beer itself is gold in a glass. It tastes quite bitter for a lager with a dry hops flavour. A pleasant and typical European lager.

Heineken (The Netherlands) 5.0%

A creamy malt aroma with a bitter touch of dry hops and a splash of something skunky despite the fact that this beer came in a half-litre can and not a green glass bottle. There is also banana in the aroma. Gold in a glass with perfect frothy head.

The taste is sweetly malty, chaulky with a distinct but not overpowering banana flavour. Not very bitter at all and not much of the dry hops flavour I get in the aroma, as a result Heineken seems to be more like a North American, rather than a Euro, lager.

Stiegl (Austria - Salzburg) 4.9%

Such a warm sweet malty scent. The aroma doesn't carry over that strongly into the flavour. Quite bitter, hoppy. Has barest hints of apple and nut. Yellow, fizzy, highly drinkable and more bitter than most lager/pilsner types; although it is bitter without a sprucy hops punch like an IPA, there is still a bit of hops character to go along with the bitterness and fizz. Also, the old-style design of the beer can is quite likeable.

 In case you missed it, here are the earlier Parts to this Euro Lager Saga:

Euro Lagers - Part 1: The Czech Republic
Euro Lagers - Part 2: Scandinavia
Euro Lagers - Part 3: Germany

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