Northern Light Lager - Granite City Food & Brewery

Not Rated.
Northern Light LagerNorthern Light Lager

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BA SCORE
70
okay

33 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 33
Hads: 101
rAvg: 2.83
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 4
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Granite City Food & Brewery visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Light Lager |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beernut7 on 08-01-2002

Brewed to the American standard of a classic lager, this light golden beer is our mildest offering with a creamy, smooth taste.
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Reviews: 33 | Hads: 101
Photo of t0rin0
3.4/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled 10/9/2010 at the brewpub.

Pours clear yellow, white head, not much lace or retention. Lots of bubbles coming up.

Aroma is malt, water, booze, and that's about it. Maybe a splash of honey.

Flavor is very light, slight malt, low bitterness, maybe a splash of rice. No hop flavor present.

Body is light and highly carbonated, as it is supposed to be. Drinkable, nothing inherently wrong with it other than the lack of flavor. (444 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Northern Light Lager will be going up against Rock Bottom's Heartland Light in the '(One Time Only) Greater Des Moines Light Lager Face-Off'. Actually, I don't have brackets, but will rank all four beers after I've reviewed Court Avenue's Two Rivers Light and Raccoon River's Tallgrass Light tomorrow.

Pale yellow that was a fraction lighter than Heartland Light, but was still an appropriate and attractive color for a light lager. I got the same pure white cap that faded to the same thin film in several minutes, despite a bottom of the glass bubble factory that was working overtime. Minimal lace was expected and that's exactly what I got.

The nose was waaay too weak. It might have been okay if I had been able to smell it, but no such luck. While I could pick up a hint of barley malt, it was as if I was attempting to assess the beer with cotton balls up my nostrils. A lack of offensiveness kept the score from a free-fall.

Northern Light Lager was pretty decent beer, all things considered. Unfortunately, it was a bit too light and contained almost no hoppiness. Actually, the biggest reason I've granted an average taste score is that this beer had the misfortune of following immediately on the heels of the best light lager that has ever come in contact with my taste buds. I would still take it over Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Light in a New York minute.

The mouthfeel couldn't help but let the flavor down. It wasn't bad in terms of girth (light lagers are supposed to be anorexic), but it was too bubbled. Letting the beer sit for a spell wasn't an option since I had no desire to drink it warm.

So far, I'd have to say that I'm impressed. I've always shied away from ordering light lagers at local brewpubs, but these two have shown me the error of my ways. I'd like the brewpub to fix the mouthfeel before I'd drink this one again, but if they do, I'll have no trouble using it to wash down most of the lighter dishes on the Granite City menu.

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Gold Medal: Heartland Light (Rock Bottom)
Silver Medal: Northern Light Lager (Granite City)
Bronze Medal: Two Rivers Light (Court Avenue)
no medal: Tallgrass Light (Raccoon River) (2,219 characters)

Photo of emerge077
2.21/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

"Brewed and bottled by Granite City Brewing Company, Monroe, WI". Minhas... great :S Julian date code "1020" on the bottom of the bottle.

Picked up this single for the hilariously bad label (a 2-D illustration of what looks to be a young Bette Midler-esque cabaret singer raising a shiny beer, behind a crappy banner with two different typefaces outlining the beer name). Little did I know, the beer is hilariously bad too...

Bright straw gold, one fingers width of white foam that has a soapy, creamy texture to the surface suds. Clarity is sharp, retention is average, with a slight amount of lacing present.

Smells like skunky noble hops at first, then puffed wheat, and creamed corn. Borderline gross as it warms and the creamed corn crashes the party.

Cooked vegetables in the flavor, red flag of DMS. Mellow and buttery, buttered corn and husky grains. Pretty bland with enough off flavors to dump the last bit of the glass. Not recommended, even for the dumb label. This is junk. (994 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.02/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a clear golden orange color with a small, short-lived head. It left almost no lacing.

S - It smelled of caramel and grassy notes.

