Betsy Andrews looks at nine great lagers made in America.
Lakefront Local Acre Lager (Milwaukee, Wisconsin; lakefrontbrewery.com). A gorgeous, hazy, apricot-colored lager that is left unfiltered for rich, tangy heft, this unique beer is brewed from locally grown organic barley malt and fresh Wisconsin hops. It tastes of apricots and earth. At 7 percent alcohol, it is certainly potent, but also subtle and delicious. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Buffalo Water Beer Company Bison Blonde (Milwaukee, Wisconsin; buffalowaternewsroom.com). Soft, spicy hops perfume this dark-blonde lager, a silky-smooth brew with a fine, lacy head and a mellow, caramel-malt sweetness, plus a tinge of citrus. It’s a balanced, unassertive, and likable summer brew that makes a great match for saucy barbecue. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Lakefront Cherry Lager (Milwaukee, Wisconsin; lakefrontbrewery.com). Gunning for summer ale territory, this unusual lager with a beautiful rosy color is loaded with the tart cherries for which Wisconsin’s Door County is famous. Yeasty and briny, it has an attractively sour fruit flavor and a very light touch. It makes a delicious pairing for a slice of summer berry pie. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Sprecher Oktoberfest (Glendale, Wisconsin; Sprecherbrewery.com). Just the beer you want with Oktoberfest foods like spit-roasted chicken, smoked sausage, and pretzels. Clean and balanced, with a velvety mouth-feel and a lavish, creamy head, this medium-brown lager delivers traditional caramel-malt sweetness followed by crisp, nutty notes and a lingering bitterness. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Samuel Adams Noble Pils (Boston, Massachusetts; samueladams.com). The Boston Beer Company, craft beer’s biggest lager producer, harvests five different European hop varieties for this honey-rich lager with a foamy head and waves of full-mouthed hop flavors. Pine, earth, and flowers resolve in a caramel and citrus finish that lingers long. A great beer for spicy or smoked food. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Horny Goat Red Vixen (Milwaukee, Wisconsin; hornygoatbrewing.com). With a reddish hue characteristic of Vienna-style lagers but not quite as much crispness as those beers typically have, this soft, malty brew topped with wispy white foam smells and tastes of candy-sweet malt, but with a sly, hoppy bite at the end that keeps you comingback for another sip. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Iron Hill Rauchbier (North Wales, Pennsylvania; ironhillbrewery.com). Based on a style from Germany’s Franconia region, this hazy golden lager, whose name means “smoke beer,” is made with malt that’s been smoked over a beechwood fire. It is, indeed, deliciously smoky, but with sweet, floral balancing notes. And at 3.8 percent alcohol, it’s easy to drink, particularly alongside oysters on the half shell. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Hinterland Maple Bock (GreenBay, Wisconsin; hinterlandbeer.com). Brewed using maple syrup made with sap tapped from brewery owner Bill Tressler’s own trees, this heady bock offers roasty-toasty and dark chocolate flavors, with a bit of brandy and spice. Cola-colored, with a thick, sudsy head and a subtle smoky quality, it’s great with braised pork and can also pair with chocolate. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman Troegs Troegenator Double Bock (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; troegs.com). Munich’s Paulaner friars created a rich, nutritious beer they called Salvator, Latin for savior. Ever since, doppelbock beers have been named with the suffix “-ator.” Troegs’ lovely, reddish brown version is surprisingly tart and tangy, with a sweet-spicy finish. It’s a big beer (8.2 percent alcohol) that pairs well with beef. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers » Todd Coleman