Beer Name: I-10 West Coast IPA
Brewery: Intuition Website
Hops: Columbus, Summit, Cascade, and Centennial
Malts: American 2-Row, Red Wheat Malt, Cara-Pils and Crystal malt
Availability: North (wider distribution) and Central Florida (limited)/
Glassware: I used a big old honkin’ mug
Appearance: Burnt Orange
Taste: A good blend between malts and hops. Not too bitter, but not tepid, either.
Rate Beer 92 Overall Cookbook
Lagers suck ass. Or at least that has been my default reaction for many craft beer years. When it comes to craft beer I’m an Ale guy. From your big bold in-your-face American Imperial IPA to your deep, rich, dark fruit Belgian and Trappist Ales.
In my older, non-craft beer days I drank my fair share of Lagers. Besides your American Macro Lagers there were some good ones found overseas: Grolsch and Harp chief among them. But my favorite beer for a long time was Bass Ale.
Since my migration to craft beers my initial forays into Craft Beer Lagers were met with reactions from mild boredom to outright disgust. From what’s the point? to DRAINPOUR! And then 2014 rolled around and I was determined to expand my craft beer experience and search for the two styles that interested me the least: Brown Ales (my rare Ale dislike) and Lagers. And I have to say, after spending the first part of 2014 exploring the Lager world I’ve discovered some pretty fantastic beers.
Let me start with what I now consider the best Lager on the planet: Weihenstephaner Original, a Munich Helles Lager.
As I wrote when I tasted this for the first time: “This is a Munich Helles Lager and probably the best of it’s style in the world my opinion. Just an absolutely fantastic beer. Crisp with a nice light floral and fruit taste.”
While I had expected to find some nice Lagers I never expected to discover one I would love. And this is one of two that I have come to love.
With a quick check in Untappd here’s my breakdown of Lagers. And the list is way longer than I ever expected it would be. I don’t think of myself as drinking a Lager often but that’s due to just not thinking of certain styles as actually being in the Lager family.
American Amber / Red Lager – 1 Berliner Weisse – 2 Baltic Porter – 2 Black Lager – 2 Czech Pilsner – 2 Dopplebock – 3 Dunkelweizen – 2 Euro Lager – 2 German Pilsner – 3 Golden Lager – 2 Hefeweizen – 14 Helles Lager – 3 India Pale Lager – 1 Kristallweizen – 2 Kölsch – 3 Oktoberfest/Märzen – 2 Pale Lager – 2 Pilsner – 2 Vienna Lager – 1 Weizwenbock – 1
I tend to break Lagers down into these 3 main groups: European Lagers
And here are my personal highlights of each:
Weiihenstephaner Original (see pic and description above)
Kiwi Rising – Jack’s Abby To me this is the Great American Lager. Jack’s Abby took everything I love about a big West Coast tropical IPA and made a Lager version. In fact, when it comes to American Lagers no one is doing it better or more innovative than Jack’s Abby. All they brew is Lager beer. In every style and variation you can imagine. From big hoppy beers to smoked dark lagers to Marzens and everything in between. Hunt their beers down and enjoy. You will not be disappointed.
Anchor California Lager This beer impressed me. I am not a fan of their Steam beer and had low expectations going into this one. To my surprise and delight this was delicious. Light and crisp and refreshing.
Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Aventinus. This is a world class beer. It takes the big bold malty sweetness of the Bock and smooths it out with wheat. This is not a beer to skip over.
Weihenstephaner Dunkel While I love their Hefeweissbier, I’m sightly more partial to the Dunkel or dark version. Another world class beer. In fact, I have yet to have a beer from Weihenstephaner in any style that I don’t consider world class.
So, in the end, while taking this journey I discovered a few things. The Lager is a beer that comes in a wide variety of styles. Anyone growing up on the American Macro Lager would have no idea that the Lager was so storied and diverse. And while the Ale is still my go to realm of the craft beer world I no longer frown and sigh with resignation when it comes time to explore the world of Lagers. I’ve found a couple of beers that hold their own with anything else out there. And I still have my few drain pours. That’s the one thing I’ve found most interesting about my Lager Craft Beer Adventure. The few Lager drainpours that made me hesitant to take this journey remain drainpours for me. Which actually makes me feel better about the whole thing. At first I thought I just didn’t have an appreciation for a Lager. Instead I just got unlucky and started out with those couple of Lagers tat do indeed suck ass. Thankfully, it was just a few.
