The Felons team have poured their fair share of lager over the bars lining the Brisbane River and sent plenty more far and wide in cans, not least as the Crisp Lager has been part of their offering from day dot. But this collaboration with their neighbours at Yoko, Best Lager, is of a different character entirely. Indeed, it's of a different character to most lagers we've tasted from Aussie brewers in a long while.
When not playing in the Aussie lager space – a kind of bastardised version of European lagers – or mimicking the classic helles, pilsners and Dortmunders of Northern Europe, you might find locals boosting hopping rates and ABVs in IPLs or adding roasted malts to create dark lagers or schwarzbiers, but this feels like it sits somewhere else entirely. It even feels somewhat contrarian to tuck into a locally-brewed beer of its clear, light golden colour and find it so utterly devoted to showcasing its malty side rather than hops.
I have to admit to being surprised to find enough Hallertauer Tradition, Saaz and Saphir hops had been added to give the beer a punchy pale ale-esque IBU (bitterness) rating of 38, although it would explain the persistent hay like spiciness of the beer's underbelly. But really Best Lager isn't about that; it's got honey-baked cereals as its centrepiece and a toasted, drying edge once it crosses your palate, making for a classically-minded celebration of German Pilsener and Vienna malts that's a little reminiscent of a refined malt liquor.