Nick Carr on February 16, 2015 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Samuel Smith Brewing Company Location: Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK Style: Light Euro Lager ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 25 Appearance: Sun-Drenched Straw with Fluffy White Foam Aroma: Bright & Light Malts; Noticeable Sweetness; Slightly Floral & Fruity Flavor: Light Malts & Graininess; Notes of Herbs,Fruity Esters & Honey; Crisp Finish Availability: Year-Round Pairs With: Poached salmon, crab salad, bacon/egg Quiche, Edam cheese I’ve had this lager sitting in my beer cabinet for a while, just waiting. Waiting for what you ask? Well, mostly a trend toward fairer, more lager-like weather. The last few days have been more Summer-isque then February in New Mexico has any right to be, so with the warmer days speaking for lighter beer fare I am cracking into this long awaited tasting. If you’ve ever had a Samuel Smith beer you’ve had a treat. I have yet to come across one of their beers that I don’t consider close to the top of the represented style. Hopefully this one lives up to the hype I’ve built in my head (fingers crossed). If you’ve never had Samuel Smith you are truly lucky; lucky, because you have a whole world of untapped goodness just waiting to be explored. Samuel Smith is brewed at The Old Brewery in the small town of Tadcaster. The Old Brewery was established in 1758 and, as the name suggests, is the oldest brewery in Yorkshire and one of the last bastions of older brewing methods. These guys stayed traditional to the very core and put the craft back in craft beer. The brewery still maintains its own cooperage facilities, allowing them to build and maintain the oak casks that are used to serve their naturally conditioned draught beer. They make deliveries five days a week to some 200 pubs in the surrounding area… on horse drawn wagons no less. The shire horses are part of life at the brewery, stabled next door, behind the Angel & Horse Pub. Most of their ales and stouts are still fermented in square slate fermenters, a system rarely used anymore, but thought to impart a fuller body to the beer. They remain small. Of the beer produced by the three breweries in Tadcaster, Samuel Smith’s part is less than five percent. Instead of focusing on production and continually growth, this small brewery maintains, for any that might pass-by, a brief glimpse of an older, possibly more grounded tradition of beercraft. Seems, that if ever there was a brewery worth a visit this, or one like it, would be high on my list. They take no shortcuts in the craft. Water is still drawn from 85 feet below the town from the original 1758 well. They have used the same strain of yeast in several of their ales since the 19th century and the ale beer is brewed with all natural ingredients; no chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, raw adjuncts, or preservatives to be found. Pour and Aroma Pours a sun drenched straw color, like old wheat left to dry in the field. Fluffy, tightly packed foam forms a two-finger-deep pure white head. It is Crystal clear with mesmerizing highly active carbonation rising of the bottom. Aroma is bright, full of hidden memories of fields on a hot summer day, the sun leaching the smell from standing grain. Light malts come through as grassy, cereal-like, with the barest roasted character, noticeable sweetness, almost like light honey. Slightly floral and fruity. Mouthfeel and Taste Body is a little fuller then expected from a lager, with medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth with metallic edges. Light malts bring the graininess to the fore here. Low herbal notes and fruity esters (slight lemon) back-play, the malts mid-palate while soft mineral and light honey finishes before closing the swallow with a bright but subdued bitterness, sliding into a crisp finish. Finishing the Impression Samuel Smith impresses again. Man, this was the perfect beer for the day… or maybe this was the perfect day for this beer. Either way something somewhere aligned just right to give the experience a little extra pleasure. It’s a beer to harken the hot days of summer. The lager itself is a wonderfully simple, yet flavorful expression of the light lager. Crisp, with a fuller body than expected, this beer brings the humble subtleties of a well-brewed lager dancing across the palate. If you’re looking for a beer to usher in, and maybe hurry along, the coming spring and summer months this one should be on the list.