Rose Ness pours a glass of Scrappy Punk’s English Dark Lager at the Snohomish brewery. (Aaron Swaney)

Rose Ness pours a glass of Scrappy Punk’s English Dark Lager at the Snohomish brewery. (Aaron Swaney)

Beer of the Week: Scrappy Punk’s Dark English Lager

The Snohomish brewery’s English-inspired lager was created by a first-time brewer.

Dark English Lager

Scrappy Punk Brewing, Snohomish

Style: English-inspired lager

Stats: 4.5 percent ABV, 20 IBU

Available: On tap at the brewery

My thoughts: To Rose Ness, brewing beer has always felt like magic.

“You put all of this water and grains in and out comes this magical liquid,” Ness said.

Ness conjured up this Dark English Lager as her first creation. After starting out helping Scrappy Punk owner and brewer Greg Krsak by washing kegs and cleaning equipment, Ness brewed for the first time in January, using one of Krsak’s recipes to make magic.

Soon after, Krsak felt like it was time to let her brew her own recipe. So while visiting Kenmore’s Micro Homebrew, he called her to ask what she wanted to brew. Her response: an English lager.

“At first I was like great,” Krsak said. “Then I hung up and was like, ‘What does that entail?’ ”

Historically, ales are from England and lagers from Germany and Czech Republic. What makes it a lager is brewing it with lager yeast and then lagering it, which is a process where the beer temperature is slowly lowered over time and given extra time to ferment.

But an English lager?

“I’d never heard of one,” Krsak said. “So I told Rose, ‘Let’s do it, but we gotta figure it out.’ ”

To Ness, it was challenge accepted. The novice brewer had spent years in the kitchen messing with fermentation, from making kombucha to kefir. She bought a book on creating water profiles and started researching English malts and German lager yeasts.

Ness dialed in the water to replicate London water and chose English malts Pearl and Maris Otter and hops Brambling Cross. For the yeast, she went with G03, a German kolsch yeast.

The beer pours a brownish red hue reminiscent of a classic English bitter. The flavor has a solid malt backbone with an assertive hop character, but the beer’s most defining characteristic is the soft mouthfeel of a lager. The beer is drinkable, flavorful and interesting. It’s a good beer and a great job by a first-time brewer.

Ness, who commutes from south Seattle one day a week to work at Scrappy Punk, began working there after becoming a regular when her husband Ramsey brought her to the Snohomish brewery. She said she’s always wanted to work at a brewery and has been blown away by Krsak’s generosity in teaching her the craft of brewing. She plans on continuing to create more recipes in between all those kegs that need washing.

“It’s been a fantastic and humbling experience,” said Ness, who brewed an oatmeal milk stout for her second creation that will be on tap soon. “It still feels like magic, but now I’m the wizard.”

From the brewery: Conceptualized and brewed by Scrappy Punk associated brewer Rose Ness, this English-inspired lager is made with English malts (Pearl, Maris Otter) and hops (dry hopped with Brambling Cross), and London-specific water profile. It gets its lager characteristics from German kolsch yeast (G03).

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