Recently I’ve noticed that I’ve been moving away from my roots on this blog. Tastings, sherry, whisky shows and restaurant trips seem to have popped up rather than just drinking stuff and writing about it. As a step back to The Goode Olde Dayes I decided to write about a couple of beers I grabbed from the cornershop this evening – one an old acquaintance and one shiny gold and new, Lech Premium and Lech Pils.
Lech is a name in Polish beer that’s been popping up in cornershops since I’ve been living in Ealing, famed for its large Polish community as it is. While it hasn’t made the forays into mainstream lager drinking that Żywiec has it remains a popular alternative in the shop fridge. The Lech Browary is based in Poznań and is named, like the local football team, after the legendary founder of Poland (aka Lechia). It’s brewed by Kompania Piwowarska (english translation: Brewing Company), who are in turn owned by SAB Miller, brewers of other popular Polish beers such as Tyskie (which I’ve often bought due to thinking it was Żywiec, due to the similar cans) and Debowe Mocne. It’s not that old a brewery, appearing in the 1980s, and is rather modern, with the brewing equipment updated regularly to stay cutting edge. It’s not a small brewery, with a production capacity of 145000 hectolitres a week – about 6500 times the capacity of my current favourite London brewer, Redemption.
I’ve seen the regular ‘Lech Premium’ around but hadn’t noticed Lech Pilsner until this evening. Coming in 0.3% stronger and in a golden can it looks like it might be trying to appeal to those who assume that Gold = Better. It poured a light yellow and was quite dead on the nose, with a hint of sweetness. It tasted quite dry to start leading to a little bit of malty beeriness and some fruity hops before dropping to some lingering bitterness. There’s not much too it but it’s not offensive. The alcohol isn’t particularly noticeable and while nice and refreshing when chilled it doesn’t taste bad when it warms up a bit.
I then moved on to the Lech Premium, which poured, surprisingly, even lighter than the pils. There was a lot of malty hoppy beeriness on the nose – almost ale like. However, there was a lot less in the taste, with some honey sweetness at the start fading to a spicy malty middle. This disappeared quickly, leaving a nice bitter grain taste. Much more to my taste than the pils, with some flavour and not quite so much fizz. Other than the beer itself, I found the can rather intriguing. As indicated by the arrow in the picture there are some bobbly bits on the sides of the can – the slogan (dobrze się trzyma) seems to translate as ‘It hangs on’ or something similar, so I’m assuming they are not only decoration but also an attempt to provide a less slippy can. I can’t comment on the efficacy of the bobbles in a slippery can situation, but I can say that I didn’t drop the can while pouring my beer.
As usual I had a look around for some advertising and was rather impressed by the website. Despite my Polish ancestry I understand very little Polish (and what I do know has been transcribed from beer cans) so have no idea what it says, but it seems to be well put together with some very pretty animations. However, I am especially fond of the advert I found on YouTube:
It’s not every day you hear some flamboyantly spoken German, see some faceplate related slapstick and have a medieval knight open a bottle of beer using the eyesocket of his helmet. Good effort.