Clipper City McHenry Lager | Heavy Seas Beer

46 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Clipper City McHenry LagerClipper City McHenry Lager

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
All malt.
Now called "Heavy Seas Classic Lager".

Added by stirgy on 07-28-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 61
Photo of CHickman
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap last weekend down in MD. Pours clear gold in color with a small white head; decent to weak lacing that went down pretty fast. Smells malty with some citrus and light hops. Tastes of sweet malt, apricot, citrus hops, light caramel and orange or lemon zest; pretty tasty beer. Mouthfeel is very light and crisp, and it was almost watery. Very high drinkabilty, this went down very easy, but was a little too basic (aka dull) in flavor.

 449 characters

Photo of thequeen711
2.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nothing special about this brew, light, easy drinking lager. Reminds me of the beer my Dad would drink in the 60's an 70's. An every man's brew. So light and refreshing I can put away at least 4 and not even notice I was drinking beer. I'd recommend this to the light hearted beer drinkers of America.

 301 characters

Photo of tone77
3.28/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is very mild, some malts. Taste is crisp. primarily malts with some hops. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this makes for a pretty good beer.

 261 characters

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

Consumed 10/13/2009- from notes.

A buddy left this one in the fridge over the weekend so here we go.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a shaker glass.

A- Clear washed out gold color with about a one finger bubbly white head that faded pretty quick. Pretty much no lacing. Very, very mild carbination.

S- A little grassy, a little sweet.

T- Like the nose with the addition of a light bread/biscuity taste.

M- Light to medium bodied, fairly smooth with its lack of carbination.

D- Very easy to drink, easily sessionable if your looking for a BMC alternative.

 559 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce brown bottle poured into a shaker glass. Appears a clear golden straw color with about a finger of quickly fading bone white foam. Smells and tastes of lightly toasted grains, grassy hops, sweet corn, and a bit of sweet malt. A tad thin bodied, but amply carbonated. Worth a try.

 290 characters

Photo of BeerSox
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into pilsner glass.

Clear light golden hue with a one finger white head that slowly settles to a thin cap.

Light biscuity grains in the aroma with a bit of a sweet sugary smell.

Very plain flavor, with malts that carry a light sweetness. No hops to speak of.

An okay beer, somewhat plain though, even for the style.

 334 characters

Photo of Clydesdale
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, bright goldenrod color with some visible carbonation. The head is medium sized and foamy, with solid retention and some decent lacing.

S: Some standard pale malt aroma, along with a nice dose of hops for the style. It comes across as rather German in profile, rather herbal and grassy, with hints of yeast.

T: Malt is fairly robust for the style, grainy and rather substantial. An herbal hop bite that definitely goes beyond the standard macro lager profile, although it's still pretty laid-back. I'd compare this to a tamed down American version of a German Helles lager. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something just seems oddly similar.

M: Fuller in body than many lagers of this style, although it's a touch undercarbonated. Livelier carbonation would really perk this beer up and make it more refreshing, although as it stands it's definitely solid.

D: It's nothing to get real excited about, but it does do its job really well. A no-frills, above average American lager. Kudos to Clipper City for taking a shot at it, as it doesn't seem to be a style that many would clamor for.

 1,117 characters

Photo of droomyster
3.05/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear gold with a tiny white head. The most striking thing about its appearance is that it is completely, totally still. Not one single bubble of carbonation floating upward. Kinda freaks me out. Another bizarre quality is the aroma: clover honey, and absolutely nothing else. It's good (be assured), but a one note wonder. Tastes like clover honey, light malts, with faint hops expressing themselves ever so subtlely right at the very end. Clipper City makes several interesting and tasty beers, but this one seems to intentionally aim to be ordinary. Their "Heavy Seas" series, for instance, kicks it up a notch in the artisanal department. McHenry is not bad, it's just unimaginative.

 695 characters

Photo of therica
3.85/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rather surprising offering, totally different taste and character than what I expected but a welcome surprise. Given the label's "Old Baltimore Style Beer" banner, I was expecting a good old-city rusty lager taste with strong malts and very little in the way of hops-florals. This beer seems more like a modern craft, to me.

A= nice shining-golden with a modest white head which stays on the rims, and profuse tiny bubbles of carbonation when it's poured, settling to a more subtle but steady amount afterwards.

S= amazingly nice florals nose, light malt notes, then the addition of a slight starch-scent a few minutes after settling.

T= honey light sweetness, mild hops bitters, nice florals, sweet hops.

M= light sweetness coating the tongue along with some nice floral notes

D= very drinkable, I wouldn't be disappointed at a party if this was all they were offering.

 875 characters

Photo of HoppyInfidel
3.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance of McHenry is clear and golden, with a white head. It's not as impressive as Clipper City's other offerings, but it is good for what it is - a clean and refreshing lager. I would put it on par with Yuengling lager. McHenry would be a fine beer with which to wash down some steamed crabs.

