Effen Premium Lager
Style: Pale Lager
330ml 4.6% abv
It can be very easy to dismiss a contract-brewed beer. Beer labels rise up and disappear with frightening regularity, riding the back of forgettable beers built upon a marketing concept or slogan. Such dismissal is even easier for the “serious” beer drinker whose boast is he (or she) eschews marketing and brand loyalty for flavour and quality. Of course, to overlook a beer just because it is contract brewed takes a mind no less narrow than the single-minded brand adherent.
Of course, like most life philosophies this is easy to say and much less easy to follow and as I approach Effen Lager for the first time, my expectations are quite low. It fits almost all of the indicia of disposable and forgettable contract lagers being very slickly labelled and packaged, a strong and expensive branding and, of course, the clever tag line: “Live the oath”.
The accompanying material naturally sings the praises of the brewer, in this case New Zealand expat John Greenwood who, the release tells me was Supreme Champion Brewer at the 2001 New Zealand International Beer Awards, and a runner-up in 2002.
So far, just as expected.
The big surprise though comes is in the taste. It has some. The ‘triple malt’ in the branding is readily apparent with a luscious mouthfeel, a hint of caramel and a well-rounded, but not cloying, sweetness. The hops are there too, taking a slight backseat but still a worthwhile travelling companion for the malt driver. It has balance and it has length. There aren’t too many microbreweries that play in this space and there aren’t too many big brewery beers that do it this well. It won’t change your world but it does stand out amongst the “premium” lagers going about.
Definitely worth a try.