Holiday Spice Lager Beer | Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

very good
144 Reviews
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Holiday Spice Lager BeerHoliday Spice Lager Beer

Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Spice beer brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, orange peel, and clover honey.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-03-2002

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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 309
Photo of woodychandler
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Work has been anything but a holiday these last few weeks and I feel like I could use some spice in my life. My local trader, tone77, dropped this off for me recently and as I trudged home from another day of drudge, the thought of a big, spiced beer held a good bit of appeal for me.

From the bottle: "We at Lakefront wish you and yours a truly joyous and prosperous new year."; "Brewed with honey, oranges & spices".

My aggro pour revealed a VERY active beer that was capable of creating an abundance of deep-tan head with great retention. In fact, there was initially so much head that the beer seemed to be cascading as it settled. A good whiff of the nose led me to believe that (at least) clove, cinnamon and allspice went into its production. There was an orange-citrus scent also, but the honey was lost in the mix. Color was a deep dark-brown with cola highlights. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a lot of spice evident in the mouth. I stand by my claim of cinnamon and clove, since they were the most powerful flavors on the tongue. Finish was dry, spicy and pleasant. My headache began to subside and I was ready for another beer, not necessarily another of this one, but another beer all the same.

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Photo of tone77
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is very spicy, nutmeg and ginger standing out. Taste is also full of spice, some oranges, lots of flavors blending well together here. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a very good beer.

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Photo of devinoconnor
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

If you want a very delightful winter/holiday beer this is certainly one to try.

It pours a dark brown. Much darker than what you'd expect from a typical lager.

Smell is intense ginger, cinnamon, and spices.

Taste is just like it smells. Lots of distinct flavors colliding.

Great beer for the holidays.

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Photo of mountdew1
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into imperial pint glass. Color was a dark caramel brown that was very slightly opaque. Thin caramel white head that clung nicely. Aroma was banana bread with some cloves with some nice spiciness. Taste was very nuanced. Tastes started as a milky lactose, then shifted to a banana bread, and then finished up with a peppery spice. Outstanding mouth feel. Coated very well, but wasn't too thick. Slightly bubbly in the mouth. Great for a winter warmer. Very drinkable. A solid sipper that kept me wanting more.

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Photo of cbutova
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Hazy dark red-brown with a two-finger light tan, creamy head. Retention is good. Lace coat towards the top but nothing down the glass.

S- Banana is coming off this thing in waves. Raisin and spice as well, making it remind of me banana bread or pumpkin pie pretty much. Cinnamon, slight roast. Alcohol as it warms

T- Well, the 11% now makes sense, very strong flavor to it. Kind of feels like a really strong pumpkin ale. Lots of spice, cinnamon, nutmeg. Raisin and banana notes as well. The alcohol can be tasted but for 11% it's not too bad. Dark, slightly medicinal fruit dominates as well. Slight roast cocoa.

MF- Creamy body with high-end carbonation, silky feel to it. Warm from the alcohol and slightly bitter.

DB- One of the better Winter beers I have come across. The alcohol builds with warmth and makes this a one bottle experience.

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Photo of mooseisloose
4.74/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a gift form upper Midwest relatives, when here at Christmastime, oh my Gawd, didn't know this was 11% until I opened this review page, might be a record for me (on second check it's #2 on my personal ABV). Well then, let's give it a whirl! Serving slightly chilled, not cold as this should bring out what this selection has to offer. Popping the top I get a big waft of cloves, allspice and cinnamon, not unlike a pumpkin pie. Pours into a tulip glass a deep root beer color with a medium bubble head that wisps away. On the taste, this brew start with a big syrup-thick mouthfeel, very high viscosity. The taste has an upfront spicyness just like the smell. The middle taste has some roasted malts, then the finish has a dry chocolate slight bitterness. All this while maintaining spice flavors through the whole taste. This is one holiday brew.To sit next to the fireplace or as a desert beer, I don't know how this brew could be beat. Outstanding.

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Photo of tapman
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with plum colored highlights, got 1 finger head out of an aggressive pour and thick, creamy lacing afterwards. Carbonation appears moderate.

In the nose I get pumpkin pie spice, or the collection of spices in pumpkin pie spice rather, a little warm alcohol, vanilla, banana, clove and a slight roast aroma.

This tastes like a mix between bananas foster and creme brulee to me. I barely taste the alcohol at all and I am hard pressed to believe this is 11%. Spices are blended well with the big malt profile, which I would assume left plenty of extra maltose in this brew, and some Noble hops. Almost belgiany in character and my theory is that the spices imitate the by products of belgian yeast pretty well.

