second beer from the enigmatic new Cork beer brand Elbow Lane, kindly sent to me by the boss. Bravely they've gone for a 4.4% ABV pale lager, called simply Elbow. It's a tough market in which to sell craft beer, but I guess that having their own chain of restaurants will help keep it moving. It's also a very difficult style to brew well, but I think they've more-or-less nailed it.
Elbow is a slightly unpleasant brassy colour but absolutely crystal clear. There's a very mild sourness in the aroma, which presents in the flavour as a kind of coppery tang. I'm guessing the hops are somewhat responsible here as there's very little sign of them otherwise. The centre of the flavour, however, is dominated by soft biscuity lager malts. There's an almost breadlike filling texture which I think will make it an ideal food lager. But best of all is the carbonation: a gentle cask-like sparkle which makes it very very drinkable.
With my classification hat on I'd place it more towards the Bavarian helles side of the house than Czech pilsner. If I didn't know the strength I'd be suggesting märzen. But even more so it reminds me of the lovely cask lagers of the UK like Schiehallion and Latitude.
A welcome addition to the somewhat hit-and-miss realm of cool-fermented Irish beer.
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