Colorado Native Amber Lager - AC Golden Brewing Company

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Colorado Native Amber Lager
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BA SCORE
84
good

55 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

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Reviews: 55
Hads: 178
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.21%
Wants: 12
Gots: 40 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
AC Golden Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Domingo on 04-05-2010

Colorado Native is a hand crafted lager made with all Colorado ingredients that celebrates the joys of life in Colorado.

Hold up a pint of Colorado Native and drink in its amber lager color, brought to life with pale and caramel malts from our famous Moravian 2-row barley. We painstakingly balanced its malt character against select Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops to create a perfectly balanced, full-flavored beer. A lager yeast fermentation gives Colorado Native a slight fruitiness, complementing a citrus aroma note from a late kettle hop addition. Everything then comes together to deliver a clean taste and dry finish that is very drinkable by itself, or paired with your favorite foods.
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Reviews: 55 | Hads: 178
Photo of Durge
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear rosy amber color with a fair white cover and decent lacing. The aroma is nice and malty with a tasteful bit of skunk. The flavor brings more mellow malt with citrus/grass highlights. This stuff is very smooth with a healthy effervescence. The musky quality comes through to make it interesting. Some sweet toffee in there too. Highly drinkable and easily recommended as lagers go. (388 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Colorado Native has been out for months now. Its success has been remarkable. It currently outsells Fat Tire 6pks in our store 3 to 1. I recently realized that after enjoying so many 6pks of Colorado Native, I somehow failed to review it. Maybe I was just avoiding a difficult subject, maybe I thought my friendship with the brewers of this beer meant I should remain silent, maybe I've had a few drinks and I'm feeling ornery. Regardless, tonight I've got something to say.

Colorado Native is a surprisingly unique beer. Two things seem to draw immediate attention from most drinkers. The first is that Colorado Native is brewed with 100% Colorado ingredients. I think this is a really cool idea and an excellent way to highlight the potential for hop production here in Colorado. The second is that Colorado Native is "brewed by Coors." This is an easy knock to apply to the beer. Beer geeks love few things more than ripping on BMC producers. While there are certainly valid reasons for beer drinkers to express frustration with brewers like Coors, this particular claim is both confused and irrelevant.

To say that this beer is made by Coors is a half truth that doesn't tell the whole story. MillerCoors owns AC Golden much like they own Blue Moon, Molson, Leinenkugel and others. They brew on a small 30 barrel system and hand bottle their beer...inside the world's largest commercial brewery, the Coors facility in Golden, CO. If Colorado Native and other AC Golden products are well received and consumer demand grows, these brands may try to go nationwide. If they do that, I would expect to see these beers truly produced by Coors on their much larger equipment. I think the best way to look at AC Golden is as a brand incubator for Coors. Brew unique beer on a small scale and see what people think.

But in the end, I feel that this is a moot point. It is irrelevant. Many Beer Advocates have animosity towards brewers like Coors because they have come to represent the big, bad, multinational corporation out to ruin beer as we know it. If that is how you feel, so be it. You are entitled to your opinion. Me? I only care about how beer makes me feel when I drink it. If I enjoy it, I enjoy it, no matter who makes it. I suspect that deep down this is how most people feel too.

If Bud made beer that more people liked to drink, they wouldn't be part of InBev, they would still be the largest American-owned brewery. But they did not adequately adjust their product mix to satisfy the growing and more profitable segment of the beer market that wants more from their beer. For generations, most Americans wanted a light, fizzy, and above all, inexpensive beer, so that is what brewers brewed. They may have helped drive our opinions with marketing, but in the end, they brewed what they thought most people wanted. If AC Golden is an attempt to brew a new kind of beer for a new and growing subset of the beer market and they brew beer that I want to drink, who the fuck cares who bank rolls them? Good beer is good beer.

Rant over.

Colorado Native pours a light copper body with a bone white head that leaves a patchwork of lacing on my glass.

The nose is unlike any lager I have experienced. It smells like an American Pale Ale, showcasing the Colorado-grown Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade hops it was brewed with. That's right, this is a lager brewed with citrus "C" hops. To me, this is what makes Colorado Native so special.

The flavor is equally as impressive. It opens with toasty, bready malt that leads to a fruity, citrusy, floral hop finish. Bitterness is not too high, it stays true to its Lager roots. But American hop varietals are still at the forefront.

The body is medium to full for the style, the finish long.

