American Darling
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

American DarlingAmerican Darling
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German Pilsner
3.93 | pDev: 10.69%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
American DarlingAmerican Darling
Notes: Our 2015 American Darling is decoction brewed, unfiltered German style lager.

If you’re looking for a reason to try Pretty Things this summer, we hope a well-stated 5.5% pale lager might be a good bet. This beer bears our usual stamp of authenticity-at-the-expense-of-convenience, so here is a decoction lager brewed with German malt and hops, and fermented at cool temperatures with German lager yeast for over 6 weeks.

This time we were looking to make the un-lawnmower beer (with an emphasis on the “UN”). Just how do we go about doing that? Well, we start with some of the world’s greatest pilsner malt from Weyermann in Bamberg, Germany. There’s no rice and corn in our darling either – just the best barley malted for this purpose in the world. What else? We use a decoction brewing method: this comes from old German brewhouses, where temperature control was not possible, so a portion of the mash is removed, brought to boiling temperature and then re-mixed with the rest of the mash. This is a whole lot of work, but we think it’s worth it because it gives a whole lot of authentic Germanic flavour! All of the hops used in American Darling come from the Hallertau hop region of Germany. Finally, fermentation uses a blend of two of Europe’s great lager yeasts, with low temperature fermentation and lagering, over six weeks.

Put it in your coolers, your picnic baskets… your saddlebags. Take it to family reunions and pie-eating contests, parades, beaches, fancy mustache conventions, hot dog factory tours, monorail excursions, secret basement lairs… wherever good summertime fun happens!

Then fire up the grill, not just once – how about every day?! Get out the horse shoes, kick up your feet and forget that oily red jalopy out back even has a purpose. Stop mowing, start having fun times! Cheers to summer!

45 IBU
View: Beers
Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 303 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MattyIce21:
Photo of MattyIce21
4/5  rDev +1.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Reagan1984
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always enjoy trying Pretty Things interpretations of different styles & I always find it interesting when craft beer makers take a stab at the American classic light lager.

Bottle from Batch #3 bottled in August 2010.

A finger of white head forms atop this straw colored beer. There is the slightest haze to the beer, but by no means is it cloudy.. A touch of carbonation is visible and there is some light lacing.

Aroma is grassy with plenty of pale malt present. There is also a layer of fresh floral hops.. with a touch of spice.

Decent little beer for what it's trying to be. Bottom line is that it's spot on for the style with a touch of class. Decent balance between the light cracker malt tones and the grassy/lemon citrus notes. A slightly herbaceous but not overwhelming.

Light and lively in your mouth with bright carbonation that allows the hop bitterness to pop.

A very enjoyable beer. Not a great deal of complexity, but there really isn't supposed to be.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to masterhomebrewer for this awesome bottle!

Bottled June 2010. "Batch 2"

22oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. Pours an uber-dark yellow/gold. Great transparency. Lots of visible bubbles rising through. An enormous bone-white head caps it off. Great retention. This head stays thick and lustrous for the entirety of the drink. Scents of honey-kissed breads, sourdough, and lemon. Not a whole lot going on in the nose.

Great crisp and clean body. Lots of carbonation play on the tongue. The alcohol sort of mellows out the mouth a bit. Gives it a creamy finish. Great crisp taste right away. Grassy notes noted. Hops make themselves known a bit, but hold back from showing true colors. The alcohol comes forward a smidge in the flavor, which I guess is expected for the ABV level mixed with this style. Can't hide much here. Refreshing.

I would have liked this with a little lower ABV I think, but all in all, this is a great beer, and great representation of the style. One of the best!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale yellow with some good bubbles and a decent head. No real lace.

Pale malt, grain, some leafy bitterness in the nose, and a little whaft of alcohol. It works.

Light malt with grain husk and hop bitterness. Good transition to bitterness. Grain is clean and well defined. A touch of alcohol to clean the palate. Finishes light bitter. Good brew.

Medium-light bodied. Good bubbles.

Love this is being pitched as lawnmower beer. It is a true summer quencher with some character. Another good one from these guys.