Perfectly chewy for this type of beer with enough carbonation to keep it from getting syrupy.

This beer is pretty good. I couldn't drink too many as the high alcohol is getting to me already. I compare this to Anchor's Christmas ale which in my opinion has a better appearance, a richer, more unique aroma and taste as well as a silkier mouthfeel, but that's it. I like this one better than all the rest of the winter warmers I have had this year next to Anchor's.

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3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle slowly into 8oz tasting chalice.
A: A dark and hazy body of deep amber. The head sinks quick, but holds a bit around the edges. Lacing is very little at that.
S: The aroma shows a very strong use of spice in this brew. A roasted malt character, but the presence.
T/M: The front is a big blast of spice with a full warming mouthfeel. The caramel presence is nice and creamy, while the use of the nutmeg was a bit harsh and over used. Nice balance of roasted malt and barley, on the overall taste. This brew is a bit over spiced and there is a reason, seeing that the 11% abv is very well hidden.
D: This is a nice brew to try in the winter months, one that I would get a six pack of and save some for years to come. A nice warmer for sure.

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Photo of BB1313
4.11/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a dark brown w/ ruby red hues. Nice fluffy head w/ sticky lacing. Smells like a pumpkin ale to me. Subtle notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices. Tastes pretty interesting. The flavors are hardcore and all over the place due to the oak.. but still very tasty; not too sweet. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Drinkabilty isn't the best due to high abv and the chewiness.. makes a good sipper. One's good!

This is definitely a unique one. A nice beer to look forward to come winter. If you're into holiday beers w/ cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, honey, etc.. definitely check this one out. You can definitely age this one.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.22/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a caramel brown color with a cap of foam that dwindles to a wisp. The aroma is bursting with nutmeg and clove and orange. This a very flavorful brew. Malty, but mostly fruity and sweet, perhaps a bit too much. The fruity sweetness plows through the center and finishes with sweetness and a dash of spice. The chest fills with warmness after a few sips. A big beer for the holiday season. The large ABV makes me wish I would have saved it for when the in-laws come over.

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Photo of coalcracker
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby red with only a smidge of head. Active carbonation throughout the tasting.
Smell: Spices are quite apparent upon opening of the bottle, infinitely more so upon the pour. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cherry licorice aroma most apparent.
Taste: Upon tasting, the spices and dark malts quickly march in on top of a wave of sweetness. The spices peak at the middle of the taste and continue to act through the end. Malts are a bit bready in nature. An alcohol warmth also arises towards the end of the tasting. Beyond the aforementioned spices, a little citrus is also noted. On the down-side, it is a bit more difficult to discern the honey (as advertised on the bottle). I also felt as if the flavors began to mesh together into a relatively unrecognizable mass towards the end.
Mouthfeel: Medium to above average feel
Drinkability: Limited to sipping as per the ABV. The sweetness and spice may be a bit much for the casual beer drinker.

Overall- a lot going on here! Big and bold and a pleasant experience, though probably not in my top 3 holiday brews.

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Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of a boat load of molasses, caramels, brown sugar. A boat load of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice with some mild citrus.

The taste reminds me of an extra spiced thick moist loaf of gingerbread. This is not traditional beer by any means but I find it extremely tasty as an after dinner offering. I never eat dessert so this served as my dessert tonight. The mouthfeel is slightly slick and sticky; with well above average sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a light moderate carbonation. Slightly above in all aspects but should be expected because of the ABV. Regardless there is a lot of spicing, but as a fan of a well done holiday ale I enjoy adequate spicing and flavor so I still enjoyed this. No way you can tell it is 11% ABV. I sure didn't, time to go to bed.

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Photo of crossovert
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a deep cola color with a big, fluffy off-white head. The head just sticks and sticks, it lasts for ever. The lacing is pretty good too.

This one smells amazing. I smelt something similar with Sam Adams Winter Lager but this one just blows that one out of the water. All of the spices are easily detected: orange peel, nutmeg, ginger, and clove.

The flavor is big and bold. It tastes like Christmas. Lots of caramel, the aforementioned spices, and a lot of citrus lead the flavor charge. There is a bit of gingerbread character as well. As you go the oak appears and adds an extra layer of depth.

The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, it is very smooth. It is a bit cloying but that is expected at this abv, and the alcohol presence is pretty low considering the abv.

This is the quintessential holiday lager, no doubt about it, I thought it would be overpowering but it was smooth and delightful

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Photo of TheDTrain
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Nov. 2009 poured into a globe glass

Lakefront Brewery makes consistently good seasonal brews. The holiday spice lager is no exception. Pours a hazy amber color. Nice aroma and taste of oranges, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, spices, and yeast. This beer taste like Christmas and will certainly get better with age.