 298 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I review this as a mystery beer of sorts. Had a beer called Obrycki's Amber Lager in Terminal B at BWI the other day. The bartender assured me that this was brewed by Clipper City and I assumed it was the 'Phillips' Amber Ale, which, apparently, is a bit of a mystery in and of itself.

Anyway, this beer pours a clear golden straw in color with a thin and fleeting head into a chilled glass. The nose gives hints of yeasts typical of a good Euro. lager, yet I'm picking up Saaz, or other Noble hops as well, pointing me in the German Pils direction.

Malt structure is well represented, solid body and offering a good feel and drinkability.

Gold doesn't fit, nor does Pale Ale. Small Craft Warning might, but I wouldn't expect to see that at the airport. Bottom line, how do I review this and why would a brewery disguise things to such an extent that I could never effectively give them future business? Rather confusing I must say.

 938 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden with a thin disappearing head.

The smell is of a hint of grain - clean overall.

The taste is of sweet grain, balancing touch of hop bitterness. Clean, crisp finish.

A standard lager. Better than the macros - nothing special for macros. I understand that there are some "cross-over" beers - for that - not bad, but even doesn't do much to add flavor to macro-drinkers lives. Still pretty bland, though a bit above average for style.

 457 characters

Photo of ralree
2.36/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Really light gold, completely clear. Decent head - fluffy white, recedes pretty slowly for the style, nice retention.

S: Pretty malty, not any hops detectable. Not very aromatic.

T: Alcohol overpowering, malt is just OK. Flavor goes away almost instantly after swallowing. Just barely a bready aftertaste. A little banana flavor.

M: Watery, too much carbonation. Non-astringent.

D: Not drinkable. There's not enough body and flavor for this to be worthwhile.

 465 characters

Photo of claytri
3.35/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a light gold with a little white lace as head. It has a basic malt and hops aroma. The beer has a light malt taste with a bit of hops on the backend, then it finishes with a little sour almost citric aftertaste. The feel is light and dry. Not a bad beer, just a good basic lager.

 295 characters

Photo of armock
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a golden color with a white head that fades to a ring

S - This has a strong malt smell and thats about it

T - Has a sweeter malt taste

M - Has a light to medium body with medium carbonation

D - As far as the style I think this is a very good beer I'm a little surprised that Clipper City made a beer in this style but its a good lawnmower beer

 360 characters

Photo of dedrinker
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is more than a macro. Light gold color, thin white head. Some light, sweet-ish malts in the aroma. Smooth innocuous flavor - firm malt, no hint of adjuncts. Kind of an empty finish. I understand that this has been ratcheted up to include all malt and hops imported from Germany. So it's a step above Yeungling. I would switch to domestic two-row and hops, put in corn as 10% of the grist, package in 12pk cans and drop the price. Actually, I would also put it in stubby bottles, quarts, 24oz. cans, and pony bottles (also stubbies). I would rule the nation with this beer under my belt if they could do this.

 613 characters

Photo of daliandragon
2.66/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I realize this is an American macro lager but that is still a remarkably pale and clear ginger ale type hue with zero head or indication of life. The nose is purely malt with some sweet graininess but not bad.

Wow, that's almost overwhelmingly sweet in the first taste... No hops or yeast, just a malt onslaught. Texture is weak and watery. The aftertaste saves this one a little but its still pretty far gone. When the best you can say about a beer is that it's better than BMC, well, that still sucks. I won't look for this again.

 534 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.67/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - a figner of pure white head sits atop a dark golden colored beer and is kept atop by an abundance of carbonation

S - a brisk, crisp sweet herbal iced tea aroma, smells refreshing and inviting, the girlfriend says it smells like Quiznos fresh brewed iced tea, behind all this is a slight hoppy profile that is not lost amongts the tea-ness

T - lemony, herbal, sweet, floral, quite refreshing, a rather nice hop profile, without being overpowerful, refreshing, very nice

M&D - not an overwhelming flavor, nothing too special just a really pleasant easy to drink beer, even the aforementioned girlfrined like it, which is saying something

 642 characters

Photo of hreb
2.59/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Cold 12oz bottle poured into US size pint glass. Best before Dec 07. Beer pours pale yellow gold with a medium off-white head and lots of big bubbles. Not an impressive appearance; it looks pretty weak. Aroma is pretty mild and generally lagery, with definite but non-descript hops.

The first sip is crisp and refreshing. The cold works well for the beer. It's fizzy and without body to speak of. The mild lager aroma matches the bland taste of the beer. A refreshing lawnmower type beer maybe, but this is actually disappointing even based on the underwhelming appearance out of the bottle. About the only nice thing I can say about it is that it's not offensive in any way. It's a hot late summer noontime and I could probably drink quite a few of these, but why would I bother?

