Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Elm City Lager | New England Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
164 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Elm City LagerElm City Lager

Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States

Style: German Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Named after New Havens historic nickname, this is a true German Pilsner made with all German ingredients.

Added by UnionMade on 03-31-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 164 | Ratings: 392
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.66/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean pale yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, a small sweet standard lager smell. In the taste, a small sweet lager standard-ness and a bit perfume like. A smooth and light to medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry perfume like aftertaste. An OK lager but quite perfume like.

 297 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Number1bum for a can of this one as an extra. Something I doubt I would ever purchase but sure would like to try!

A-Lightly hazed golden yellow with a HUGE, puffy, bright white head that settled down to a thin cap and left nice clumpy lace.

S-Crisp and clean aroma, with subtle cereal grains and a tickle of lemon zest.

T-Sharp and crisp, light, grainy biscuit malt with a splash of fresh cut hay and lemon zest zing in the finish.

M-Medium-light bodied, sharp and crisp with a light twang in the back. Lingering flavours are light and fleeting as I would expect in a German lager.

D-I am liking this the more I drink. A quality, solid and refreshing brew that is the go to local alternative to any BMC mass produced swill offering. Support your Local and drink well! Nice job NEBC.

 797 characters

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into shaker

This German style beer is a clear yellow with a very fizzy white head. Head retention was decent and lacing was good. Smell was a bit musty to wet grain but the yeast smelled good.
This isn't a style of beer that I frequent but I actually really enjoyed the taste. There was a prominent biscuity malt and distinct yeast. The highlight of the taste in my opinion was there was a very nice kind of nuttiness to it. I am not sure what kind but it was there and very tasty. The hops were faded in the back but that didn't take away from the beer at all. The mouthfeel was medium to light and a bit sticky. I could definitely drink more than a few of these. A very good beer!

 700 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a Duvel tulip.

WOW - head much? This came from the fridge (been chilling for at least a few days) and it exploded with a huge head! I may have poured a bit too aggressively, but it has a very nice huge white head, a slightly hazy yellow color. Nose is a bit yeasty, it's got a light noble hop nose as well - true to style.

Across the board this is a slightly above average beer. It's got a nice hoppiness to it that again is true to style which makes it both crisp and refreshing. It's hardly bitter but the hop bite is nice. There is a malt presence here but it kind of takes a backseat to the hops. The yeast comes through a bit too strong for me, that's my main criticism of this. It almost has a bit a a belgian taste from the yeast, some fruity esters. Still a nice refreshing lager.

 811 characters

Photo of lehows
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can a crisp and perfectly carbonated yellow color. Aromas were muted but pleasant wet grains and a touch of alcohol. This is a really great German style Pilsener with decent hop showing and that crisp malt bite. Highly recommend if youre in the mood for something refreshing or looking for a session beer. Too bad its not an option on Long Island.

 361 characters

Photo of BranfordBound
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler from NEBCo today, served in a pint.

Pours a very transparent and clear golden color with a one finger head. Not much in the lacing department but pretty nice carbonation.

Smells of light and sweet malts with a slightly detectable hop aroma. Hops a little more apparent than malts. Some apples in there as well.

The taste immediately invokes memories of Sierra Nevada's Summerfest Lager. Light and sweet malt at first, which gets overtaken by the slightly less prominent hop characteristic. Hops come out more when warm.

Mouthfeel is pretty neutral, the beer is fairly soft, as well as the carbonation.

Drinkability is just like SN Summerfest, drink it cold on a hot day and you won't regret it, tends to get a little boring if these two factors aren't together, though.

 794 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
4.69/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this into a pint glass. The pours is light see through yellow with a bit of a cloudy body. About two fingers of a creamy, fluffy white head sit atop and retain nicely. This looks amazing! The smell is of grain, wheat, oats and other earthy aromas. Subtle spiciness and lemon zest finish this strong. The flavor is grainy and full of pilsner malts with a touch of bitterness at the finish. This one is really rocking my socks! Nice and light with great flavors give this a nice mouthfeel and outstanding drinkability. This is just what I wanted tonight. Bravo!

 566 characters

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear straw yellow with a white fluffy head that dissipates at an average rate, ensuring decent lacing.

Aromas of pils malts, light floral and grassy hops, and a touch of lemon zest. A very subtle hint of spice lingers in the background.

Light bready malts, floral and grass hops with a pilsner dryness that are balanced extremely well. The lingering skunk isn't overpowering, but is played just right.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily, thin to medium, with tiny bubble carbonation that adds some crispness to the brew.

A very solid session beer, especially in the summer months.

 585 characters

Photo of stemcell001
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A pretty decent summer time beer. Easy to drink, light toasty taste with some noble hop flavor in the back. Honestly, I wish the macrobrews would make their beers taste more like this and less like corn and rice adjuncts. After I finished the brew, I did get a weird metallic taste, but overall I was satisfied.

