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Franconian style Dark lager

by Nathaniel Tapley
(Beer Delegate, London, UK)

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Franconian style Dark lager: could be Coke

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Franconian style Dark lager: could be Coke

Franconian style Dark lager
Sainsbury's supermarket chain, UK

I don't care that orange carrots were originally a novelty item in eighteenth-century Holland, a tribute to William of Orange, and that they were naturally purple or white. A carrot is orange, and let that be an end to it. Anything else is just plain wrong.

I'd no more eat a purple carrot than I would drink a dark lager.


The Meantime microbrewery has been in operation for about five years now and, along with its range of branded beers, has been producing own-label beers for Sainsbury's "Taste The Difference" range. These include wheat beers, raspberry beers and now a dark lager.

At one time, all lagers were dark. This must have been confusing, as people may have got it confused with beer. Now, the tradition only continues in Franconia and Thuringia. I drank some to find out why.

First, it has to be said, it's something of a shock to taste something that's a lager, but that looks like Coca-Cola. All of your senses but one are telling you that you're drinking Coke, whilst the other is chilling with a glass of beer. This was confusing, unsettling, and demanding of further investigation.

The second impressions were simply those of a full, strong lager with overtones of malt and liquorice, but also of something that was not as interesting as it should be. It was 'interesting' but not interesting. After you get over the shock, there's not a lot there.

I'm something of a fan of Meantime, and this is in no way a bad beer or a bad lager, but it's also in no way exceptional. It's something to hand out to guests to make yourself look interesting.

Although, if you have to resort to trying to impress people with your choice of drink, it's probably too late for novelty lager.

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