Lakefront Brewery: Riverwest Stein Beer

by: BeerAdvocate on 04-04-2007
Bored yet? We hope not! It’s only week 4 of our exploration of Lakefront Brewery’s variety eight-pack from Milwaukee, WI, and we’ve got plenty more brews to go. This week, we’re reviewing one of their lagers: Riverwest Stein Beer, which is an all-malt amber lager (it has no adjuncts, such as rice or corn) brewed with caramel malt and roasted un-malted barley, and hopped with Willamette and Cascade. Riverwest is a local neighborhood in Milwaukee; the “stein” part of the title refers to the type of glass they’d like you to consume the beer out of—a wish we’ll gladly oblige.

Lakefront Brewery Riverwest Stein BeerDid we mention that we love lagers? It’s a category of beer that’s perhaps not as diverse as ales—nor is it as thoroughly explored by beer lovers—but we believe that a well-built lager can kick an ale’s ass any day. For those of you not in the know, ales employ top-fermenting yeast at higher temperatures (yielding fruitier results), whereas lagers are bottom-fermented under cooler temperatures (cleaner results) and matured at even cooler temperatures for longer periods of time—lagern means “to store” in German.

The Taste
This beer pours a rich amber, with a touch of haze; its eggshell-colored head drops to a respectable lacing that sticks to the glass. Hearty malt aroma, with bread crusts, a touch of caramel and wood, and soft floral hops tucked within a slightly lagery sulfur character. Smooth on the palate, with a creamy carbonation that tickles the tongue from behind with a crisp edge. Malts are quite bready and toasty, with a thin caramel sweetness beneath and a nutty malt finish. Spicy, herbal and citric hop flavors liven things up, provide balance and pique interest. Faint sourness, with some gritty roasty notes emerging as the beer warms. Finish is mild, not overly drying at all, but dry enough, with a residual grist feel.

Final Thoughts
A very solid offering from Lakefront and one hell of a tasty all-malt amber lager. With balance in all the right places and weighing in at 5.68 percent alcohol by volume, this brew is highly quaffable. Our only major complaint is that Riverwest, being a “stein beer,” encourages you to drink it from a stein—but the bottle is a mere 12 ounces. We want more beer! Pair it with roasted chicken basted with Riverwest, accompanied by roasted potatoes with buttered green beans; or pour two bottles into a stein, and knock it back with a warm pretzel and spicy beer mustard. Prost!

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