It can only be Cotswold’s Brew Co’s latest lager innovation…
Cotswold Brew Co have always forged their own path, choosing to focus on perfecting the lager in a craft beer landscape dominated by IPA and its many variants. Despite this, their range has never struggled for variety, experimenting within their niche and taking lager in bold, different directions.
2019 was a turning point for the brewery – developing their long-matured lager range, including a 3-month matured Dortmunder, 8-month matured Munich Helles, 9-month matured Imperial Pilsener and, ending on a smooth-drinking 12-month matured Doppelbock.
For Cotswold, it was about experimentation. The aforementioned styles are more commonly found in continental Europe, but not so much in the UK. They wanted to give these styles a proper introduction, keeping them in tank beyond three months, allowing the yeast to develop them over time.
Founded in 2005 by Rick and Emma Keene, Cotswold Brew Co is a microbrewery, based in Bourton-on-the-Water, that specialises in brewing lager styles. Their core aims are to raise the standards of lager brewing in the UK and give drinkers more choice with their core range of six distinct lagers as well as regular seasonals.
Their latest innovation, however, is perhaps their boldest yet.
As part of their fifteenth birthday celebrations, Cotswold Brew Co has released Solicana – what they’re calling an Unfiltered Summer Lager. The beer shines a light on Olicana, a contemporary British hop with a fruity and tropical character that rivals its New World equivalents. Solicana also marks the first occasion that an adjunct has appeared on one of their brew sheets – rice.
“The launch of Solicana is very much a continuation of what we wanted to achieve last year with the launch of our long-matured beers, and that is to challenge popular perceptions of lager,” said Jake Salter, Business Development Executive at Cotswold Brew Co.
“This time we’ve added another dimension to that challenge with the use of rice as an adjunct grain, which is often negatively viewed as a cheap grain that adds little-to-no character and thins out the beer. We want to show people that you can make a great lager with rice.
“This will be a completely different style of lager to anything we have brewed before by really allowing the hop character of Olicana to shine through and give drinkers something different, full of flavour, and easy-drinking over the summer.”
WHAT IS A RICE LAGER?
Quite simply, a rice lager is brewed with rice in addition to barley in the grain mix. The addition of rice provides fermentable sugar for the yeast to consume and produce alcohol. Rice also helps to keep the beer light in colour and body. Typically, a rice lager will have a light and crisp mouthfeel, with a largely dry finish.
Brewed to an ABV of 4.7%, this a contrast to the higher strength offerings of the well-received long-matured lagers from Cotswold Brew Co last year. As well as the addition of rice, this adds even more diversity to their range by being their first beer between 4-5% ABV.
Cotswold Brew Co continue to strive to give lager drinkers more variety than they’ve ever had before in the UK; a noble cause if you ask us.