/ Doug's Beer Republic /
Review: Gallia Lager
Posted: 7 October 2015
Lager is the most unique of Gallia's offerings because, if you believe their
claims, it is made using the same recipe of French malts and Strisselspalt
hops as the original Gallia Lager. There's only one problem: Gallia Lager ain't
Avg price/liter: USD 12.12
ABV %: 5.5
The French are famous for
their sense of style, their presentation, and their
exorbitant prices. I'll give Parisian-brewed Gallia credit
on all three of those counts.
Gallia's chic bottle labels
look like something out of Moulin Rouge 75 years ago.
Paris is name dropped on the label. The colors come
out and grab you. Before you open the bottle, you
think you must be holding in your hands an artisanal
creation crafted with the care the French are renowned for.
Gallia has a great story
attached to it, and for all I know, it's just that, a story.
All businessmen read the same business self-help books and
one of the pieces of advice dropped is to have an
interesting story customers can remember. What's verifiable:
Gallia was a brewery in the fourteenth arrondissement of
Paris, founded in 1890. Gallia brewed beer steadily,
even during the world wars, up until closure in 1969.
Forty years later, two French
students met at university and crafted the idea that the
rest of France had great regional beers but the capital
didn't. With the aid of family members associated with the
original Gallia, they revived the brand.
Gallia Lager is the most
unique of their offerings because, if you believe the
claims, it is made using the same recipe of French malts and Strisselspalt hops as the original Gallia Lager.
There's only one problem: Gallia Lager ain't good!
If this truly is the same
recipe as the old Gallia produced back in, say, 1950 or
1960, then I'd say this beer to a 1950 or 1960 drinker,
served chilled, was very good. I don't know what the
state of Parisian beer was like in those days, but I do know
in the USA by 1960, homogenized watery pale lagers
made by consolidating beer giants were the norm. Gallia
Lager is infinitely superior to a Budweiser, MIller, Coors,
or Pabst Blue Ribbon.
But it's not 1960, is it?
Today, there are a lot of craft breweries manufacturing
superb lagers at reasonable non-Parisian prices. Take Brewdog's
This Is Lager.
A brewery has to be doing something better nowadays if it's
going to get attention for today's most common beer style.
The French are known for wine, not beer. All the more
reason an upstart French brewery, despite parading "since
1890" on their banner, has to offer more than the norm to
counter all that preconceived bias.
It's also not true that Paris
doesn't have its own beer. TimeOut Paris published a
list of 10 artisanal Parisian beers to try: La
Parisienne, Societe Parisienne de Biere, My Beer Company, La
Montreuilloise. Some of these were likely birthed
after Gallia brainstormed its 2009 launch, but no great
Parisian beers after 2006-07 is very hard to believe.
Gallia Lager is generic.
So generic, in fact, that I get more satisfaction and pay
less money -- even though I got this Gallia Lager on sale in
Bangkok -- when I buy a Thai-made Asahi or Kirin. A
good mainstream session beer delivers more.