 311 characters

Photo of wedgie9
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted from 12oz can. Pours golden with a one-finger white head that has some staying power. Nose is somewhat skunky with some sweet malts and anise. Flavors are light with some malts and a very light hoppiness. The body is light with average carbonation and a pretty short finish. Despite the lack of any complexity, this beer is actually very enjoyable.

 355 characters

Photo of BeefyMee
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great go to beer for the summer season yet still serviceable all year long. Fairly light and very refreshing but flavorful. There's a nice grainy undercurrent to the moderately hoppy flavor. This would be better poured into a glass of course but is still quite good out of the can at a summer picnic.

 310 characters

Photo of Walken
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New England Brewing: Elm City Lager (No date) (Tasted 06/09/10)
12 oz. can, poured into a dimple mug.

Appearance: Lightly hazy straw colored beer with a squat head of foam, ok retention, perfect solid lacing.
Odor: Soft pils malt shows a smorgasbord of white bread and rough grain aromas with a healthy dose of floral, grassy German hop in the background.
Consistency: Full end of light bodied with a, dry grainy, malty backbone.
Taste: Dry bread, slightly doughy, with a kiss of bitter herbal/lemon hop flavor that rides into the crisp finish.

Solid German pils, the brewer compares it to Radeberger, which is very apt.

 623 characters

Photo of Stigs
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can, poured into a SA Perfect Pint glass

A - pours with an inch or so of frothy and creamy white foam, sticking and lacing already. the beer is a pale golden color, a bit hazy, with active carbonation. 4.5

S - very grassy hops and pale slightly sweet malts...joined by some lemon rind and grainy, crisp and clean. 3.5

T - very grainy before a sharp yet controlled kick of grassy hops joined by Pilsner malts. dacetyl stands out quite a bit, in both a good and bad way. 3.5

M - body is spot on for the style yet the carbonation is a tad low. a bit creamy for the style, slightly oily. was drinking this from the can a little over the weekend and i think the feel was better out of there.

D - pretty good, very refreshing and drinkable. great outdoorsy beer for the summer. i have quite a few German Pils I enjoy more, though this is not bad by any means.

 864 characters

Photo of jgasparine
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- An aggressive pour from the can yielded a stark white foamy head, which had the appearance of frothed milk. The head was reasonably retained with little bits of lacing. The body was an optically clear yellow color, with little traces of carbonation.

S- Smells of pale malt, some mild noble hops, and a very faint whiff of DMS that immediately volatilized from the nose. A nice huskyiness to the nose emerged after the DMS vanished.

T- In the mouth you have a perfect balance of pale malts, low-alpha acid hop flavor, and a surprising hint of diacetyl. The finish is dry with a lingering mild hop bitterness. As the beer warmed, the diacetyl grew to moderately strong. A little much for the style... others may ding this rating for it being out of style... but I still personally liked it.

M- Impressive mouthfeel for this sessionable lager. Medium body with a little creaminess imparted by the abundant soft carbonation. Moderate astringency, which keeps this from being a 4.5 in the mouthfeel department.

D- I would drink this stuff in mass quantities. Particularly in the summer... after mowing the lawn.

 1,113 characters

Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

New England Brewing's Elm City Lager is very good. It drinks like a Pilsner, refreshing, and clean tasting. This beer is slightly bitter, subtly spiced and has a nice medium body.

This is a really good beer that shouldn't be overlooked. This beer is a good favorite for summer drinking, and makes for a nice session beer.

Pilsner lovers would like this a lot.

 361 characters

Photo of steve8robin
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can...

A: Light iced tea yellow color with a inch white head that fades quickly. Looks very good.

S: Hints of spice upfront blended with nice earthy notes. A hint of roastiness on the backend. Decent.

T: Hmm, flavors are a little hard to describe on this one. Earthy spice upfront blended with sparkling water flavors. Citrus well hidden on the backend. Good.

M: A slight bit overcarbonated, but not bad at all. Good here.

D: Goes down super easy. Very good here.

All in all, this is a decent easy drinking, every day, light beer. Might be an easy crossover brew from mainstream to craft. Not worth hunting, but decent to drink if you have access.

 660 characters

Photo of Jesstyr
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed this one on tap at Gingerman in South Norwalk where it was served in a pint glass.

Pours a golden straw yellow with a very large bright white head that is very light and disappears into nothingness. Light patching forms in the glass. Smell is mild straw, reminds me of miller lite, which is not really a compliment in my book - a little metallic.

Taste is grainy, with subtle bitterness, and some floral notes. Definitely crisp, and a very clean taste. It really reminds me of a standard adjunct lager, nothing exciting, but not bad. Light body, a little refreshing, slight carbonation.

 596 characters

Photo of SiepJones
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Pilsner glass

Received in a trade with Pabs311

A: Transparent straw color with tons of bubbles in it. I got a full four fingers of head on the pour which means I made it all the way to the top of the glass without spilling.
S: I love the aroma of this beer, as it has a very grassy hop smell with a crisp finish, I hope it tastes as refreshing as it smells.
T:I find the flavor of this brew to be very interesting I taste a buttery sweet malt up front but then it finishes crisp with a touch of fruit flavor almost like a white wine.
M: Very light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.
D: Very drinkable, low in ABV and good flavor make this a great summer time beer from a can.