 781 characters

Photo of gosurfobx
2.83/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear golden yellow with a one finger head. Head soon fades to a film. Smell is of malt with little hops and a slight hint of citrus (lemon?). Taste has up front malt with little complexity and a slight hops afterrtaste. Taste has some citrus mixed in. The mouth is on the light side with a little more carbination than I would perfer. All in all not outstanding but worth a try.

 392 characters

Photo of Phatz
3.43/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Best before April 07

Appearance: a hard pour yields a very small quick fading white head a top a crystal clear pale golden yellow body of beer.

Smell: What smell? The aroma took me a few tries to locate. It is very clean with just a wisp of grain after burying my nose so deep in the beer it almost came up my nostrils, I found some baked barley and bread in there as well.

Taste: This is a simple malt lager built for dinking more than analyzing. It is crisp and clean with barley malty sweetness and a light but adequate hop presence. Mainstream and approachable but done with a nice quality.

Mouthfeel: It is light and dry around the edges with a hint of gassy hops left in the dry aftertaste.

Drinkability: This is the epitome of session beer. It is the kind of beer you choose over Bud to take to a fraternity party. At the same time I would drink it while eat hot wings and playing pool at a bar in Baltimore (drink local).

Hope this is helpful.

 979 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.78/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

"Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust";
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave"

--the final four lines of the full, four verse Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key on September 14th, 1814 to honor the defense of Fort McHenry by American forces against the British attack.

Mildly hazy marigold with a spirited amount of carbonation contributing to the lightly yellowed bone white head. The foamy cap has a quality look about it and I really can't find fault with it. While the amount of lace that finds its way to the glass isn't tremendously impressive, it is more than adequate. For the style, not bad, not bad at all.

The aroma is too underpowered to make much of an impression either way. What I do appreciate is untoasted pale malty and modestly hoppy. I can't say that the Hallertauer Hersbrucker contribute much to the proceedings; too bad since more hops might have perked up what is nothing more than a standard issue nose.

First of all, I take exception to the stated style. The Clipper City website states that McHenry is all-malt and was patterned after a Baltimore beer of the post-Prohibition era. That fact doesn't appear to have helped the flavor much though. Like the nose, it's untoasted malty with a nearly absent hop presence.

While there are no off-flavors or hints of adjunct--a good thing since no adjuncts have been utilized--there's nothing here to engage the palate or the imagination. This is a generic, by the numbers, uninspired, uninspiring, lackluster beer. The absolute lack of any hint of nastiness protects the taste score from a free fall.

The body is on the medium side of light and benefits only in the sense that it's fully in line with the light flavor profile. How's that for finding the silver lining in what is a fairly dark cloud? If you can't find anything nice to say, then don't say...

As a washer-downer (or a fire putter-outer of spicy food), McHenry is infinitely preferable to anything brewed by BMC. When judged on its own merits, however, it fails to honor the structure that was the inspiration for its name.

 2,219 characters

Photo of Beauregard
3.05/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer is not nearly as bad as the reviews here claim. This is a pre-prohibition style lager, made with 100% malted barley, unlike most modern macros. Good mouthfeel, unique taste, good for session drinking. Nice in the summer. Obviously not for those who only love everything hoppy. I like this beer better than Yuengling. Good with crabs.

 343 characters

Photo of gdogalishus
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Poured a very clear straw color with mild white head. Low head retention as it dissolved after every swallow. The aroma was clean and mild. Malty flavor with very little hop bitterness. Rating these types of beers is difficult for me. Do I rate it based on the characteristics of the style or do I rate it versus all other beers?? If it's by style, then this is very underrated. It has a stronger malt backbone than any of your BMCs, if's it is versus all other beers than the rating I gave are too high by far.

If you like light lagers and want to try something with a little more malty sweetness to it, then this is a good choice. If you a hophead or love your imperial stouts... stay far far away from this.

 755 characters

Photo of Jaynuze
3.3/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My initial review for this beer came out around a D minus. After revisiting this beer per an aquaintance's request I've changed my tune. Though this lager is not my prefered beer, the subtle changes due to the new mill at the brewery has really made some nice adjustments to the brew.

The beer pours light golden with a very thin head. The nose is still a bit rough, but much milder.

Much like this beer's relative, it tastes like San Miguel ... only better.

As I mentioned, this is not typically the beer style I like to drink, but if offered a bottle I would drink it. I'd even go as far to buy a sixer or two for those really warm DC days.

Though not one of the strongest styles in the CC portfolio (only in my opinion), it is an ever improving beer and I would be interested to see if CC has anymore changes in mind. I will try this one again.

 854 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Clipper City McHenry Lager from Heavy Seas Beer
3.1 out of 5 based on 61 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.