Posts tagged ‘lager’

Capital Brewery: Supper Club

I have a confession to make. I actually had a New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat before I drank this beer, but I cannot stand Hefeweizens. So there’s really no way I could have reviewed that beer objectively. According to BeerAdvocate it’s really good (averaging 96.5.) If someone wants to review it and send me the review I’d be happy to post it as a guest post!

But more about the beer I actually did drink. Today’s selection is from Capital Brewery in Madison, WI. Yes this is one of the beers I picked up on my latest trip to Wisconsin, why do you ask? Supper Club was recommended to me by my dad and just about everyone else I know in Wisconsin, but to be honest after drinking I don’t know why. Even the bottle claims it’s “not bad.” And it’s not BAD, it’s just not that great either.

I don’t know that I’d pay $2.29 for a bottle of this again.

Style: American Pale Lager. These are your standard American brews but they’re made without rice or corn like most American Light Lagers (think Bud Light or Miller Lite) are. They are sometimes called “all-malt” for this reason. They are usually still yellow and fizzy but are a bit more flavorful than the Macro Brew Lites are.

Overall Impression: “Meh” would be a good word to describe this beer. Would I drink this tailgating? Absolutely. Would I drink this at a reunion of the Monday Night Beer Club? Only if it were the best thing on tap. I’d still order this in a heartbeat over Macro Brew Lites; but I think that has more to do with it being a craft beer than the flavor. Don’t get me wrong: as I said above, this beer is not bad. But it’s nothing special and to be honest, Capital has MUCH better offerings. I’m giving this two pints though, because it is just a tad bit better than that Naked Lap Lager I reviewed many eons ago when I lived in New York.

Appearance: Dark yellow-gold, clear, very thin in appearance.

Aroma: Not much to speak of.

Taste: Somewhat malty–I can at least tell this is beer. There are no hop flavors to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, very bubbly. This might give High Life a run for its money with the “Champagne of Beers” moniker.

Try this if you like: Miller, Bud, Coors, Michelob, etc. This has a bit more flavor though. Also try Longboard Island Lager or Yuengling. New Glarus’ Totally Naked also falls into this category but it’s much, much better.

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Magic Hat: Vinyl

I’m back! Perhaps temporarily, but I just finished writing a paper and have some time before the dog needs dinner and a walk. Grad school takes up a lot of my time–but only 10 months to go! (Oh yes, I’m counting.) Unfortunately, while I’ve been doing plenty of paper-writing and paper-reading, what I haven’t been doing is drinking a lot of beer. The one I’m writing about today I drank back in May. This is why I keep a notebook. Tonight’s beer of choice is Vinyl by Magic Hat Brewing Company in Burlington, Vermont.

Style: American Amber/Red Lager. This is a catch-all sort of category. You’ve got slightly fuller lagers than the American Light lagers (which includes Miller Lite and Bud Light, among others.) These beers have low bitterness and are a bit maltier than their light sisters.

Overall Impression: This is Magic Hat’s spring seasonal brew and it shows. It’s perfect for those warm spring days (especially this past year where it was about 70 on St. Patrick’s Day.)

Appearance: Gorgeous amber color which unfortunately does not come through in the photograph. I’m working on getting one of those staging thingys. The tan head disappeared quickly after pouring. The beer itself is pretty clear.

Aroma: Mostly roasted malts; and you can definitely pick up some caramel notes too.

Taste: Malt and hops. This is almost too bitter for a spring seasonal but then again I’m not the biggest fan of very bitter beers. However, the balance between malty flavors and bitter flavors is even.

Mouthfeel: Well, this is definitely a lager–you can feel all the carbonation! It is somewhat thin but that’s okay for a spring beer. This would be a decent session brew.

Try this if you like: Old Scratch Amber Lager, Wisconsin Amber, Point Classic Amber, Leinenkugel’s Classic Amber

3 stars

New Glarus Brewing Company: Two Women

I love New Glarus Brewing Company. It’s a small craft brewery in a small town in Wisconsin, but its beers pack an amazing punch. If you are ever in Wisconsin, stop by and pick up a variety pack. You won’t be disappointed. Spotted Cow is a staple of my every day beer collection, and today I’m reviewing my new favorite: Two Women.

Two Women celebrates the long, proud history of women in brewing. You can read all about it at the link above. This beer is actually the result of a collaboration between New Glarus and Weyermann Malting.

sorry this isn't in focus. I had a better picture but can't find it.

Style: Two Women is billed as a “country lager”, but BeerAdvocate classifies it as a German Pilsener. This style is fairly light in color, with generous hop flavor. Typically brewed using Noble hops. Usually comes with a herbal or floral aroma and flavor. New Glarus recommends drinking this with trout, pork chops, or steak. (And since this is a Wisconsin brewery, they also recommend Gruyere, Provolone, and Colby cheeses.)

Overall Impression: Why wasn’t this made sooner? It’s fantastic. Light enough to be a session beer, but with so much flavor that you want to savor it.

