Tasting Notes: Utopian Brewery, DARK LAGER [5.4%]

Let’s think about the Roman god Janus — and lager

Beer is like the Roman god Janus in the face it shows to the world. On the one hand, when you enter the brewery forest of stainless steel it is tough and urban, but when you consider the ingredients that merge together to make beer, it is rustic. Lager, all too readily, can be seen to be urban, street-wise, the soundtrack to a thousand nocturnal adventures, a hard-edged soul that is best at home in an overly chromed bar on a busy city street, where the nights are fringed with noise and frigid when caught in the limelight that every drinker brings with them. It is tough, street smart, go-ahead in its brewing kit, that towers like a minor cathedral close to a Welsh motorway. Yet, there is another more benevolent, less gritty, bucolic side to lager (think small villages with their own breweries in the Franconian countryside for instance). To me, Utopian also show this penchant for a Janus-like face. Based in the depths of the Devon countryside where rolling hills reach out for the granite hardness of Dartmoor, I feel these rural, rustic nature when I consider where their beers are made, but when I drink this rich and full-bodied riff on a Dunkel I am then reminded of times dodging the cycles and tourists of Munich. I drank deeply of this in an Exeter pub and felt happy with my lot. I hope others feel the same. ATJ