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Photo of ch473
1.6/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer pours a cloudy burnt sienna with cream colored foam. An unusual looking beer, but inviting.

Smell consists of banana, clove and brown sugar. The scent does make me want to drink it. Smells very sweet, but I don't pick up much of the added flavors like clove and cinnamon. Maybe a bit of nutmeg.

The taste is terrible; I taste metal (like a penny) and cherry cough syrup. I can barely finish this one. The lackluster aroma was much better than the flavor. I don't even get a hint of the 11% alcohol content because it's completely covered by the cloying sweetness.

No way I would drink another one of these, I can barely finish one. The sweetness is overwhelming. I could never drink this to complement any food. It reminds me of overly sweet, cheap whiskey. It's not enjoyable to drink; I found it hard to get down. I don't often give bad reviews but this beer is nearly undrinkable.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Seems a bit early for something like this, but I don't care enough to argue. It pours a murky burnt auburn topped by a mere few layers of small glowing off-white bubbles. The nose comprises cinnamon, nutmeg, mandarin oranges, some pinches of brown sugar, and an underlying aquifer of bland liquid pumpernickel. Honestly, I think I was expecting a bit more in my 'strils. The taste reminds me of gingerbread drizzled with a tropical fruit cocktail, the kind Dole likes to overcharge for. You know what I'm talkin' about. A hint of what seems like spearmint comes forth in the finish, but luckily this is a minor occurrence. Unfortunately, following this is a blast of sickly sweet nothingness. Those were the words my brain formulated on the spot, and those are the words I'm gonna stick with. Suffice it to say that the back end of the finish is rather cloying. The body is a lumbering medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly wet feel. Overall, what was probably a delicious-sounding recipe comes out a bit below par. I hope this is just last year's vintage; if it is, I'll make a second visit and see if things are any better fresh.

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Photo of cyraxx
3.01/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This ones been sitting around for a while, so I finally got to it...
12oz bottle poured into my Mad Elf snifter:

A - Best part of the beer. Pretty chestnut/ruby color with a bit of eggshell foam that lingers.

S - Blast of artificial cinnamon with most other spices faded and a bit of caramel malt aroma.

T - Sweet up front with the cinnamon from the nose which then moves into a decently sour flavor, which I am assuming is not intended and out of place. Pretty odd, and isn't terribly lager like. The flavors are pretty muddy and not clean.

M - Decent mouthfeel with decent prickly carbonation on the tongue.

D - Drinkability is fairly high considering the ABV, but the tasted kind of knocks it down for me, personally.

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Photo of DrewKid4
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served: bottle to 12 oz tumbler. Review from a few months ago and was bought in a case sale from Mac's in Atlanta, GA

A: Dark brown, typical of a winter lager. Looked thick but nothing special.

S: Strong smells of many typical fall and winter beers, nutmeg, pumpkin, cinnamon ... everything. Some may find this overwhelming and gross, but most of my review of this was accepting the uniqueness of this beer

T: Much like the smell, a collision of many strong flavors at once, coupled by a high alcohol content, it's quite smooth at first taste, with a bit of a scotch-like burn on the back of the toungue. I guess that was where the winter warmer description.

M: Full bodied. Not for the faint of beer heart.

D: Not a very high drinkability due to the intensity of the flavors. I actually almost got sick off of drinking three of these.

Like I said before, not for the faint of heart. After buying cases for cheap, they were passed around to friends, while a couple loved it, including myself, the others dispised it after a couple of sips. For beer lovers, especially winters and other darks, definitely an interesting brew to try.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled week 1, Dec. 2009. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for the bottle.

(A)- Pours a clear brown amber color that produced an immediately dissipating off-white head.

(S)- A maltiness of vanilla & brown sugar with bits of ginger and cranberry.

(T)- Same as the smell only with a much spicier ginger presence.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. A good maltiness & spice.

(D)- A good beer that I enjoyed, but much more fitting for the holiday season for sure. Good stuff.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - This holiday brew is dark chestnut brown with a hint of deep beet color when held to the light. The head is very small and short lived after pouring. Oddly, a quick swirl brings up a beautifully thick beige head. That's really strange since I poured this one relatively aggressively. Huh. To be fair, I'll score this one on the head that built up after the swirl. The lace is silky and finely bubbled, and sticks well too. Nice looking brew!

