Grin and Bear It


When I was first enlisted into the army of Bacchus, ( over a quarter of a century ago now- bloody hell! ) my recruiting sergeant came in the form of a pork pie hat wearing, brown bear called George

It was the pre-Loaded era, and when not swaggering about as and early exemplar of what came to be known as lad culture, the bear was the mascot of Hofmeister- a cheap macro lager that was briefly popular in the late eighties and early nineties.

Hofmeister, like most commercial lager, could very broadly be defined as a Munich helles; – light, gassy and with less bitterness than a pilsner. Although it has been recently revived as a true Bavarian beer, originally it was as British as Bullseye. The bear has long been a symbol of German Beer (although confusingly, it is more readily associated with Berlin rather than Munich) and presumably that is how George came about (ad agencies do, occasionally think these things through)

I was put in this nostalgic frame of mind whist downing a couple of cans of my current favourite go-to pils The Dancing Bear by Magic Rock Brewing in Huddersfield. There is always at least a can or two of this sitting in the back of my fridge. It is well-priced, relatively easy to get hold of and I do appreciate a decent laaaager occasionally.

It pours a bright, clear gold, throws a slight, but attractive head of creamy bubbles. The nose has a slightly piney, resinous aroma as well as the more expected shortbread and lemon. The palate has a rather nice, creamy and mellow texture and a crisp, light, finish.

To be honest, there’s not much more I can say about it, it’s just a decent lager and unless you’re a Mormon, you know exactly what to expect; – It’s just cleaner, fresher and better made than most. I’ve had better lagers, but not at anything like this price.

I’ve recently started to eschew all the fancy-pant kettle sours and imperial pastry stouts and began evaluating breweries by how well they can do the basics.

Judged by the amount of Dancing Bear I drink, Magic Rock are very talented outfit indee