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Photo of clegolfski
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Photo of ms11781
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of muttyd
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pale yellow/straw body with a fizzy fluffy white head. Crystal clear.

S - Slightly hoppy, grainy malts. No diacetyl. Smells delicious.

T - Grainy malts mixed with grassy/citrus hops.

M - Fizzy, thin body. Clean finish.

D - Attention, Pretty Things! Bottle this beer (at the very least) in 6 packs! Love this beer as a crisp summer time refreshment.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of trevorpost
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of waiting4lunch
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dpodratsky3
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into pint glass

A: A clear, pale, light golden with active carbonation. Fast receding white head that is light and airy. Leaves little if any lacing.

S: Very mild lager smell, a faint sweetness, perhaps lemon-grass, overall pleasantly mild.

T: Again a pretty normal lager taste, but with a nice hop balance, actually fairly flavorful because of the hop bite. Slightly grassy and sweet as well.

M: A dryness that coasts your mouth and fairly thin bodied also.

D: Very flavorful and too much so to be highly drinkable, but in a good way.

Notes: A nice pale lager for sure. As others have said one of the better American lagers and a nice alternative to import lagers. Has a personality independent from just a basic lager.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to G311 for sending this bottle out this way just because he's such a nice guy and knew I wanted it. Served in a wine glass.

Pours a mostly-clear straw color with a good white head that is quite large. It's fizzy and goes down quickly, leaving some spotty lacing. The nose brings a moderate amount of malt with some bread, grain, and straw. Behind that are some herbal and floral hops. The flavor takes through a light amount of grainy sweetness along with some moderate bitterness, with floral hops coming through in the finish. Good carbonation on a light body with a dry and somewhat bitter finish. Pretty good beer. Huge thanks, Vince!

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

@ the Indie, Somerville MA.

Menu described Pretty Things American Darling as "a good time hoppy lager." I want that.

Bright, pristinely clear gold color. 1 finger white head that settles into a thin chapeau and leaves one big lacey necklace at the top of my glass. Great beer name by the way.

Smell is a little bit sweet malt, a little bit lager yeast, and a whole lotta Hallertau. If you go on the Sam Adams brewery tour they give you a handful of dried hops to smoosh up and stick your nose into, just like Jim Koch in the commercials--that's what this beer smells like. Hallertau heaven.

The thick yet luxuriously smooth mouthfeel was what caught my pallette first. For a brewery with "ale project" in the name, they sure do know their lagers. Sweet malt initially settles on the tongue then gets run over by a whole lot of back end hops and some booze. I would have liked more discretion from the booze although I it did warm me up and I to it by mid pint.

Makes me think if the brewer pondered this question: "what would a summer maibock taste like?" 'Cause that's the impression American Darling gave me.

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Photo of admiralcrunch
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into big pilsner glass

A) A brilliant, shimmering pale yellow. This has the quintessential "fizzy yellow beer" look. I had a good feeling about this one.

S) Aroma was pleasantly hoppy and a touch grainy. Not a hop bomb by any means.

T) The best part about this beer. I'm reviewing from notes as I had this 2 hours ago but I swear I can still taste it.

M) Very refreshing, crisp carbonation. Just a touch of maltiness detectable.

D) If it didn't say 7% on the bottle, I'd assume it was closer to 5.

I wish it came in 6 packs, and I could drink this all day. This could be a kegerator staple (if I had the option), and extremely approachable for craft noobs.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled July 2009, first batch (I got this on sale. Hooray!)

Pours a very pale gold with plenty of carbonation. One might think it was a macro if not for the lovely pillowy white head. Good retention and downright messy lacing. Smell is of white bread malt and slightly spicy floral hops with a touch of honey. Taste is quite balanced. A white bread malt sweetness is equaled out with a nice bite from the hops. Plenty of herbal and floral hop flavor, with a bit of spice. With 7% ABV some of the alcohol works its way into the flavor. This beer was bottled in July of 2009, but it seems to have held up very well. Body is light to medium and the finish is perfect, not too dry and not too sweet. I have to say, if I was to throw a few of these back while mowing the lawn, I may end up with a few less toes. I will be on the lookout for a fresh example of this beer come summertime.

