Updated: May 24
I‘ve been to Camden a handful of times. Romesh Ranganathan described Brighton as “The Camden of the south“ but not in a nice way.
I‘ve walked from the tube to Camden Lock, innocently dodging people determined to chuck their student loan on badly cut white powder. People in Camden dress like they’re really trying to be ”ironic” and “unique” but end up looking like a cricket club doing a charity shop social.
So, Camden Town Brewery. I love their Helles Lager. It’s aggressive, strong, and embraces you after a hard week. Much like the older brother I always wished for. There’s a reason why many pubs now have it on draught. It’s a great beer. I first had this in one of their “Tap Rooms“ in Camden. It was memorable because I also witnessed a bike theft which was exciting and not something you see in East Sussex every day. If you see an aggressive seagull here it would make the front page of The Argus.
So, I had high hopes for this beer. Safe to say I’m not happy. I like Lager and Stout. I like these because; A) They’re simple, and B) They’re simple. They serve a purpose. Stout in the winter (or when I’ve accidentally hit Marilyn Manson on shuffle) and Lager in the summer, because it’s served ice cold and cider gives me heartburn.
Camden have really, REALLY, missed the point.
Lager’s typecast as refreshing, but capable of so much more.
If they’d stopped at “refreshing” I wouldn’t be here. Helles Lager is great. Nobody asked you to reinvent Lager. If you chucked an old can of Speckled Hen down a hill, rescued it from a ditch, and chucked a berocca in it, I think it would taste marginally better. It doesn’t taste of Lager. I’ve been robbed. SHAME. What it does taste like, however, is.....well, it tastes like ale. It sits on your tongue like an undesirable whose just tarmac‘d your driveway. Go away! It doesn’t taste good enough to sit there. It’s juicy, yes. What kind of juice I’m unsure. What it lacks is the crispness of lager. This might be from showing off.
Just look at all those hops. Doing absolutely nothing to help. If you told me there was only one hop in this, I wouldn’t argue. If you told me there were 50 hops, I wouldn’t argue. The point is why are they there if it doesn’t help the beer? I get the reason for putting them there, I do, but I can’t appreciate the hard work, because all of the hard work is in me swallowing from this yellowy reservoir.
I love Camden Town Brewery beer, I really do. I really wanted to love this. Much like you really want to love looking at pictures of someone else’s baby, but it’s just not possible. This might appeal to an avid “ale” man, but not me. And if it’s not for someone who likes lager, then what’s the point?