Colorado Native is a total session beer. It manages to, "combine the great hop and malt flavors of a pale ale with the soft, delicate features of a lager." This is hands down the best Amber Lager I have tasted. If more Lagers tasted like this maybe Lager wouldn't be the curse word it appears to have become in the Craft Beer community. And maybe if the big boys brewed more beer like this, we wouldn't care so much about words like Craft. (4,193 characters)

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.22/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Unfortunately I am not able to really see this beer as I am not able to drink it out of a proper glass right now...so I am drinking it out of the bottle. I don't imagine that it will make a heck of a lot of difference on this one, but my appearance comments will obviously be a little weak.

Appearance: Looks really clear in the bottle with no noticeable sediment on the bottom or anything. When I popped the top, there were a couple bubbles rising to the top, but nothing to write home about.

Aroma: Before the sip I am picking up a bit of hops in the aroma along with a very subtle sweet honey malt.

Taste: The flavor is really dry and the hops are very noticeable in the finish on the back of the throat for a while after the sip. It is so well attenuated that the hops are practically standing in a field all by themselves. I really can hardly tell that the malt is there except for a faint toasty honey-like thing going on somewhere in the finish, but is muddled by the hops.

Opinion: Well, this is an OK beer. I will drink the whole thing which is something to say for one of the big three. I am glad that I only got this one bottle in a "build your own six-pack" deal at the local liquor store. It might be OK for someone who has been brainwashed by the big three and is starting to think for themselves...otherwise there are a whole lot of better beers out there. (1,375 characters)

Photo of ToddT
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Clear orange tinted brew topped by a fluffy off white head. Head has legs and leaves lots of lace on the glass.

S- Sweet malt and mild notes of hops. There might be a hint of corn adjuncts in there as well, but it's hard to pick it out.

T- Nice pop of hops at first, I wasn't expecting that considering they were hidden in the aroma. The middle is a malty sweetness that fades to a nice slightly bitter hop finish. The finish is clean and dry.

M- Medium in body and well carbonated a nice refreshing beer.

D- Pretty easy to take down a bunch of this one, a good session candidate, and at 5.5% ABV it could work.

Not a bad lager, like a macro but with a little more. (675 characters)

Photo of emsroth
2.42/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle

App: frothy off-white head. Nice amber with hues of ruby

Smell: a touch of bready malt but dominated by dank, Fruity hops. Perhaps cascade? Because I smell grapefruit.

Taste: similar to the smell. Decent bready and biscuity malt with a touch if honey. Fades into some grapefruit rind bitterness.

Medium body with decent carbonation.

Tastes like the second runnings of sam Adams BL. (399 characters)

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tall thin glass. No freshness date on bottle.

Pours with one finger of quickly disappearing head that is made up of large bubbles that rise through the pale, washed out amber body. Despite the receding head, there is some good lacing.

Some mellow pine-like hops and alcoholic malts. Smells reminiscent of a large-scale produced amber or bock. Not much complexity and no subtlety. Not a promising sign.

Slam, bang, done. This flavor isn't waiting around. A shot of slightly bitter astringent hops swoosh through the mouth followed by a bit of sweeter pine and floral hop notes mixed with some roasty malts, and then it all goes away leaving a slightly bitter generic hoppy aftertaste to linger. I feel like there wasn't enough oomph to make any real impression, and not enough breadth to cause me to consider anything about it beyond "this is alright".

Medium mouthfeel and relatively smooth carbonation. It does fine here, but not outstanding. To much hop to caress the mouth with malty goodness, but not enough hop to wash the mouth with smooth, bitter and juicy hoppiness. Not quite like a reg lager or like an APA. The deeper into the bottle I get the better it is, but it never reaches outstanding.

Conclusion: This is a good beer, but it barely makes that status. There are many other red lagers and American ambers that surpass this brew. I am a native of Colorado and it makes me sad that a beer calling itself "Colorado Native Lager" would be so mediocre. Shouldn't it be wild like the tops of the mountains, rugged like the cliffs and lush like the roaring rivers?

Edit- As I finished the last few gulps of this beer I found I really enjoyed it more than I had as I wrote this during the first half of the experience. I bumped up my drinkability and mouthfeel marks. (1,796 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I first saw this beer, I assumed it was a marketing ploy by one of the big 3 to make something that looked like craft beer while hiding it's true identity. My bad.

12oz. long neck brown bottle with a twist off cap. Opens with barely a hiss.

CO Native is a nice redish amber color with perfect clarity. The slightly off-white head is smooth but settles fairly quickly.

Aroma is pretty standard/average fare. Slightly sweet, malty, and fruity but overall very mild. Little to no hop presence.

