18 June 2018

Profiles in mediocrity

Ahead of the June Bank Holiday weekend, Lidl got the beers in: a selection from three different countries on the lower-right side of Europe. Normal procedure on this here blog would be to work through them on a national basis, but since some of the styles are in common between the breweries I thought I'd do it that way instead. I do try and keep things interesting for you.

A standalone lager before we get into that. Voreia Pilsner is from the Siris brewery in Serres in north-east Greece. It's a limpid dark gold colour, 5% ABV and generally thick and heavy. The flavour is malt-forward, flashing golden syrup first before it turns dry, then roasty, and finally almost smoky. There's a certain vegetal sharpness, but no proper hops, while the finish is husky, musty and stale. It's not completely awful but neither is it a decent pils by any measure, and certainly not happy summer drinking.

Two witbiers next, beginning with another Siris beer. Voreia Wit Beer looks typical enough: a sunny hazy yellow. The ABV is way off, however, at a frankly unreasonable 7%. This is obvious from the taste too: it's thick and hot, lacking the refreshing zip that the style is designed for. Banana esters more typical of a weissbier, or even a weizenbock, are present, and while the added orange is discernible, it doesn't provide any spritz, just unnecessary sweetness. The whole is a cloying mess, disappointing, even for €2.

Let's see if the Slovenians handle it any better. Tektonik is based in Ljubljana and its Hercule Witbier is a more reasonable, if still somewhat excessive, 5.9% ABV. It looks quite watery in the glass: a pale unhealthy yellow with an excessive amount of head. Coriander spicing is to the fore, with an almost gose-like briney dryness on the end. It's not as awful as the previous one but still isn't a good witbier. By the end of the glass all I could taste was a harsh and waxy bitterness, so still no zing here, and precious little refreshment. Time to switch styles.

Everything else is IPA. Sticking with Tektonik, perhaps inadvisably, and their IPA is called Dizzy and is 6.1% ABV. It's bright and pale, with a generous topping of tight white foam. The aroma is strangely savoury, almost smoky, though the flavour is predominately sweet. I got ripe red apples, apricot, lychee and white grape: quite the fruit salad. Everything fades very quickly, however, leaving just a sharp acidic residue. The flavours really need to be bigger, bolder and longer-lasting for this to be considered genuinely good. As-is, it's passable and inoffensive but left me wanting more.

Going back to our Greek friends for Voreia India Pale Ale we get a copper-coloured 7%-er. It's very dry, with a metallic aspirin-like twang. And... not much else. There's a touch of black tea tannins and a slightly spicy cedarwood note, but no citrus or other hop fruit. I don't usually object to old-fashioned big-bittered IPAs but this isn't a good one. It tastes musty and old: never a good look for an IPA.

Central-Italian brewer Target 2000, known previously for the Arcana range from last summer at Lidl, has brought us a beer starkly titled Italian IPA, with the follow-on description that it's a pale ale. This is 6.1% ABV and pours a lovely clear pale golden shade. It's as heavy as the ABV suggests, while the flavour offers a bathbomb of citrus and herbs. A gentle lemon opens it, followed by dried grass and then moist and chewy cookies. It's clean and simple; not wildly interesting but solid and classy. I could see it working very well as a food accompaniment.

Its companion, to bring us out, is an Italian Red IPA. It looks lovely in the glass: a limpid chestnut colour. The flavour is a bit dull, however, more red ale than any sort of IPA. There's a soda-water mineral thing, some caramel, but then a watery finish. The label says 5.2% ABV but it tastes much weaker. Nothing about it says IPA to me. This one really tasted like €2 worth of beer.

Conclusions! Well... I don't think there were any massively pleasant surprises in this lot, no Drinker 1, Lidl 0 situations. The Italians are probably the most reliable out of the lot.


  1. did you try the Czech stuff konrad 4 x 500 ml 7%. quite nice

    1. Didn't see those, but I've had Konrad before. Reviews.