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Island Lager - Granville Island Brewery

Not Rated.
Island LagerIsland Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

38 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 38
Hads: 95
Avg: 3.29
pDev: 13.07%
Wants: 2
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Granville Island Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: 49degrees on 01-04-2003

Island Lager is brewed to our original recipe, which combines all-natural ingredients to produce its distinct hop flavour. The same clean, refreshing taste that put us on the map in ’84 still makes this one a local favourite.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 95
Photo of Sammy
2.46/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A quaffable lager, better than a national brand. Not much to look at, pale to amber, or smell, tasted better than I thought. Malt and a creamy grainy mouthfeel. bitter aftertaste, modest hops. Thanks Mark for bringing back fresh produce in a cool canvas sampler pack.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.35/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

20oz pint at Original Joe's Edmonton Oliver location.

This beer appears a clear medium golden amber colour, with one finger of weakly foamy, and soapy dirty white head, which leaves random broken Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it hastily recedes.

It smells of crackery, stale bready, grainy pale malt, corn, a touch of sourdough, a faint, underwhelming dry stone fruitiness, and very mild grassy, weedy hops. The taste is more of the same - a blend of blandly sweet pale grain and corn mash, rather overripe lemon, a hint of dry honey, and understated leafy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is a bit high and airy at first, but settles down to a dull hum soon enough, the body a surprising medium weight for the style, and just a tad prickly in its otherwise sycophantic smoothness. It finishes off-dry, kind of crisp, with some waning pale malt notes, and a softly neutered earthy hop essence.

A rather so-so, um, 'craft' lager - well and above yer standard macro swill, yet still fairly middling overall, nothing exactly capable of standing up, as if to say "Pick me! Pick Me! I'm so very worthy!".

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Photo of woodychandler
3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

"What CAN he be drinking?" you may ask. The answer is the last of some cans that I brought back last summer and had in my refrigerator.

The pour produced about a finger-and-a-half's worth of solid, foamy, white head with good retention. The color was a slightly hazy lemon yellow. The nose was slightly sweet and grainy. The mouthfeel was on the thin side and as for "this lager's distinct hop flavour", I was hard pressed to experience it. Instead, it had a slightly sweet taste but overall, it was kind of bland, even for a lager. I would not go out of my way to search this out, but it's not a drain pour, either.

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Photo of biegaman
3.94/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Under-ripe banana peel with an almost pastel tone when held up to the light. The beer is spotlessly clear although it does contain a blurring haze. I'm not sure if Granville filters Island Lager, if not then fine, but if so, then I'd expect something a little brighter. I like the look, but it desperately needs some white patches to cover its bare, flat surface.

For a beer aimed at being "a classic Bavarian-style lager", it's a good thing the aroma has an ample dosing of hops. It isn't anything fruity or spicy, but like examples from (arguably) the world's best lager producing nation, there's a definite distinction of raw, light pungency. I don't expect nor demand a high hop profile from a pale lager, but I sure as hell am happy when I get one!

The other notable character in the smell was that of crisp, lightly toasted wafers. Sometimes bready, always very biscuity and almost cookie-dough like at times, it smells pleasant but is far nicer even in taste. Good, clean, crisp malt is certainly the beer's domineering presence and makes for a fairly exceptional flavour as far as lagers of this style go.

The brewery appears to follow traditional methods of production, which not only involves a generous inclusion of hops but also the ever important procedure of actually lagering the beer - for a full six weeks! To save on both time and money, most macro breweries will cut corners with this step by either using lesser ingredients (read: adjuncts) or simply rushing the production altogether.

This beer's drinkability is a direct reflection of quality in the craftsmanship. There is no skunking, there is no taste of corn, there is no diacetyl, there is no indication of adjuncts and correspondingly there is no cottonmouth, there is no dry or stale aftertaste, there is nothing to evoke any sense of displeasure because all that can be tasted is hops and malt. Rightfully so.

If Granville Island set out to produce a classic Bavarian-style lager as they claim, then hats off to them because they've succeeded. I'm rarely this content with beers of this style. If only the world's pale, fizzy lager drinkers could know what "smooth" and "easy drinking" actually mean... and if only I could live a little closer to Vancouver Island!

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Photo of tone77
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to woodychandler for the trade.Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of grains and malts. Taste is of malts, some grains and a hint of hops. Good but not overly flavorful. Feels light in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a decent beer.

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Photo of beertunes
3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clear, clean yellow with just an inch of fluffy white head that had some retention and left lightly moderate lacing.

The aroma was that of a typical light lager, slightly sweet and grassy. The flavor was likewise sweet and grassy, on the bland side for the style, but not bad at all.