T - It tasted of caramel, grains and grasses. It had a mild spiciness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light bodied lager with a clean finish.

O - This is an okay light lager. It is certainly better than most mass produced light lagers. (392 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.16/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was feeling pretty thirsty and figured this was worth a try during happy hour. I was pleasantly surprised, though, not that much. It is a light lager, but it resembles a nice all-malt lager. The malt profile is mellow and smooth with a lightly roasted barley taste and a bit of sweetness. Bold it aint, but it does a good enough job at having personality for a light lager. (375 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
2.79/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Northern Lights Lager had a bit of a bite to it. The beer pours a clear golden yellow with thin white head that dissipates quickly and did not lace. The scent included hop and subtle sweet malt. The taste I thought carried a bit to it. There was some sweetness...but not for very long, the hop really took over and left a sligth aftertaste. I thought the mouthfeel was light body, failry easy to drink. I preferred there IPA for a session to this however. (459 characters)

Photo of Tone
2.82/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, pale yellow color. One inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of yeast, pale malt, grain, slight citrus, and slight pale hop. Fits the style of a Light Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of grain, pale malt, yeast, and slight sweet malt. Overall, a clean beer but rather average light lager. (380 characters)

Photo of Brenden
2.97/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had reviewed this beer, and BA lost the review within seconds of my leaving it. The finer points:

Pale yellow. Pure white head, moderately sized, pretty good patchy lacing.

Difficulty drawing out a faint aroma. Pale malts, grains, bit of sweetness, touch of grass.

Flavor is malty, pale with some caramel sweetness, grass, light grains undertone, faint hops bitterness.

Mouthfeel is overcarbonated, obviously light-bodied, crisp and clean. (445 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
2.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Standard light straw color with nice carbonation. Light grainy almost adjunct type aroma and flavor with no hop character to speak of. Light bodied and a bit watery.

Not much there but decent enough to wash down some spicy wings.

Tasted On-Tap 05/11/05 at the Cedar Rapids, IA location. (292 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: Sampled at the Granite City Food and Brewery in Fargo, North Dakota.

Listed on the Beer Menu as "Brewed to the American standard of a classic lager, this light golden beer is our mildest offering with a creamy, smooth taste." - 4.5% ABV. 20 ounce Pint.

Appearance: Pale straw with some slow streamers and a thin whispy white head. Sliding crown cap was barely noticeable when the pint arrived, yet this soon races away to leave a rather flat looking brew.

Nose: Feint nose, a very low strength clean hop with a mild spice. Ebbing aromas and at times they seem non-existent.

Taste: Trite bitterness, soft weak hops with a citric edge and finish. Immensely clean with an unfettered very smooth profile. Pale flavors with a watery feel. Some toasted malt too, but then it dies quickly.

Mouthfeel: Thin and insipid at times, lighter than most with a feel that is let down overall with a depressed carbonation level.

Drinkability: Not one I would wish to try again, but I figured I would give it a whirl. Nothing surprising really, I hoped for more but expected nothing less than I got.

Overall: Northern Light Lager is a very appropriate moniker for this brew. Run-of-the-mill pale lager that obviously fills the BMC macro gap for those that need it, I didn’t. (1,294 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
2.68/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1430th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12oz

No bottle date
Thanks to my co-worker for bringing this back from Fargo

App- Standard gold lager colon with some dark colors throughout. A small 1/2" white head. No cling.

Smell- Not sure why, smells like my daughters finger paints, grass and dough.

Taste- It's a standard lager. Not very tasty. Retains the dough flavors and like description says the creaminess. It's crisp, just not very good.

Mouth- Light bodied and med/high carbonation. Residual grass and biscuit.

Drink- eh, only for the state tick. Never again. (564 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now bottled and labeled Northern Lager.

