It lost its title of ‘Best Australian Lager’ in somewhat controversial circumstances in this year’s Local Taphouse Hottest 100, but Knappstein Reserve Lager has reclaimed the top lager spot – and the title of Australia’s 5th best beer – in the Critics’ Choice list.
I’m not sure whether it’s that lagers just don’t get much love from aficionados, or that Knappstein has big brewery connections through its ownership by Lion Nathan, or even that it is just so widely available, but Knappstein Reserve Lager just doesn’t seem to generate much buzz in beer’s social media circles. Still, it is obviously well respected featuring in all of the ‘best’ lists including the Local Taphouse annual poll, RateBeer’s top 50 and as an Australian entry in the book 1001 beers to try before you die.
So, what does this quiet achiever have going for it? According to contributing critic and publisher of craft beer’s authoritative The Crafty Pint, James Smith, its all in the hops.
“The Clare Valley brewery’s only offering is based on classic Bavarian styles but given an overhaul with Kiwi-grown Nelson Sauvin hops,” James wrote.
“The result? A most unlagerlike riot of tropical fruit aromas – think lychee, kiwi and lime pavlova – embellishing a beautifully polished gem of a beer.”
Welcome to the Top 5 Knappstein Reserve Lager.
Want to try the best of the Critics’ Choice beers? The Local Taphouse will be tapping the top ten at midday on 1 April at both venues. Apart from trying some great beers, you could win a copy of this terrific new book.
The Critics’ Choice: Australia’s Best Beers
Available from bookstores & newsagents from April 1, 2011
We’re giving readers a chance to win one of four copies of The Critics Choice: Australia’s Best Beers. Just tell us in the comments below which beer you think should be the choice for Australia’s best beer. Winners will be chosen at random from the comments.