For most people here in Norway beer is the same as lager. Most beers sold in this country are lagers, and when travelling abroad the Norwegian continues his search for lagers in bars, restaurants or tax free outlets. The Heinekens, Tuborgs, Stellas or Carlsbergs of the world are his goal.
Do lagers taste good? If you ask me, the answer is yes. But there is quite a difference between the excellent lagers and the more mediocre ones. The largest breweries known all over the world such as Heineken, Carlsberg and Foster make drinkable beers. Sure, I prefer other brands than these, but if I am thirsty a pint of Heineken is better than no beer.
This pint of Heineken was like reaching an oasis in the desert. After a long flight, Heineken from draft (in a plastic cup) at Schiphol airport was a sensation.
Most of the beers I drink at home are lagers. My first lager was a Norwegian one, Hansa Pils. Hansa's Pils has been a stable among my beer buys ever since. OK, there are better lagers than Hansa, but Hansa is more or less my first beer love. I have had it many times. These days it is not my number one beer, but it will always be there for me. Just like the sweetheart from high school. You know, the cute one you like to remember like she was way back then.
Nowadays my love for lagers continue. After some visits to the Czech Republic, I have found that our Norwegian lagers can not compare. Give me your Pilsner Urquells, your Svijanys, your Cerna Horas or your Klasters. Bring on your Kozels or Bernards. They have an excellent taste, and they make our own lagers tasteless or much too sweet when compared. But also those more tasteless brews are lagers. And I like lagers!
The top of the crop. The lager I yearn for: Kout na Sumave. Thanks to Pivni Filosof for introducing me to this excellent lager and the U Slovanské Lípi hospoda while visiting Prague last December. That was a treat!