LAGER – Light/Amber/Dark – Friday Night Hangout (Ep. 156)
Craft Beer Nation BJCP Reviiew
This playlist covers many of the various Lager categories from the viewpoint of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)
I bumped into a regional rep for SlyFox at my local bottle shop in Virginia this week. We had a great conversation, and he was nice enough to share with me a can of their Helles Golden Lager in their special 360 Top can. Here are my thoughts:
The beer. It is a better-than-average representation of the style. It is crisp and well carbonated. The earthy malts balance nicely with the grassy hops. The aroma suffers from the lack of head, as there was no real release of CO2 when I opened the top (like you would get when you pour out into a glass).
The can. I am not totally sold on it. I love the concept. I love the progressive take on developing novel ways to get non-lightstruck beers to the consumer, but there are a few draw backs to this.
First, from a purely beer snob perspective, I like beer from a glass. I like the presentation of a lager in a tall slender glass. The stream of bubbles making their way to the top gives me a zen-like sense of refreshment (all those years of being exposed to television ads, I guess).
Second, a logistical quandary. The area from the edge that touches your lip to the inner ring of where the top is removed from the can is pretty significant. Not so much that it makes a mess, but enough that there is a waterfall effect when the beer comes out of the can to your lips. This effect creates a lot of air being taken in with the beer. The only way to compensate for this (and really, I only had this one can to experiment with), is to stick your tongue out to connect with the inner ring to take the beer in before the waterfall. That edge is sharp, and I was constantly worried of a cut while drinking.
Interestingly, I was told by the rep, that you won’t be seeing these cans distributed any time real soon as Pennsylvania is the only state they are allowed to sell these in. The reason? If you can believe it….the litter laws. Yes, the tab detaches all the way from the can, and that is a littering risk that other states won’t permit. I am not sure fighting city hall for a waiver is really worth the fight for deliver system that stops at being novel, and never really passes to being fully-functional.
Overall, I think the beer is worthy of seeking out of Munich Helles is your thing. As for the canning process, you don’t have to spend a lot of energy coveting Pennsylvania’s littering laws. Only Jimmy Buffett would lobby for the change in those. He would love his his hit song to be relevant again: “Stepped on a pop top. Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home…”
When I heard Brown Shugga’ would not be made anymore I was lucky to get 2 bottles last year from my friend +Matthew Miller . Well I’m happy they did brew it again so now I can do a side by side comparison.
They both still taste great. The last year batch did loose some aroma. The citrus and sweetness comes out much stronger in the 2013 batch. The 2013 also poured darker than the 2012. The head is a light tan on both batches. They are both very hop forward and bready/yeast with some malt backbone that you only get when it gets a bit warmer and a bit more of molasses and the brown sugar. I normally don’t care for sweet IPA but it works nicely with this particular beer. The 2013 seems a little calmer to palate but which is a surprise since I expect the 2012 to be more mellow by now. It’s more hoppy than the 2013. Wonderful lacing around the glass. The 2012 kept its syrupy mouth feel but not as much for a year old batch. This is a quite complex beer with so many flavor that keep changing as the beer temperature rises. They are both full body beers well carbonated and smooth. But I can tell you that after two bottles at 9% ABV I feel a little inebriated. (Still I will have one more beer.
This is definitely a wonderful beer. If you never tried this go out right now and buy a pack. You won’t regret. Thanks +Lagunitas Brewing Company for bring this back. I hope to see Sucks still since it was a pretty darn good beer as well.
My mind is in spiral with this
Hardywood Gingerbread Stout Reserve Series. Style: Milk / Sweet Stout 9.20% ABV I wish I could get a few more of those. This may not get a 5 out of 5 but it certainly is a 4.8 just because their Barrel Aged is better yet. Almost black with a nice tan head. Good head retention with lacing running beautifully around the glass. Say this beer is “Awesome” doesn’t do justice. Tons of Malt, spices, molasses and a marvelous gingerbread aroma. I get some fig or prunes as well TA ted sweet and you get the baked gingerbread right away. On tip of that you get cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and spices. Hint of coffee as it gets warm. Very little bitterness to the finish, and a good hop balance to the flavor an a great sweetness that works well for this Stout. Full bodied and little carbonation really easy to drink. My only criticism is that I would like to be more chewy or thicker. This Hardywood Reserve Series was a home run.