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Lager Season Lust

Summertime is near. Almost time for the smell of cut grass and steak on the grill. I don’t have a grill, but I have neighbors who do. I am tempted to walk over with a forked baked potato in one hand, a napkin tucked under my chin, and a knife in the other hand when they are cooking outside. I don’t think they will mind, do you? Especially if I bring over a case of cold ones — no other drink pairs better with barbeque.


Now that it’s warmer, many people have probably cut their grass at least once already. Most of my weekends are spent digging in the dirt and weeding. There’s something therapeutic about it for me. Nothing ends a day of yard work better than a great craft beer. With many beer styles to choose from, when the temperature goes up, I thirst for lighter beer styles.

Did you know that there are only two types of beer? Ales and Lagers. Many styles fall under each type. Let’s talk a little bit about Lagers. They can be pale, amber, or dark brown. They are made with roasted or unroasted barley, rice, or corn. They tend to be lighter in taste, and are crisp and refreshing. Pilsner is a type of Lager that is spicier and has more hop flavor. Surprisingly, Lagers are actually a harder beer to brew than Ales. Lagers require more time, more patience, and colder water temperatures — and you thought your ex was difficult.

Many local breweries have at least one Lager on their beer menu to choose from. It’s the perfect beer of the season and a style most craft beer drinkers, like you, will enjoy. Here are some Lagers I was able to recently sip and report back on.

Mexican Lager: Hermanos from Vigilant Brewing 6% ABV

This has a clear golden pour with malt and corn tortilla on the nose. There are delicious sips of flaked corn and malt with a touch of lemon and honey. The sweet malt and corn are dominant in the back end sip with a slight hop. This Lager makes me say “Quiero más!”

Lager: Fullsteam Ahead from Vigilant Brewing 5% ABV recipe and brewed by Chris Drance, assistant brewer of Vigilant.

I had the opportunity to share a sample with Drance. “Caramel and malt on the nose and front-end palate with a slight bitterness,” is how he describes this amber-colored, well-balanced Lager. It pours clear with thin spotty waterfall lacing – a beer I would happily take to the beach. Shhh, don’t tell anybody, because I am not sharing.

Rice Lager: Japanese Rice Lager from Lops Brewing 5.2% ABV

This has a clear golden pour with malt on the nose. The flavor of sweet malt is dominant to the back-end sip with a slight touch of bitterness. It isn’t as dry as most rice Lagers. The mouthfeel is clean and crisp. I would definitely order this on any sushi date.

Mexican Lager: Mexican Lager from Rejects Beer Co. 5.3 % ABV

This pours a straw yellow color with a slight haze and thin rimmed spiral lacing. There is a scent of cereal on the nose. The front-end palate is flavorful: citrus with a balance of malt. Citrus flavor is dominant into the back-end palate along with a touch of lime and salt. I don’t know how you did this, Rejects Brewing Co, but that lime zest is delicious!

Czech Style Pilsner Ain’t Broke from Origin Beer Project 5.4% ABV

This has a slightly hazy golden pour with thin sudsy lacing. There’s Pilsner malt and floral hops on the nose. The front-end palate has a taste of crackers and sweet malt. It’s bready and has a biscuit undertone. The complexity and balance of flavors makes this a truly delicious masterpiece.

Czech Style Dark Lager: Midnight Bryter from Pivotal Brewing Company 4.9% ABV

This dark Czech pours an amber hue. There are notes of roasted malt which bring out smokey overtones with a coffee and chocolate infused finish. This Lager would pair well with a marinated grilled steak. Despite my former statement about being a fan of light Lagers, this was done well and Pivotal knocked it out of the park.

I would like to end by saying that changing up the style of beers I consume has been helpful. I drink alot of IPAs and it can make me feel like I have a hop insensitive palate. Ending a work day, fun in the sun, yard work, or having a cookout can be the perfect opportunity to enjoy a Lager. I am sitting on my concrete beach as I write, enjoying a local Lager, thinking about a new beer style that I yearn for and let me say that life feels good. I am still in love with IPAs but in search of Lagers. I hope you can do the same. Cheers to great local craft beer!