The body was as expected for a light lager, light and smooth. Drinkability was good, as it should be for type of brew. You could drink these all day without burning out your tongue.

Overall, a solid and respectable example of the style. This would be a good gateway beer to start your macro drinking friends and family on, in the first step into the craft beer world. Worth trying if you see it, probably not worth effort to obtain.

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Photo of Derek
4.07/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap and was pleasantly surprised.

A: I thought they might have brought me a pale by mistake, cause this one is a copper-amber colour, offwhite head, thin ring of retention, a little lace.

S: Nice lager-like aroma, floral, slightly bready, hints of sulfur.

T: Reminds me of a munich helles, with a light toffee sweetness, pleasantly floral (hallertau?), bready, modest bitterness, hints of mineral.

M: Smooth light to moderate body.

D: Very drinkable.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.55/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

431ml bottle poured into 400ml dab glass nov4 2009

A clear golden yellow with a fast falling two finger head that left no lace

S mild hops with a little honey

T as it smells with a little bread, nothing great but nothing to be ashamed of

M clean and crisp, not as watery as most lagers

D this is a decent lager with no real flaws

on par for the style, but I hope the other beers in my mixer pack are a little more exciting

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Photo of Viggo
3.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden, small white head forms and goes quick, leaving a light lace ring and some spots. Smell is very malty, honey, grass, citrus and floral hops, with some vanilla. Taste is malty as well, with vanilla and citrus. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with low carbonation. Very smooth lager, really pretty good. The Granville yeast always seems to leave a pleasant vanilla note.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a historic beer in BC craftbeer history. It was one of the first micros in bottles and really helped introduce people to a better beer than Molsons/ Labatts.

That being said this is really a simple step up from the macros. Pale yellow with little nose this beer tastes ok on a patio. What it doesn't do is challenge or reward the tastebuds with anything more than a simple lager. I recognize the importance of this beer but really I have moved on in taste and quality.

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Photo of BigBry
3.3/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of four selections in the Granville Winter Mingler 12 pack.
Light gold color, 1/2 inch of white foam, quickly dissipates. Basic lager smell with a little extra malt and grain. Taste has a bit of sweetness and slight bitterness near the end - a good balance. Fairly light body, refreshing, easy to drink. Nothing spectacular, a good transition beer up from Molson/Labatts.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.18/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light gold color, small head. Light bodied lager, mild malts and hops. Nice balance of malts and hops. Nice flavor sort of mild, not to hoppy. Clean and refreshing. Mouthfeel is smooth and round. Smooth taste. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

To dispel the myth, Granville Island beers are most certainly found outside of B.C., or at least across the eastern border of the Rocky Mountains and into Alberta. And cheers to that, the Island Lager was much more than I was expecting. It pours out a pale clear golden hue, not much carbonation, not much of a lasting head. The aroma is of a rich, sweet caramel malt with very faint floral hops--reminiscent of some Eastern European pilsners that I have sampled. Flavour of rich malt, a bit of caramel, some citrus, flowery hops, a bit grainy on the aftertaste. If only this was the average mean of all lagers, I'd be a bigger fan of the style. Full mouthfeel, yet it goes down more like an ale than a lager. One of the better brews from Granville Island that I've sampled.

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Photo of chickenm
3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pale golden color with a thin white head. There is an aroma of malt, grains, and light hoppiness. Clean but bland taste with a slightly bitter finish. Fairly thin body, with light carbonation. Not bad but kind of boring, this is a pretty average lager.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.2/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a clear straw. Head/lacing appears to be quite good. Slightly sweet, with clean notes of grain and mild hops. No notable off flavours, but not particularly flavourful. Light bodied with hard-ish carbonation. Overall, a solid brew suitable for mass consumption. Well crafted, but not particularly exciting.

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Photo of mikeg67
3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewery. Pours golden hue with white head and lively carbonation. Aroma is of yeast, pale malt and hops. Body is light and smooth. Taste is of bready malt and light hops. Finish is long and slightly bitter. Nice session brew if you want something light.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.23/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Single bottle sampled at a neighborhood pub. Fairly pale straw color with a quick-breaking soapy white head. Aroma of apples, grape candy, doughy pale malts and some floral hops. Rather standard fare much like what one encounters with most or all adjunct lagers, perhaps a hair more assertive. Ditto on the palate. More sweet white bread malts, apple pomace, a citric note vaguely reminiscent of lemons, perhaps less sweet than many mainstream lagers with a more pronounced malt flavor. The dryish finish is probably this brew's greatest asset, I am actually getting some gooseberry-like hop notes. All in all, decidedly "meh" and inoffensive. Sort of a textbook example of the pseudo-style "American premium lager". Perhaps one could gently suggest that a pub mate who insists on getting the least interesting lager in the joint every time you go out broaden his horizons, with this as a tentative foray into the scary world of "different".