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Photo of KGarrett
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Photo of robwestcott
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

labeled june 2010 / batch 2

poured form the bottle a light golden honey to a dogfish head signature glass with an off white super foamy, big bubbled head that lasted only a minute or two and left a fair amount of retention.

aroma of citrus, and lemon zest. i'm not picking up the grassy hops other BAs have noted.

very light and smooth, sweet malty citrus forward, followed by just a hint of bitter as it reaches the back of the tongue.

light, creamy, fairly low carbonation.

very drinkable, the 7% abv is well hidden.

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Photo of erlenmeyer
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of EskimoDave
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of jbertsch
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear light gold. Lots of bubbling with a big, sudsy white head.

Overall it smells like fresh cut hay. Clean and subdued with the hop/malt balance leaning towards hops.

Malt taste is there but quickly gives way to a more earthy hop flavor. Finishes long and pleasantly bitter. Notes of citrus are here without being a citrusy brew.

Medium body, and actually quite smooth given the amount of bubbles I see. Bolder than most lighter lagers.

VERY drinkable for a 7% brew. This is one summer brew that doesn't let me down...and most do. I was worried as it looked like a becks or st. pauli girl...but the taste is far better.

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Photo of splendidsplinter
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from Cuzco in the Blind Beer BIF #3. Thanks, Nate for sending a want.

Poured into a New Belgian glass.

Pours a slightly golden color with two fingers of stark white head. Head has a good mix of medium and small bubbles. Head drops over time to about a quarter inch, with nice lacing.

Aromas of a big malty brew. Sweet malt and grainy, with hard candy notes. Noble hops, earthy and grassy.

First sip is of sweet malt, and a firm bitterness, that balances the sweetness very nicely. Has a very "european lager" quality. More body than a pils. Drinks like eastern european lager.

Mouthfeel is thin, but not watery. Long finish that reminds me of Saaz hops.

Very drinkable beer. A little big for a lawnmover beer, unless you've cleared the rest of your afternoon for a nap. But still very nice.

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Photo of CHickman
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear golden yellow color with a creamy 1 finger head that faded slowly and left excellent foamy lacing with rings as it went down; a good looking beer.

Smells of sweet malt, toasted grains, herbs, light lemon and citrus hops; almost smells like a jacked up macro, but the floral notes separate the nose from the mass production odor.

Tastes of sweet malt, grains, biscuit or a dry cracker, caramel, floral hops, lemon, light brown sugar, grass, herbs, faint yeast and a little honey; most certainly not a macro flavor, this is tasty and easy to drink - plus you can't detect the alcohol at all!

Mouthfeel is very light and crisp, with a light body, high carbonation and a dry zesty finish. A definite session beer, this was a fantastic lager with a lot of flavor to go along with the light feel. This is what is session beer should be like, and again I will mention that this great taste completely hides the ABV. Go get one!

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into an Allagash tulip glass. Batch Two, bottled June 2010.

Appearance: Golden yellow and clear in color. Two finger, white, fizzy head with not much retention.

Aroma: Herbal and mineral notes all over. Some grassy notes and some bittering hops in good balance.

Taste: Sweet caramel and butterscotch notes upfront. Some mineral and grass notes in the middle and big bittering hops at the end. Very tasty and balanced.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. Great for this type of lager. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: The ABV is really well hidden. It feels like a 4-5% beer in my opinion. Really crisp and drinkable.

Overall, a really nice and drinkable lager. Perfect type of beer for a hot summer day. Lots of flavor and balance and the sweet notes only get more prominent as the beer warms. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Florida9
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 3 (August 2010)

A: Clear yellow gold in color. Forms a big white head that leaves little lacing. Visible carbonation.

S: Grains. Corn. Some earthy hops, almost pilsner-like.

T: Slightly sweet bit of pale malt and grain. Mild to moderate bitterness. Finishes with a distinct corniness.

M: On the lighter side with heavy carbonation. Lingers in the mouth.

D: Good. A light, refreshing, easy drinking beer. Not sure it is worth the trouble trying to track this one down, but overall a beer worth trying.

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American Darling from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 303 ratings