A couple of months ago, Lagerboy reviewed BrewDog’s Cult Lager, which went down rather well. A beer typical of the Fraserburgh duo, it was a pilsener with knobs on. However, the use of past tense is deliberate, as Cult Lager – together with another of their fizzier offerings Hop Rocker – were discontinued in favour of a new beer. Why? According to their website “…our lagers so far have been a little off the mark…[they] became too mainstream and ended up a half-hearted compromise. We also got the branding badly wrong, starting off as Hop Rocker, changing to Cult and wavering allot in between them. All this has been resolved and both these beers very much put to bed. They will both be replaced by a brand new beer; 77 lager.”
Taking it’s name from the registration number of co-founder James Watt’s fishing boat (the Ocean Quest BF:77), their newest lager is an unpasteurised offering made with whole leaf hops. Shunning preservatives and fixers, it apparently took six months to come up with the concept of what sounds like a very pure pilsener – and presumably to make the decision to throw Hop Rocker and Cult Lager overboard. Anyhow, it pours with a thick head that disperses quickly – as you’d expect given the deliberately basic ingredients.
It wouldn’t be a BrewDog beer if it didn’t batter you over the head with hops, and 77 is no exception. There’s an unusually huge lemony hit that you don’t normally get from a lager – it’s similar to some of their other beers that (I’m sure they would say) won’t be pigeonholed into a specific style. Trouble is, some of them fall through the cracks as a result. Not 77 though, it’s a genuinely interesting lager that tastes like a citric pale ale. If two other brands were discontinued for this, I’d consider that a more than reasonable trade.