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Photo of LampertLand
3.84/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Granville Is. 'Island Lager' @ 5.0% , served from x3 341 ml bottles from the Summer Mingler
A-pour is a light gold from the bottle to clear gold in the glass with a small thin white head leaving a streaky lace along the pint
S-pale malts
T-crisp & clean tasting lager
MF-ok carbonation , medium body
Ov-ok beer
prost LampertLand

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Photo of elricorico
3.03/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale gold with some visible carbonation. Had a finger of white fizzy head, but that faded away rather quickly.

The smell has a sort of sticky sweetness, that seems grassy or plant like. Very simple smelling, just that one dimension to it.

The taste is sweet, not so grassy but more of a honey like sweetness, though not strongly so. The taste is pleasant, unfortunately there is only one flavour. No real hop effect to balance it out, it takes on a simple, almost juice like quality.

The mouthfeel is fine as far as lagers go. It isn't so thin that it is watery and the carbonation is not uncomfortable, so it avoids some of the common pitfalls.

A very average beer, nothing too exciting here, but refreshing enough if you are quite thirsty.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.42/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Light golden color, well carbonated, light white head, which dissipates quickly.

S - Honey, caramel, and a bit of citrus.

T - Same as above.

M - Excellent balance. Very smooth, but a little bit drying.

D - Most of the reviewers expect too much from a lager. It's just a simple aged beer, but this one exceeded my expectations. Not a lager fan either.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.23/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden color with a small white creamy head. Small amounts of carbonation seen rising. Decent lacing.

Light aroma---light hops, slight sweetness, grainy and light malts.

Taste of light hops, malts, sweet [not sickly] and yeasty.

Lightly cleansing mouthfeel. Smooth.

Overall, though not my favorite style, this was good. Quite drinkable. Good for the style.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.43/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Poured with a finger of head that produced a marginal amount of lace. The body is and expected Lager gold that boasts fairly steady carbonation. Nothing remarkable, but nothing wrong.

Smell: A sweet corn smell with a touch of earthy hops. There's almost this odd fish oil smell in the background, but it's is incredibly subdued. Warming doesn't help it either way on this one.

Taste: Starts with a sweet bread malt and a touch of oily texture that reigns in the start of the beer, but gives it an odd texture. The sweetness builds up as a sweet corn taste takes over and then hits a fairly inert, mild hop wall with a calm thud.

Mouthfeel: The aftertaste is a mixture of sweet bread malt and corn which doesn't linger very long. The carbonation is ok and tends to help the crescendo more then anything. Transitioning isn't bad either. That oily texture is still a little odd.

Drinkability: Very refreshing although it medium bodied and a bit heavier then I'd expect. There is a smoothness to the beer that makes it very easy to drink. It sits down well and is easily something you could drink all night.

Final Thoughts: All in all, just a well done Lager, and certainly something that is a welcome change to adjuct lager, and a lot better then their pale ale. Give it a shot, but don't expect something epic.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A decent session lager, this is what I would consider to be a stepping stone for swill drinkers who want to get into craft beer. Pours a pale fizzy yellow with one finger of head that dissipates, but leaves good lacing on the glass. Smells of sweet grains, barley and a bit of hops. Tastes like it smells, with a bit of honey. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. I can see this being a great session lager during the hot summer months. Which is odd, considering it came in a winter mix pack.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

355ml can poured in a pint glass.

Pale, straw yellow and slightly cloudy. Head is white and a full inch high and very foamy before settling to a thin skim that stays until the bottom.

Smells like your standard Lager only slightly more grainy and malty.

Mild taste and very smooth. At the swallow it's briefly sweet and lightly malty, then a brief hops appearance is followed by a very mild bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and even and nicely carbonated.

This is similar to the majority of macro lagers out there. It is quite smooth and unoffensive, however, it isn't anything special. A better option than most macros for those thirst quenching sessions.

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Photo of mickeymac
2.68/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sat down for one of these at the Brewery on Granville Island. I must say from start to finish, it reminded me of a slightly better Budweiser. Clean and crisp but rather nondescript and boring. Only a slightly higher dose of hops distinguished it from the macro stuff. If at GI, skip the lager and try the other brews.

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Island Lager from Granville Island Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.