One of the delights of tippling alternatively is that – Forrest Gump-style – you never quite know what you’re going to get. Even when you find yourself drinking “off-piste” in what looks like an unpromising environment. That’s certainly the case with this little gem of a lager that I discovered, unheralded and unexpected, when lunching at my local (to work) Tas Restaurant a couple of weeks back.
Described by the friendly waiter as simply “Turkish beer” the fresh, bready aroma and flavour led me to enquire further. This was certainly no Efes or Turkey-brewed Tuborg (for those familiar with the limited Turkish beer scene). Rather the bottle, which the waiter kindly brought over for me to examine, revealed it to be Perge Pilsner, a 4.2% straw-coloured lager in the German tradition.
While it’s hard to be sure, Perge certainly gives the impression that it’s unpasteurised. This would make it a novelty for restaurant bottled beer of any description, let alone a lager. And even more so when the restaurant is Turkish and it’s the only lager in the house. Let’s face it, most drinkers are hard pressed to find unpasteurised lager anywhere in the UK with any regularity, except at some CAMRA beer festivals.
Subsequent research revealed Perge Pilsner to be the product of hotel and resort Süral Grup’s German-designed brew house (if I’m reading between the lines of the Google Translate version of the website okay but no real surprise), in Manavgat in the Antalya region in the far south of Asian Turkey. This opened in 2002. Not much other information appears to be forthcoming online.
Overall, even if Perge’s not unpasteurised, it’s still a quality find. The Tas chain is to be applauded for seeking out and offering something a bit different when the path of least resistance would have led it to Efes’ perfectly drinkable but undistinguished product.
Now where are the quality Indian microbrews to go with my lamb dhansak…?