Slow Lane Pivotal & Check in the Dark

Czech Pale Dark Lagers
4.0% & 5.0%

Now here’s a beer combo for all the real-heads out there. You don’t need to know what the Plato gravity scale is to enjoy a lovingly crafted Czech lager, but those that do are likely champing at the bit to cop a load of some fresh Botany pivo. I almost can’t believe Slow Lane haven’t turned their ample talents to Czech beers before now, so let’s see if their debut Czechs all the right boxes, shall we? (I really don’t feel good about having written that.) [That pales in comparison to how I about letting it through – Editor]

When you think of Czech pale lagers, you’re probably thinking Pilsner Urquell or Budvar, but they aren’t the blueprints for Slow Lane’s Pivotal. They’re technically what’s referred to as Czech premium pale lagers, which are a bit more in every aspect than this style of beer. Straight Czech pale lagers are lighter, lower ABV, and meant to be consumed in staggering quantities.

If a key aspect of a good Czech pale lager is its ability to disappear into my grateful maw, then Pivotal might be the best of the best. Czech lager yeasts don’t fully attenuate compared to German lager yeasts (basically, that means there’s still a little bit of unfermented malt in the finished beer) so they will generally come across as a bit fuller in the mouth, and have a richer colour and malt profile. As such, this beer pours a slightly hazy golden hue with a creamy white head. The Saaz aromas stand out immediately with earthy and herbals notes overlaid on a touch of bready malt. The body is pillowy soft with a more floral hop flavour and white bread crust malt. Bitterness is mild but steadily builds as you go. At 4 percent ABV, and with a relatively low level of carbonation, it’s hard to imagine a beer more suited to a long session.

If you want to sound really cool and knowledgeable about beer, tell the people you’re trying to impress that you love tmavé pivo. A Czech dark lager is precisely the kind of beer style that absolute beer tragics will simply have to stand and salute. A beer style so rarely seen that even in its beer obsessed home country, it accounts for less than four percent of total beer sales. Originally inspired by Munich dunkel, Czech dark lagers are robust and rich beers that have to walk an extremely fine balancing act of maintaining drinkability while offering complexity.

Slow Lane’s Check in the Dark is the first locally-brewed tmavé pivo I’ve had in years but, by god, they’ve had a bloody dig at it. Pouring a beautiful dark mahogany with ruby highlights and a persistent tan head, this Czech dark lager is dense with dark malt character from the get go. The nose is replete with milk chocolate, caramel and floral Saaz, while the malt base comes in with toasted dark bread, chocolate-covered sultanas and a creamy nuttiness. There’s a dab of honeyed sweetness but it’s kept in check by a growing bitterness in the same fashion as the pale. The finish is clean, crisp and succeeds in making sure this is in no way a one and done dark beer.

Judd Owen

Published April 18, 2024

Slow Lane Brewing

30 Byrnes Street
NSW 2019

(02) 9121 6279
Open Hours

Friday: 5pm to 9pm
Saturday: midday to 9pm
Sunday: midday to 7pm

Gypsy Hub
Fresh Harvest Frenchies 2024

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