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Freedom Brewery, Pioneer

The first lager-only brewery in Britain was Bayerische Lager Brewery, launched in 1881 on Eltham High St in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, London. 130 years later Freedom Brewery started on the other side of town in Fulham with a similar ambition to focus solely on a beer style that had been mastered and adored in equal measure in countries like Germany and the Czech Republic, but not yet the UK.  

Freedom got off to a storming start. By 1995 they had opened two brewpubs within the bustling metropolis before relocating to a distinctly more rural Staffordshire in 2004. Whilst there’s a certain opaqueness to the transition of the London based Freedom to its newer location and incarnation, there’s no doubting the crystal clear focus on producing hand crafted British lagers.

"Real Ale" isn't a term that figures in Freedom's range and they are unapologetic about it. They are on a mission to produce world class lager and the five beers that they currently produce are testament to this. If you’d ever doubted that lager could be diverse and interesting we’d recommend you sample each of Freedom’s range.

Did we mention that these beers are multi-award winning? Oh yes, Freedom have picked up multiple awards from the Society for Independent Brewers. It’s no coincidence that Jamie Oliver worked with Melissa Cole and Freedom to produce a beer specifically for his Italian restaurants. Now there’s a dream team.

We could have picked any of Freedom’s beers and been more than happy with our choice. But choosing this week’s beer was really easy. The name Pioneer conjures up imagery of exploration, adventure and going beyond boundaries. Apt for a brewery that launched in the mid-90s with a mission to change perceptions around lager. We like the name. We love the beer.

Described as “a lager for the ale drinker”, we’re inclined to agree. It could well be the ultimate “gateway” beer for any cheap-lager swilling mates that you want to take on the first steps of a better beer journey. A great example of a hoppy American pilsner, full bodied, with a good citrus kick and just the right amount of natural carbonation this has a great mouthfeel and is very, very drinkable.

This week's beer goes great with a reuben or a classic American grilled cheese sandwich. One of the great things about Freedom beers is that they don’t use any isinglass in their production and are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. We’re a big fan of Anna Jones’ vegetarian cookbook and this beer would pair brilliantly with the really hungry burger.

Freedom Brewery, giving lager a good name since 1995.