Did Harp Lager change?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Ceddd99, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (103) May 14, 2018 Michigan
    Trader

    I wasn't sure which forum to post this in but I recently bought a single bottle of Harp Lager. I remember liking this beer in college but I only drank it a few times because I didn't think it was worth the relatively high price for what's essentially just a pale lager.

    Anyway, I recently bought a single bottle and it said 4.5% abv on the bottle. It also tasted hoppier than I remember. I always thought this beer was 5% abv and beer advocate lists it as 5%. Did they change the formula or was it always 4.5%? Also is there a difference between Harp Lager and Harlp Premium Lager or just two different labels?
     
    PatrickCT likes this.
  2. ColonelHopslam

    ColonelHopslam Aspirant (260) Jan 22, 2014 Michigan

    this thread is going to BLOW UP!
     
    HopsDubosc, LuskusDelph and mambossa like this.
  3. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (31) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has that feeling. I used to enjoy it at school, and I bought a bottle at an Irish bar in NYC recently. It didn't taste at all the way I remembered: not actually bad, but just a very ordinary-tasting light lager.
     
  4. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,441) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I would totally agree, it doesn't have the lager yeast sulphur it used to have. But that's been a while now, although I'm not sure when it was changed.
     
    dcotom likes this.
  5. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (170) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    It wasn't good to begin with.......
     
  6. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,363) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    According to their SE PA Distributor Origlio:

    Harp has a new look and a new recipe! The new liquid delivers a more refreshing taste and is less bitter. This genuine Irish recipe, developed by the brewers of Guinness, is clean with a sweet nose and a good body. The hops deliver a subtle citrus taste and floral aroma.

    HOPS- Cascade, Saaz
    ABV - 4.50%
    IBUs - 21
     
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Nice find -- try to find any Harp info at the Guinness web site (at least USA).
     
    Jaycase and FBarber like this.
  8. pbrian

    pbrian Defender (619) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Interesting that the article states less bitter but the OP says it's hoppier... I know bitter and "hoppy" aren't the same thing (hello NEIPAs) but still.
     
    tzieser likes this.
  9. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (31) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    It was better than the other stuff they sold in my college pub, which is why they charged more for it, but that's another story.
     
    sculls65 likes this.
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,363) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Was looking for some original US Harp info from the early 1960s and remembered these two confusing items only a few years difference:

    [​IMG]
    They turned down my old ad campaign suggestion:
    THE BEST IRISH LAGER BEER BREWED IN CANADA AND SHIPPED TO THE USA!
    (For the record, the new version appears to be brewed in Ireland... for now).
     
    #10 jesskidden, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Seems like Harp likes to be confusing to its consumers -- back in 2014 I found Harp Pilsner on shelves -- labeled as an "Authentic Pilsner Lager." Funny thing -- it was 4.5 ABV just like this new Harp. :thinking_face:
     
    Bitterbill likes this.
  12. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,254) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I have fond memories of Harp from the 1990's. I tried one a few years ago and found it it be decidedly less bold/flavorful than Stella, Heineken, Peroni, etc. which is contrary to my old impression.
     
    Bitterbill and steveh like this.
  13. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,441) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    That reminds me of Labatt Blue Royale Light which is neither brewed in Canada nor sold there!
     
    Bitterbill likes this.
  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,363) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, when North American Breweries - now apparently renamed after its Costa Rican parent company, Fifco USA- was first formed by combining the old Genesee (née High Falls) Brewing Co., and the spun-off Labatt USA Import Div. of InBev (via DoJ mandate to allow the AB-InBev merger), it seems natural that they'd brew Labatt for the US market since the Genesee brewery was way underutilized (3M bbl. capacity and Genesee had fallen to under 500k bbl.) AND the Feds said that, after a period of time to allow for the transition, AB-InBev's Labatt breweries could no longer supply Labatt for the US market.

    But worried that the lack of a "Brewed in Canada" label on Labatt Blue would hurt sales, they stuck with a Canadian-brewed version --- and contracted with MolsonCoors to brew it for the US :dizzy_face:

    Only later, as you note, did they start adding Labatt-branded line extension beers that they brew at Genesee but the flagships, Labatt Blue and Blue Light are still coming from "up North".
     
    Coronaeus and eppCOS like this.
  15. eppCOS

    eppCOS Crusader (747) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
    Premium

    Woah... Hilarious and trippy: thought this was a revived thread from 1991. Haven't had Harp in at least 20 years, time to revisit. Maybe even time for a good ol' Black and Tan. :wink:
     
    YamBag and lastmango like this.
  16. lastmango

    lastmango Zealot (504) Dec 11, 2014 Pennsylvania


    Yeah . . . I haven't had harp since I discovered Guinness brewery in the early 80s. I liked Harp then. It had a bit of a hop bite on the end that was lacking with American AALs. Liked the stout better. My wife would get Harp when we went to Irish bars in Baltimore. Perhaps I should revisit. This brewery and the Munich breweries led me to craft beer in the latter 80s.
     
    eppCOS likes this.
  17. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,657) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    Used to love Black and Tans back in the day. An ok beer, and nothing more in and by itself. I haven’t seen it nor have I looked, but I would guess freshness might be an issue.
     
    lastmango and eppCOS like this.
  18. BeerDrinkinGuy

    BeerDrinkinGuy Initiate (42) Nov 2, 2018 Minnesota

    Changing the label to a nondescript Bud Light looking label didn't help them at all. I dont even drink it anymore because of that...really.
     
    #18 BeerDrinkinGuy, Jan 14, 2019 at 3:43 AM
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 3:52 AM
    Bitterbill and Domingo like this.
  19. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (103) May 14, 2018 Michigan
    Trader

    It's probably because they are using cascade hops now. I don't like cascade hops, so that's why I immediately noticed an unpleasant "hoppy" flavor that I don't remember from before.
     
  20. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (103) May 14, 2018 Michigan
    Trader

    Right, I was never a huge fan of it or anything. I just thought it was better than Budweiser, Miller High Life, Coors, etc. It was a decent pale lager but I don't like the new version.
     
  21. pbrian

    pbrian Defender (619) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Cascade does seem like an odd choice for a pale lager (as opposed to a more traditional noble hop).

    As far as Harp itself, I always looked at it as the beer that my Irish friends liked to drink just to be different and cool. Even though it may be a half step up from Bud, etc, I don't think that's why they were drinking it.
     
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  22. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,254) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I agree. That isn't doing them any favors. At first glance it looks like Kokanee or Labatt now.
    It's way too easy to walk past and never even notice it now. The green packaging wasn't great, but it's almost incognito now. I like the older Guinness-like brand with a black and parchment label.
     
    Bitterbill and Foyle like this.
  23. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Disciple (336) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    Harp lager pretty much always sucked. If it is worse now than in the eighties (Yuughh)
     
    BJC likes this.
  24. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Disciple (336) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    What does that mean? And why would an obscure post on Guiness lager "blow up" Oh I get it your a comedian. I get it ha ha-