This is the paradox of the beer world. Lager versus ale. What differentiates them? For a brewer, it’s the mysterious sugar munching yeast strain. For a drinker, it’s about perception.
Lager drinkers are apprehensive of the complex estery flavours in ale, and the misguided notion that all ale is brown, warm and lifeless
Ale drinkers are similarly disdainful about lager. A juggernaut of mass produced yellow, cold and fizzy liquid.
Ask a lager drinker what they love about their choice of drink and they pay homage to its crisp, refreshing, effervescent mouthfeel. Its golden, sparkling appearance topped with a snowy head of froth. Its delicate grassy, herbal bouquet and absence of bitterness. But, flowery descriptions aside, most of all it’s about the thirst slaking traits.
Ask an ale fan the same question and it’s all about the taste. New school ales, jammed to the gills with juicy mango, passionfruit, grapefruit and lychee, a layer cake of flavour and aroma. Oh, it’s got to be quite ‘hip’ as well.
Which kind of begs the question, why not take the best characteristics from each style of beer and combine them into one? The invigorating tongue tingling freshness of lager, united with the seams of flavour supplied by an ale. Keep the cherished cold temperature which lager-heads demand but allow the ebullient ale yeast and hops to rise through the chill.
Five hops, five malts, five weeks fermentation and...you get the picture. Surge it through a cooler and serve at five degrees. It’s a combination of art and science. All the allure of big bold hops without numbing the taste buds into non existence. A backbone of biscuit malts to create that easy to drink smoothness.
Hey, if lager lovers want to call it a lager, let them. If ale fans want to claim it as their own, let them. At the end of the day it’s a well thought out, appetising beer. Dangerously easy to drink.
Nope. Because in the increasingly complicated world of beer, we don’t need another style description confusing and alienating drinkers. We just need a good beer. (And because the word hybrid sounds like a cross between a herbaceous border and a Japanese car. Not a beer).
In a world which is increasingly moving away from precise definitions and labels, who cares if UB5 is a lager or an ale? We just want a drinkable beer which doesn’t define who WE are.
Why the hell aren’t more brewers doing this? Well, if UB5 want to pioneer the movement, they’ve made a head start.