Clear pale golden color with one finger of head that quickly settled to a film. Light lacing is left on the glass. Aroma consists of dry, cracker malt and some grassy hops. Very low bitterness which is not really surprising. The malt is dry and gives some decent flavor for a light lager. Just a little grassiness from the hops. Light bodied with lower carbonation than what is typically found in this style. Not as prickly and easier to drink. A nice beer but at this price I would prefer one of their other offerings. (561 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
2.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I never saw this coming, a chain brewpub featuring a light lager! Can you believe that?!?!? (end sarcasm) Clear gold color with a failry sizable head. Smell is clean, slightly malty, grassy in a way. Taste is very bland, good for the stomach ulcer crowd, maybe a little more flavorfull than BMC, but maybe not. Very well carbonated, and drinkable enough. Granite City sure let me down... (387 characters)

Photo of hardy008
2.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pale yellow with a bright whiote head, with poor retention and spotty lacing. Smells and tastes like light hops and malt. So light that I can't describe either any better than to call them light.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Not offensive, but not a lot to like either. I will pass on this in the future. (335 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
3.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Granite City last night. Review from phone notes.

A- Poured a very light watery yellow. It looked like a basic BMC color. Came to me with a 2 finger white head that dies down to nothing leaving lacing that slides down the side of the glass into the beer.

S- Sickly sweet malts to this all over the aroma. There are some grassy earthy tones to it but those come and go with a grainy sweetness. No real alcohol is present in the nose. Aroma comes through very heavy unlike BMC which is why I knocked up half a point.

T- Big sweet malts in the upfront. Light skunked quality to this. The grassy notes in the nose come through and clash with the sweet malts throughout the beer. Light alcohol taste in the tail end of this beer. Flavir was kind of watery on everything too.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. I was glad to see this wasn't huge in carbonation and just enough. Sweet malts were left on the palate after the sip with light grassy notes in the aftertaste. Kind of a watery feel to this beer. Crisp and mostly clean tasting as well.

D- This was a drinkable beer. I think it drinks more like a german pilsner than a light lager but hey I'm not the one who makes up the signs at the brewpub. Nothing great but it's a good starter beer for the night or an inbetween beer to help cleanse the palate. (1,355 characters)

Photo of Oxymoron
1.91/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Granite City is a brewpub in a variety of different locations. I went to the Sioux Falls to sample their stuff.

The Northern Light Lager is an American Lager for the Bud drinkers out there. Very similar to most light macros, Northern Light has a lemony yellow appearance with limited head retention and lace to it. The beer was slightly cloudy as well. The smell was malty but nothing great.

The taste is all malt and corn and the strongest flavor of the beer. There is a bite to it from the hops that gives it a sweet and sour flavor to it. Much sweeter then you would see from a macro light lager. There really was no body to the beer and was lightly carbonated. I guess this was the beer to try if you like macros. Then why not just order a Bud Light? (760 characters)

Photo of beernut7
3.44/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This light ale has a prominent buttery sweet aroma and flavor with almost no bitter quality and a bit of a watery body. Not a bad go at the becoming-more-popular-every-day micro-brewed light beer. (197 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
2.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served as part of the eight beer sampler at Granite City in St. Louis Park. Color was light yellow and no foam by the time it arrived. No lacing. Not sure if there was a smell, it was light and mostly grainy if it was anything. Taste was crisp. Mild grain. Clean. Smooth. Perhaps a step above a BMC adjunct. Drinkable enough. Light mouthfeel and clean finish. Okay and average in all regards. It's advertised as their 'mildest' offering and that's exactly right. (462 characters)

Photo of BeerWithMike
4/5  rDev +41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling right now on 6/26/14. (yeah, I know this is the 3rd one this evening but oh well. Sometimes go several days without doing a review or there ya go!) :) Bottle chilled own to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a pretty golden honey in color with about a half-finger of a white head. Some spotty lacing is seen that sticks to the glass. The aroma is of wheat with a touch of honey. The taste is even more flavorful with more of a honey taste. Crisp and smooth actually with a slight tangy finish. No bitter aftertaste. This is a good brew. (579 characters)

Photo of bluemoonswoon
2.45/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear corn yellow with a little to no head that bubbles down to nothing in less than a minute. Tastes a bit watery and has hints of adjuct corn and rice, finishes very clean with little to no traces of what came before it. Was cool to try a growler for the first time though. (283 characters)

Photo of Mistofminn
2.85/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My girlfriend ordered this at Granite City in Roseville before a movie at the AMC. The beers are served in giant pint glasses, probably around 20 oz's and she couldn't finish hers so rather than waste money I finished it.

