Lager. In an era of craft brews and snob supremacy, it is derided as the choice of those who dare to consume their beer by the case. Many wept when Guinness, purveyor of the meal in a glass, canned its own Gaelic yellow swill for a global marketplace already battled over by the national beers of places as far flung as Jamaica (Red Stripe), Australia (Foster’s), and the Netherlands (Heineken), to say nothing of the Ices, Limes, Lights, and Ultras that render twentysomething American men comatose on a regular basis.
Fortunately, craft brewers have taken on the challenge of making a lager you can drink without shame. Indeed, some observers have proclaimed that today is the greatest ever age of American lagers. That’s admittedly a low bar to clear, but if you’re alive enough to read this, why not give lager a chance?
Michael Agnew offers you a road map: The Perfect Pint’s Beer Guide to the Heartland. The noted Minneapolis beer writer, Certified Cicerone®, and poohbah of A Perfect Pint devoted a share of his sipping research to unearthing delicious lagers.
Example: the Munich Lager at the Water Street Brewery in Grafton, Wisconsin. “A fresh German-style lager is a thing of beauty,” Agnew tells us. “Graham-cracker sweetness of pilsner malt sits in delicate balance with spicy Continental hops and gentle bitterness. It’s balanced, crisp, clean, and very well made.”
Example: Lincoln’s Lager, pride of the Rolling Meadows Brewery in Cantrall, Illinois. “This American-style lager is crisp, light, and utterly drinkable. It’s slightly malt forward, but only slightly. Bread crust flavors lead the way, but the hops don’t let go easily. I wouldn’t call it boldly bitter, but the lingering bitterness does something more than balance the malt. Spicy hop flavors and tart hints of lime citrus play over the top.”