Appearance: Caramel brown color, decent head retention (though you can’t tell that from the picture.)

Aroma: A hint of cider with some other fruity flavors, and a yeast-scented background.

Taste: Smooth. Fruity with not much bitterness (unlike most Pilsener’s.) The hops come through more as you finish each sip, giving some nice, bright crispness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Medium-bodied, goes down easily. Like drinking water. Smooth. Did I mention smooth?

Try this if you like: If you’re looking for more Pilsener’s: Prima Pils or Troegs Sunshine Pils.  If you’re looking to try more of what New Glarus has to offer, I recommend Spotted Cow, Totally Naked (an all-natural beer), Moon Man (an APA), or Cabin Fever (a honey bock.)

5 Stars

 

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen

Since it’s the end of summer, that means it’s time for that wondrous beer season known as “Oktoberfest.” Or at least that’s when every brewery in the world comes out with their fall beer which is usually named “Oktoberfest” or sometimes “Octoberfest.” There’s even Hoptober.

Today’s selection, from what I hope will be a long, long train of fall beers, is a traditional Bavarian lager (which I found at Trader Joe’s, of all places.) It comes from the Ayinger Brewery, in Aying, Germany (just southeast of Munich, the home of Oktoberfest.) And also, because the bottle caps were so neat, this beer gets TWO pictures!

Isn’t that a neat bottle cap? Anyway, on to the review.

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest. These beers are typically full bodied, and have a toasty/roasted taste. They will also have a higher alcohol content than your typical lager. These beers are usually copper to dark golden brown in color, with mild bitterness from the hops.

Overall Impression: A. maz. ing. I absolutely loved this definitive Oktoberfest lager. There may be more trips to Trader Joe’s in the future just to get it. If you can find this, GET IT!

Appearance: Coppery color, great head retention.

Smell: Mild hop notes with also hints of malt.

Taste: The hops float in and around the malt taste–so you don’t have much of a bite, more like a nice background bitterness. Excellent balance with the grains of the malt. Lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Thicker than you might expect if you’re not used to German lagers.

Try this if you like: Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Marzen, Hofbrau Oktoberfest Bier. Definitely try if you’ve never had a real German Oktoberfest lager!

5 Stars

War Horse Brewing Company: American Black Lager

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have been wholly unmotivated of late—and I’ve been drinking a lot of Summer Shandy, and I can’t write multiple reviews about the same beer.

Tonight’s beer of choice is another one from the War Horse Brewing Company in Geneva, NY. I’ve already reviewed their excellent Riesling Ale, so it was time for another of their great beers.

The American black lager is a creamy beer with a mild chocolate/espresso scent and a slightly hoppy, espresso-y taste. It is smoky like a stout–but with a clean, crisp finish because it’s a lager. Perfect for those of you who like dark beer but don’t always like the heaviness of most dark beers. It would even be great for curling up with around the campfire with some S’mores. Or perhaps I just want to go camping. Either way, this is a pretty decent beer.

Try this if you like: dark beers, or any beer with a mild bitter/chocolate taste

Kona Brewing Company: Longboard Lager

A friend of mine at work just got back from his honeymoon in Hawaii, and that reminded me that I picked up a beer from the Kona Brewing Company (this particular beer was semi-locally brewed in New Hampshire for the Hawaii based company.) Today’s selection is their Longboard Island Lager.

I sincerely hope this isn’t their best beer.  In fact, I’m almost certain it’s not. The aroma is mildly citrusy, and the taste is also slightly citrus. I don’t taste much of the malt or hops in this beer. My first thought was “generic lager,” and nothing I discovered upon drinking it made me change my mind.

Don’t get me wrong. The Longboard Island Lager wasn’t a bad beer by any means. It had a clean, crisp mouthfeel, good head when poured, and tasted just fine. But I expected something a little more exciting from a company that claims “Our approach is to create complex, full tasting beers with a relaxed style and charm that expresses our Hawaii based roots.”  I did not get the feel of the Hawaiian islands from this beer.

Thankfully, Kona has five other beers that are distributed to select mainland states. The Wailua Wheat and Pipeline Porter look particularly interesting.

Try this if you like: Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss, other light lagers

Blue Point: Toasted Lager

This is my first ever beer from the Blue Point Brewing Company in Long Island, and I have to say I’m impressed. I’ll have to seek out more from this brewery in the future.


As I said, this is quite a good beer. Though I’m not sure where the “toasted” comes from. I didn’t get a taste of “toasted” anywhere, but no matter. Toasted Lager has a malty/hoppy aroma and a wheat/fruit initial taste followed by the taste of hops. The website describes it as having a “balanced flavor” between malt and hops, and I’d have to agree.

Toasted Lager has much more flavor than your typical lager–it’s almost a blend of a mild IPA and a lager. There isn’t much of an aftertaste, another good point in my book. It lets you taste the beer again and again as you drink.

Try this if you like: mildly hoppy beers (such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale), or lagers

4 stars