Triple Taster: Pistonhead

This is the first post of a new series I’m starting. As you might have gathered from the headline a Triple Taster is a closer look at three beers, from the same brewery. Pistonhead is first up so let’s dive in to review Kustom Lager and its amigos.

Before we get onto the beers, a quick background on the brewery. Pistonhead beers are actually made by Brutal Brewing, a brand of the Spendrups brewery. Brutal Brewing was an employee initiative started back in 2011.

It’s a little confusing but the company describes it as “a workshop inside the main brewery where the employees work on a ‘free time’ basis” to “come up with and brew beers for the love of it.”

That’s how it began anyway, but what do these beers actually taste like now that they’re mass-produced?

Pistonhead Kustom Lager review

You’ll probably have noticed the Day of the Dead style branding around in bars and supermarkets and the most readily available beer is the Kustom Lager.

I like the distinctive look, but on the whole the flavour of this lager doesn’t quite match up. I have to admit I’m not a typical lager drinker so that doesn’t help. Kustom Lager does have a nicer hop profile, namely Magnum, than the usual ones you’ll find like Carling or Fosters.

I’d happily drink it compared to those rivals but there are better beers available, both from Pistonhead themselves, and others.

Pistonhead Flat Tire review

Not to be confused with Fat Tire from New Belgium (as I’ve done a few times), Flat Tire is another lager made with Magnum hops but this time it’s dry hopped, too.

The popular Mosaic hop is used in the dry hopping and while the beer has the same malt profile to Kustom, there’s a lot more aroma going on which makes drinking it more enjoyable.

However, I found that the aroma was almost completely gone after drinking half the can which was a shame.

Pistonhead Full Amber review

It’s partly my personal taste but Full Amber is by far the best beer of the three and the kind of beer I would almost always choose over lager.

The additions of Dark Caramel and Crystal malts give it a darker colour worthy of the name and a much better backbone compared to the others. There’s a nice bitterness that many craft beer drinkers seek and also fruitiness from the Centennial, Cascade and Citra hops (dry hopped with the latter two).

Full Amber goes down very nicely and doesn’t taste as strong as 6%. It reminds me slightly of Anchor Steam, one of my favourite beers.

Where can I buy Pistonhead beers?

You’ll find Pistonhead beers on draft (Kustom Lager) and in cans in a number of different pub and bars across the country. You can also buy them in the following supermarkets:

Tesco – Flat Tire & Full Amber

Asda – Kustom Lager & Full Amber

Sainsbury’s – Kustom Lager & Full Amber

Morrison’s – Kustom Lager, Flat Tire & Full Amber

Read next: St.Austell’s Celebration Pale Ale & Imperial Beer Club review.


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