11 January 2019

Bernard revisited

Clearing out the lager stash today: a few beers that have probably spent a bit too long on the fridge awaiting the opportune moment. No time like the present.

A couple of pale ones from Czech brewer Bernard first. Bezlepkový Ležák is, as the name states, the gluten-free lager. It's 4.9% ABV and a deep, almost reddish, gold colour. It's fairly sweet but not overly so, the grassy metallic hops confined to the very finish. The texture is nicely weighty, making it a good lager for colder evenings, but while it has the soft golden syrup mouthfeel typical of Czech lager it's missing the related malt flavour. This is perfectly drinkable but forgettable too.

I wasn't sure what to expect different from Bernard Celebration, it being a whole 0.1% ABV stronger, though the masses of froth was a surprise. It looks a little brighter, perhaps, but still that coppery tone. The thick mouthfeel is back and it's carrying more flavour here: liquorice, toffee, and yes proper Saaz-y cut grass. The finish is properly lager-clean, departing the palate with a wisp of herbal anise. Once again this is pleasant drinking but far from the best that big Czech lager has to offer.

Neither of these was as good as I was hoping for. I bought them along with an old favourite, Bernard Dark, and that one is still absolutely excellent. Overall, though, Bernard remains in the lower league of Bohemian breweries.

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