Flavor is more of the same. Not very remarkable in any particular way. It has a malt-forward taste meaning it's very low in hop bitterness. There is a little roast to it but basically forgetable. I keep going back for another small sip and nothing really sticks.

Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with appropriate carbonation.

Overall a very average beer in a state full of exceptional ones. (893 characters)

Photo of Rayek
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Nonic.

A: Straight up amber, with a very light chill haze. A small. but foamy cream tinted head has OK retention and lives just a touch of lace.

S: Lemon, toffee and pepper come out in equal measure to produce a light, yet balanced nose.

T: After a quick burst of toasted sweet bread, a pepper bitterness comes on that dominates the beer's flavor. The bitterness level fairly light, however. The beer finishes with a lingering pepper bitterness and a slight bit of metal.

M: The light body is semi-dry and had about the right level of fizz.

D: This is an OK amber. It carries more flavor than most Coors offerings, which was a nice change of pace. The lightness makes it an easy drinker. (706 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
2.41/5  rDev -35%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a reddish amber color with a slightly tan head. More red in appearance than I would have expected. I haven't had a lager in a while so this should be interesing. The aroma immediatly reminded me of walking through the Coors brewery when I was younger. Strong aroma of sweet malt and sweet corn. A slight hoppiness in the beginning followed by a subtle sweetness. The aroma is really the downfall on this one to me. Medium/light mouthfeel. Lingering bitterness. It's not terrible but it's not good either. (518 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Thanks to JMBSH for this bottle!

I'm not sure why, but I felt I had to try this one. I blame my never being west of Iowa City before. It pours a clear copper topped by a finger or so of white foam. The nose comprises a decent bit o' caramel, countered by a stark bit o' hoppiness, mostly sharp pine and slightly less sharp ruby red grapefruit. The taste is identical. 'Nuff said. The body is light, with a light carbonation and a crisp finish. Overall, a decent brew, highly drinkable, not all that complicated. Now we've got about 49 more Native brews to craft... (610 characters)

Photo of SassyBootblack
2.49/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber color, plesant amount of bubbles.

Smell: Not much to mention.

Taste: Mostly a sweet corn flavor. The color suggests a maltiness that this beer doesn't deliver.

Mouthfeel: A good, crisp lager.

Drinkability: Goes down smooth, but there's not much interesting going on here.

A perfectly fine American style lager gussied-up with a little roasted malt for color, is my guess. Anyone expecting the likes of a Märzen or Vienna lager will be dissapointed. (472 characters)

Photo of jokelahoma
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice coppery amber with a decent head that didn't last long. Thin skiff of foam stuck around throughout.

Aroma is nicely malty, with a bit of toast and bread crust. Not a lot of hops in the nose, but there is a hint that something is there. Overall it's very clean on the nose.

Taste is remarkably balanced. Very clean malt, with again the bready, toasty flavor coming to the fore. There are hops in here after all. Not "in your face", but noticeable. The beer is far from bitter, but the hops serve to give this one character, and balance out the sweetness of the malt. Quite well done. No mistaking this one for a macro lager. It has some "oomph" to the flavor.

The mouthfeel has just a tiny bit of heft as well, again distinguishing it from its macro cousins. It won't be mistaken for alcoholic spring water, let's put it that way.

This is really rather well done. Not earth shattering by any means, but then it's an amber lager. It isn't supposed to redefine craft beer. As it is, it's a good beer worth trying. Nice to see the big boys know how to do good beers too, eh? (1,088 characters)

Photo of mentor
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a half finger of off white (lightly tan) head over a brilliant orange-light amber liquid. Smells fruity hoppy with a mild biscuity malt character way underneath. Hop aromas were oranges, mild lemon, tropical punch, and cherry sweet-tart.

Tastes wonderful. Light malt, strong hop flavor, and clean hop bitter that is crisp at the end like you get in a good czech pils. Each of these dimensions is balanced with the others, though the carbonation makes too strong of an acrid sting (so, swirl the beer to address that concern). Malt is mostly bready sweet with a hint of light-colored caramel. Hop flavor is lemony, earthy, grapefruit pithy, and a light hint of basil sweet. The pith works quite well with the clean hop bitter. By the end of the glass, the beer is coming across as quite hoppy bitter, almost to the point of minerally. I wonder if the brewer added calcium carbonate during the mash. The aftertaste sees a reappearance of the malt sweet. Md light body and very drinkable (keep in mind that I'm quite a hop-head). (1,033 characters)

Photo of riored4v
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 5/28/10

Poured into a pint glass. Crystal clear, ambered color body. White head.

