Classical Beer Review: Brutus American Amber Lager

Label Brutus American Amber Lager by Maximus

This is a guest blog by Kimberley, who runs the social media at BCS. Kimberley is currently writing her PhD in Mediterranean Archaeology and is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Occasionally, she will blog at BCS about all things beer and Classical in the Low Countries or – as I’d like to call it – ‘The Nether Regions’.

Recently, I have done a #beerhaul (click here for the evidence) at my new, local craft beer store run by Bierderij Waterland – a great regional brewery which unfortunately does not produce Classics-inspired beers yet (hint hint). They do sell ’em though! Therefore, I will be reviewing some of their beers for the blog.*

First up is Brutus American Amber Lager by Brouwerij Maximus, which has won the distinction of “most appreciated beer in the province of Utrecht” in 2011. With a population of ca. 1/16th of the entire Netherlands, being the best in the province of Utrecht must count for something, right? Anyhow, Brutus pours a beautiful amber color and a thick head (yeah, I know). The brew smells very much like a standard lager, but upon drinking it packs more punch due to the use of unspecified “American” hops. Strong and bold, a flavor you’d associate with the name Brutus – and with ‘Murica of course.

Maximus AND Brutus!? Wow, a Classics-inspired beer bonanza! After previously putting all my detective skills to work in uncovering the reason behind the naming of Oedipus Brewing, I’ve got to say my luck has run out. Maximus is Latin for the “greatest” or “largest” and although it could just simply be an indication of the brewers’ aspirations, I have the feeling something more is going on. The brewery is located in a recently developed area on the outskirts of the city of Utrecht called Leidsche Rijn, which yielded plenty of Roman archaeology – including a tract of the Roman road, a fortress and a ship. I’d like to think this inspired the brewers to choose a Roman-worthy name, but I couldn’t find any evidence for this either way.

The same goes for Brutus. Brutus means “heavy” in Latin, but it is best-known as the cognomen of Marcus Junius Brutus, who was part of a conspiracy to stab Julius Caesar to death on the Ides of March of 44 BC. Caesar was Brutus’ friend and mentor and in popular imagination, this led him to cry out “Et tu, Brute?” (You too, Brutus?). We thank this line, however, to Shakespeare; ancient sources disagree whether Caesar actually had anything to say, or was too busy getting himself murdered. In any case, it seems unlikely that the beer was named after the famed Brutus. After all, the beer art just depicts a bull.

0.33 Liter
6.0 % ABV
Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops
Brewed: Maximus Brouwerij, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

* BCS has no affiliation with Bierderij Waterland. I mention their store and brewery out of my own motivation to support the #drinklocal movement.


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