S - Before putting my nose to the glass, I can already smell mashed brown-spotted bananas or banana baby food (my personal favorite). Getting closer, I pick up a ton of banana, hearty yeast (almost hefe-like), and super-ripe fruit notes. Big time apricots, dates, and maybe even a little maraschino cherry/grenadine. This is delicate, but still deep and brooding. Outstanding.

T - Mashed sweet-potatoes with marshmallows, dried apricots, prunes, dates, fruit cake, and minty spruce. This is screaming "HOLIDAY BEER" big time. Soft and juicy orange flavors remind me of those little sugary jelly orange wedges crusted in sugar: the ones that are made of the same stuff as gummy bears but look like an artificial orange wedge. Some spices make things interesting, but never overpower the nice dried fruit notes. I wish more spiced holiday brews had this kind of restraint.

M - Full bodied and sugary. This one is slick like sweet sugary candy, but has a touch of dryness from the spice. Would be a little better if it weren't so cloying, but then again this beer is all about a Christmas pudding/desert vibe and the mouthfeel matches the flavors. The high ABV is totally hidden. I was completely surprised when I read the label after taking a few sips. I was expecting maybe 6%, but 9.5%... daaang!

D - This is a great desert brew or nightcap for a cold winter evening spent in pajamas. I wouldn't want more than one, but that's okay. This one will last me a while as I swirl sniff, and slowly sip. I've been less than impressed with Lakefront in the past, but this is a really well built brew.

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Photo of imanidiot777
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a brown color with a hint of red. Not much head but whatever was there stayed for awhile. Some lacing but not overwhelming.

S: Definitely ginger and pumpkin. My crappy nose is sensing a hint of banana but that doesn't seem right.

T: Sweet honey and pumpkin in the beginning, slight little bit of hops in the middle and strong ginger kick in the after taste.

M: Very carbonated. Too much so in my opinion. Pretty heavy beer.

D: Rough on the after taste with the ginger and higher than average alcohol content. Not really light on the stomach.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
1.48/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

The website states that this beer weighs in at 11% abv it's hard to believe that one. All I get fron the nose is holiday spices with a bit of honey sweetness, dark fruits. Mind numbing spices including cinnamon, ginger, allspice etc. Hints of vanilla and clove dance around as well there was a thread about some guy talking about how he was able to finish a whole six pack of this beer and he called it the Holiday Spice six pack challenge now that's what I call the Biggest Loser. Cloyingly sweet honey tones coats the palate with this shite, what a mess of a beer. Dark syrup with spice infused layers some orange peeel and honey with holiday spices. I can't finish this is pure shit. Mouthfeel is like lighter fluid with spice and booze burn as it warms. Drinkability sucks and I can't make it any more intricate than that.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy reddish brown with a few fingers tan head that lingers for some time.

S - Sweet caramel and toasted malt, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey and pumpkin pie.

T - spicy, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, clove with some sweet malts.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation.

D - A solid straight forward spice beer. 9.5abv not noticeable at all.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a good 2 finger head that fades to a 1 finger head then lingers. Very deep honey color mostly maroon in apperance. Sucker is fizzing like mad! Never seen a beer react like this.

S: Strong cinnamon and cloves in the front. Seems to have a bit of Pumpkin Ale aroma as well. Maybe allspice? This stuff honestly smells stellar! It smells like Christmas. Best way to describe it.

T: Honey with clove mixture. That Pumkin Ale quality carries through. I believe it is the nutmeg I am really picking up. If you could squeeze Christmas spirit into a bottle this is what it would taste like.

M: At first I thought this would be waaaayyy too overly carbonated. As much as this thing fizzes like a Coca-Cola it really mellows out in the mouth. Very clean oily texture.

D: May just be a tad too sweet and spicy to session but that isn't really what this beer is about. One or 2 should be the limit for anyone. You can sip for hours though.

I am really not sure where the Lager comes into play. I really don't detect anything like any style I ever had. For good reason. My first winter warmer. It is like Pumpkin Ale (most notably DFH Pumkin Ale) with a twist of Christmas. Be a great one to show to macro drinkers just for them to see how complex and different a beer can be.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a dark brown with some light passage, thin and inactive white head that pretty much dissipates quickly, small amount of lacing

S: a nice boquet full of holiday spices, cinnamon being the most prominent with some ginger and all spice in the background, some malty sweetness and honey, a fair amount of ethyl alcohol on the finish

T:lots of cinnamon up front followed by very sweet honey characteristics. Finishes extremely spicy with some pronounced booziness as well

MF: thin and sharp, a little sticky

D: this is a nice winter warmer but the alcohol will sneak up rather quickly and the spices get to be a tad overwhelming

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Holiday Spice Lager Beer from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
3.77 out of 5 based on 309 ratings.
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