Smell was mildly malty with hints of caramel. Slight butter aroma. Mild hoppiness.

Taste had hints of caram and a mild biscuity, earthy flavor. Extremely mild hop finish that seems floral. Mild malt sweetness. Smooth and clean.

Mouthfeel had some mild stickiness. Light body, medium carbonation.

Drinkability was very good. Clean beer, well balanced. Good summer session beer. (471 characters)

Photo of Haybeerman
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright, clear copper/amber color. Poured a 1 finger coarse white head that dissipated to thick skim and held. Lazily decanted. Spots of lacing.

S: Bready malt, but not strong. Light floral hop aroma; primarily citrus zest, but some spice as well. Also hay and grass.

T: Sweet bready malt and caramel up front. Transitions to a light citrus zest. Bread lingers a bit in an even bitter finish.

M: Light body. Moderate carbonation. Crisp and fairly clean with just a bit of malt flavor lingering in the finish.

D: Easily drinkable with all the well-blended balance of a good lager. Light abv helps too. (606 characters)

Photo of Schmittymack
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Old Chicago Westy. Color was somewhat of an amber (amberish if that's a word); a slight floral aroma. Hoppier than most Coors' products--very surprised. Taste was slightly sweet and quite quaffable. A pleasant surprise. Doubtful I'd buy a sixer of it but if I'm "forced" to choose amongst a few BMC offerings, I'd look for this one. (342 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally found this one in the mix six cooler so I figured I'd give it a try. Not at all what I was expecting. Poured a nice copper-amber color, with a bit of ecru foam. Aromas of sweet malt and caramel. Nothing too overwhelming on the palate, but a very nice malty body, with just a hint of spicy hops. A very pleasant surprise. (328 characters)

Photo of SteelieB
3.99/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at Mile High in Belmar at $6.99 for a sixer. I like that it is an all CO made beer.

Smell is bready with a light flowery and citrusy smell from the hops. Definitely not in your face like a PA or IPA.

Taste is a little sweet, bready from Munich-type malts. Fair amount of bitterness and a light orangey/grapefruit flavor from the hops. The sweetness makes me think of crystal-type malts, but I pick up only subtle caramel flavors

Drinkability is high. I could take down a lot of these this spring.

A good lager with some hops presence that has a good malt backbone that makes me think of a marzen. Price point is about right. I like this better than SA Noble Pils and Boston Lager which I think it competes with. Definitely worth a try. (748 characters)

Photo of BlackHoleBrew42
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to try one for muhself, and I am actually impressed.

Beautiful amber color, head fades quickly. Wonderful malt aroma, munich and honey? Malt backbone, quick hop bite, finishes nice and smooth. Easily sessioned. Might... actually... buy.

Bottom line, I wanted to hate it, and I can't find much fault with it. Kind of reminds me of Boston Lager. Kind of octoberfesty as well. All and all, damn solid brew. (411 characters)

Photo of Domingo
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the 3rd lager that's seen a bottled release from the Coors "craft" unit under the name AC Golden. I honestly liked the other two, so I'm looking forward to this one.
Pours a copper color with a really bubbly 1" head from a normal pour. The carbonation seems a tad bit heavy initially, but it calms down quickly and it does manage to lace the glass and stick around.
Smells hoppier than expected. Slightly sweet bready (Munich?) malts and American hops. It's a little familiar to be honest.
Oh...now I get it. It actually tastes a lot like Sam Adams Boston Lager. Dare I say it might be a tiny bit hoppier, but that's the inspiration. Bready and sweet up front, robust hops in the middle, and a finish that's dry with a little bit of lingering hop bitterness.
Easy drinking and tasty.
I could handle a couple at a time and not get sick of it.
It loses points for originality, but that isn't a BA score :)
I'd say it's a fine take on a Sam Adams-like brew that's no cheaper and with slight advantages/disadvantages in a few areas.

EDIT: I did a side by side, and this beer's hop profile from the 3 C's gives it more of a new world fruitier nose/taste (while the Boston Lager has more old world floral), but the two beers are pretty similar. Native definitely has more overall bitterness for better or worse, though.

Another interesting note. This beer is made with all Colorado ingredients from Monte Vista barley to hops from near Montrose. On tap I've found this brew to be a good go-to in the summer. Good stuff from Coors? Yes! (1,539 characters)

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Colorado Native Amber Lager from AC Golden Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.