Comes in a giant pint glass, clear and straw yellow in color, lighter than even I expected. A soft carbonation fuels a small white cap that initially fades quickly from a one finger pillow to a small ring. Lacing is spotty at best.

The nose is light, with light adjuncts and a sweet malt base. Very very light, even when compared to other light lagers. I might detect a bit of corn, not entirely sure. It really reminds me of a light Grain Belt.

Taste is like the nose, light adjuncts and sweet malts, but this time I get the faintest bitter hops. Again, corn comes to mind.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp, clean and sort of boring. A remarkably low carbonation actually makes this slightly better.

Drinkability is ok. I can see kicking back a few of these during a ball game with some friends fairly easily. They would even enjoy it. (1,066 characters)

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.79/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I saw the Light with a shaker pint.

Appearance- I only get a measly white film from an aggressive pour. The body is a transparent and pale golden-yellow. Just an explosion of carbonation is at work in the body.

Smell- There is a nice biscuit malt coming through the sparkling drink. I also enjoy the floral and slightly estery hop profile, although rather soft. This is a clean and honey - sweet nose.

Taste- The front of the drink promises a malty adventure. The biscuit malt pairs nicely with the honey that shows at the front of the palate. Then the drink gives up that estery hop noted on the nose.

The lager finishes with almost no bitterness and more of the sweet malt. There is also a slightly grassy character.

As the drink warms, it gives off more a cereal and wheat adjunct finish that is not nearly as pleasant.

Mouth feel- The carbonation is overdone and contributes to more fizz than is needed. The body is light to medium. Obviously, the fizziness is not appreciated.

Overall- This lager was pretty decent. Letting this one warm is a bad idea as it gets to be more and more like an adjunct. What keeps this one aloft is the really nice honey malt and slight hop touch.

If it finished smoother, I think this one could garner some more positive attention than what has been seen so far. (1,308 characters)

Photo of GeoffRizzo
2.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear, yellow with very little head or carbonation. A light, somewhat sweet taste, difficult to pick out any hops on this one. Watered down, but then again there is "light" in the name. Probably some marketing to get some crossover macro drinkers. Slightly above average. (284 characters)

Photo of Snow81
3.05/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear golden yellow

Head: Frosty white head that dissipates quickly

Smell: Grass on the nose with subtle sweet malt

Taste: Very sweet malts right up front with caramel and then grassiness on the back

Weight: Medium body with a low carbonation

Finish: Little sweet caramel malts (302 characters)

Photo of BigRedN
2.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Fourth and final beer that was avaible at the Lincoln, NE location. Our waitress informed us that they would not be doing seasonals until next spring or summer due to limited capacity.

Appearance: Golden, bubbly, little to no head, no lacing. A macro in a pint glass.

Smell: First whiff - nothing. Second attempt - nothing. Stick my nose practically right in the beer - ah, slightly hoppy (or did I just get foam in my nose?).

Taste: Slightly better than a Bud Light (Does Bud Light have taste?). I can see where this would appeal to the the macro drinker.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light bodied, lightly carbonated. Little to draw one in.

Drinkability: High points as this was the purpose of the beer. I can understand why they would brew this. They get one to have this and the BMC drinker likes it, and hopefully will try one of the other beers. My Bud Light drinking friend did have one, and then ordered another Bud Light bottle. Idiot. (950 characters)

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Northern Light Lager from Granite City Food & Brewery
70 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.