I have the same memories I imagine most beer enthusiasts had growing up. As a kid, I watched the men of my family drink the mainstream lagers everyone drank. I remember tasting my dad’s beer when I was young, not liking it very much. It was fizzy, over carbonated, and just didn’t taste good. In fact, I disliked the taste of it so much, I didn’t drink much beer growing up, experimenting with other drinks instead.
When I turned eighteen and moved out on my own, I gradually, tentatively explored the beer world. At first, I explored the beers offered by my neighborhood faux English pub. The Sherlock Holmes offered me my first ales and stouts, and is where I had my first pint of bitter. Over the years I explored further into the world of beer trying styles and brands of beer from round the world. Until the time came for me to express my love of beer by sharing my opinions on the subject.
Lately I’ve been making a deliberate effort to include lagers in my reviews. I don’t know why I’ve had such a persistent prejudice against lager. After all, there are so many lagers from Europe and so many of them are held in high esteem. As I made my first steps back into the world of lager I’ve been staying away from the brands universally adored by north Americans. Not that I’m going to avoid them, I just want to work my way up the chain.
To that end, I picked up something I hadn’t seen before. Coming from Holland, Hollandia lager claims to be one of the Netherlands’ best lagers. Pouring my first glass, Hollandia is a very pale lager, the color of straw. Light carbonation supports a fluffy, bone white head. Retention’s not bad. Doesn’t last as long as I would like, but doesn’t evaporate like some lagers. Aroma starts off sweet with malt and citrus. Citrus comes out as a mild, pleasing scent of lemon. Lemon is supported by a faint graininess. These lead directly into a mildly grassy finish. Altogether aroma is pleasant, but simple and fairly linear.
Hollandia is a light bodied lager. The lager starts off rounded up front with the same hints of malt sweetness and citrus I found in the aroma. Sweetness moves quickly into graininess and a dry finish. Flavors are straightforward and linear, but are at least balanced. Finish is dry without being so lasting as to ruin the beer’s more refreshing qualities.
Overall, Hollandia’s not bad. It’s got a nice rounded center and a crisp dry finish that doesn’t overpower the center. The flavors however, are a little linear and simplistic. To that end, I feel comfortable giving the beer a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a fine enough brew for those who want a decent European lager that will still remind them of the mainstream lagers they love.