Ikea’s Dark Lager Beer is reviewed by Ruari O’Toole.
“Since Ikea make furniture for divorced middle aged men and students I had decided to drink this from the bottle, pretending I had no glassware, partner, or friends.”
Dark Lager Beer
It turns out that Ikea sells beer. I already knew they had a line in pear cider, which I have a sneaky feeling is badge-engineered Kopparberg, but the discovery that the flat-pack giant was in the beer market was quite a surprise. While waiting for a recently evicted friend to finish paying for his unpronounceable wooden goods I struck the beer racks like a Viking longboat!
Ikea flogs a light and a dark lager beer, and I plumped for the dark option hoping it would be a more mysterious, complex drink than its light compatriot. Plus I had already made a prejudiced decision that the light lager tasted like Skol based on no evidence at all.
Following the instructions on the bottle cap (wittily enough there’s a picture of a bottle opener printed on it) I commenced drinking, and was rewarded with a quite thin but definitely noticeable chocolaty, nutty scent from the open neck of the bottle. My first mouthful rewarded me with a taste that, like the scent, was on the weak side but there was an intriguing ghost of a stouty taste somewhere in this Scandinavian mist of a beer and I persisted, piling in a few more gulps until the tastes revealed themselves.
Once the tastebuds get a good saturation of this beer it’s quite a pleasure to drink. The carbonation is quite weak (I feared a bottle of fizzy flat-pack nothingness) and tastes of bitter fruit washing in on the tide, with notes of wheatgrass hiding in the darkness.
Since Ikea make furniture for divorced middle aged men and students I had decided to drink this from the bottle, pretending I had no glassware, partner, or friends. Half way through the drink, however, I thought better of this and shifted it to a glass so I could see the colour better.
Transferred from its brown glass and with a light behind it Ikea Dark Lager Beer shows off an endearing, dark chemical fire-red glow that I couldn’t stop looking at. There’s an E-number colouring in there doing its work, but it looks pretty and it’s an Ikea lager; I’m not expecting the highest level of artisan brewing here!
The flavour really does bulk up as the beer goes down, and a citrus taste emerged in the last two or three mouthfuls out of nowhere, which was an exciting surprise and led me quickly to open a second bottle.
Further drinks showed what my bottle-drinking kept secret; this beer pours to a quite weak looking head that fades quickly, kept barely alive by the carbonation. Again on further drinks that suckerpunch of citrus came just before the bell, and I was surprised to find myself sessioning this pleasant beer designed for lonely men to drink as they sit on unassembled bookcases.
At 4.7% ABV it’s no slouch, and there are plenty of non-flat-pack lagers I would drink this ahead of. Like their furniture, their beer may not be a work of high art but Ikea Dark Lager Beer at least carries through some of the Scando quirk of the Ikea design ethos.