 695 characters

Photo of berkey
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a Pils flute.

Forms a moderate white head with fair retention. Body is a hazy yellow and a little less lucid than some other German style Pilseners.

Considerably more flavorful than I expected. A lingering canned lager bias I suppose. Hops are bitter spicy and boldly grassy. Grassy bitterness seems a little out of balance with other flavors but it's still a pleasant and enjoyable beer.

Another example of a tasty beer in a can. More like this will help erase the idea that only macro swill comes in cans.

 533 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the NEBC can into a pils glass.

Pours light clean golden straw color with creamy head of white foam. Active carbonation but minimal lacing.

Pils smell - hops are in there. Good nose.

Taste is clean, crisp blend of malt with a nice backed hop finish. Lip smacking tasty. Very nicely carbonated.

Another solid product from NEBC. VERY drinkable, could have several of these. Hoping to pick up a growler some day and taste the brewery fresh version.

 461 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass on 4/4/10

Thanks to Pabs311

The color is a pale straw-yellow; florescent yellow when held to the light. The pour offered an ample two fingers of head that peaked over the rim of the glass. After a few minutes it has thinned to about ¼ inch. Minimal retention. Pretty good lacing.

The aroma is rather restrained, despite the head having thinned considerably. There are musty notes of wet grass, earth & grain. A few hints of hops hang about. Pilsner malts are apparent, though the nose is basically airy & mild.

While similar in composition to the nose, the taste is reasonably crisp & seemingly more focused. A modest amount of hops lead things off with a gritty, earthy bitterness which remains throughout & on the finish. There is a pervasive grassiness that seems to become a tad muddled when taken in conjunction with the malts. Still, it's more crisp than not.

Elm City lager is fairly light in body & has carbonation that is appropriately vigorous without overdoing it. Grassy undertones linger on the finish with the aforementioned gritty bitterness.

Drinkability really isn't too bad. While not particularly spectacular, I enjoyed the beer enough. If I had regular access to it, I wouldn't put it in regular rotation but wouldn't mind sipping a few here & there.

 1,303 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Yay, more beer in a car.

A: Pouring into my SA Perfect Pint glass yields a huge 3 finger pasty white fluffy head that fades pretty quickly at first but then holds out a bit. No bubbles at all rising from the etch... hmmm... its a lightly hazed golden yellowish pee colored beverage, but I mean that in a good way, somehow.

N: Light golden lager aromas, with some toasty malts and slightly sweet malts with it. Hints of wheat, banana, and light citrus.

T: Starts with a lot of toasty malt flavors. A lightly sweet malt flavor, with the toastiness. Hints of wheat add to it, with a little banana and citrus, very similar to the nose. A little more light fruit is added as well. Again, more distinct lager flavors. A slight chewy composure as well.

M: Medium body, a little thicker than I expected for a lager, and low carbonation.

F: Finishes with some dryness and a little bitter spicy hop character. A slight grassy hop also comes out on the finish. Some slight wheat and banana flavors also linger a bit. A slight lip smacking stickiness too combined with the dry finish to create a strange mouth feel. Overall a nice lager, I would almost even be compelled to drink from the can on a hot summers day.

 1,208 characters

Photo of bkeck33
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the second time I bought a six-pack of Elm City Lager. I liked it the first time, but it appealed to me even more the second time. Admittedly, the appeal is largely because it's a local beer for me. Because it's only available in "protective, lined cans", it takes me back to the days when you ALWAYS bought beer in a six-pack of cans. (Even my wife was somewhat taken aback by "canned beer!") Nonetheless, it was worthwhile.

A: A rich yellow color with strong carbonation and impressive lacing.

S: Not its strong suit; reminded me of day-old beer smell.

T: A pleasing, tangy flavor; not bitter but just enough kick.

M: Full, but not "thick." Quite pleasing.

D: Went down rather smoothly. Again, pleasing.

This is a solid German pilsner that, well, pleases. I could drink plenty of these in one sitting!

 817 characters

Photo of billab914
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz can into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Pours pale yellow in color with a thin white covering on top.

Aroma is crisp with grains and citrus like lemon zest. Taste is similar to the nose in a strong grain presence with some lemon zest. it's crisp and refreshing and has a slight spiciness to it that adds to the flavor.

Mouthfeel is light with above average carbonation. Drinkability is good, I could easily have several of these. This isn't my favorite style but it's a very good beer for it's style.

 525 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew from scottg for winning SNF Squares - Week 13, Thanks Scott!

12oz can served in a pilsner glass.

Hazed golden yellow with a white head that fell to a thin layer leaving a few spots of lacing.
Euro-hops, grain and earthy aromas.
Good European tasting beer from an American brewery.
Medium bodied with good carbonation.
Very easy drinking beer.

 360 characters

Elm City Lager from New England Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 392 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!