Craft Lagers, which ones are the Standouts in 2018?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by djkman, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. djkman

    djkman Aspirant (245) Jun 18, 2012 New Jersey

    Craft lagers.......Not Pilsners...Lagers. Not IPAs, not Porters, not stouts not Pilsners. Not Ales. Lagers.
    Filtered, bright yellow. Crisp. Gotta seriously control the temp as explained to me by Alementary Hackensack NJ.... their Hackensack Lager. Good stuff IMHopinion.
    For 2018,
    Founders really making a push. Night Shift making noise.
    My local favorite Alementary always making their Hackensack lager here in NJ.

    So, Your Lager craft go to. local or big craft. What is yours?
  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,648) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Pilsners are lagers. What have you got against Craft Brewers who make Pils beers?
  3. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,450) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    By lager do you mean American adjunct lager?
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  4. djkman

    djkman Aspirant (245) Jun 18, 2012 New Jersey

    To clarify :
    Lager beers tend to have a cleaner and crisp flavor than Ale beers. Pilsner is a type of lager that has originated in Czech Republic. ... When it comes to Pilsner versus Lager, you need to remember that Pilsner is a just a type of Lager, but a bit lighter in color and with a strong spicy flavor.

    So yes ... your craft substitute of, let us say, the standard Budweiser lager.
    spersichilli likes this.
  5. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,226) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Head over to @augiecarton 's place and pick up This Town and Sit Down Son.
    RobHB, Mrstiffington and Harrison8 like this.
  6. cryptichead

    cryptichead Savant (946) Jul 3, 2014 Illinois

    Really enjoyed Firestone Walker Lager. Sierra Nevada BFD was really nice too. And Founders Solid Gold was very.... solid
    drtth, Smoky54 and Dan411 like this.
  7. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,450) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    When it comes to craft AALs I've yet to find one that I like better than the "classics" such as Hamms, Miller High Life, or Strohs. That being said Sierraveza was quite good.
    FW lager is a Munich helles lager - I enjoyed it thoroughly. SN BFD is an ale.
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  8. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,031) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Well, 2018 is far from over and who knows what the next six months will bring. So far I agree Alementary Hackensack Lager is a good example of what's available in Lagers generally.
  9. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,504) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    But Alementary Hackensack Lager is an all malt beer very much in the Munich Helles style.
  10. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (834) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I will go with Alementary Hackensack Lager as the best new lager this year.
  11. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Devotee (478) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I've been drinking Victory Home Grown Lager recently. Very good. Tasty and drinkable.
  12. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (83) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    What about American lagers that do not use adjuncts ? The craft-brewing movement was all about British-style ales, and German-style lagers w/o adjuncts, when it began, wasn't it ? Why does it seem that craft brewers now have the need to use adjuncts to make a lager ?
    mikeinportc likes this.
  13. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (83) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    Keller Lager from Zero Gravity Brewing, in VT. That's one I buy frequently.
  14. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,459) Mar 12, 2009 New York

  15. zid

    zid Savant (917) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    This thread isn’t going to confuse anyone. :wink:
  16. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (432) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    Six Point's Alpenflo.
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  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,386) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Maybe the best example of a Munich Helles that I have had from an American Creaft Brewery was at SN Mills River yesterday. It was outstanding, the only knock on it was that it was served too cold.
    vurt, TongoRad, steveh and 1 other person like this.
  18. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (83) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    Anecdotal sidenote: last summer there was a Coors billboard along I-90 in Albany that read: "Cold-Lagered For A Crisp Taste". All lagers are cold-lagered for a crisp taste; isn't that pretty much what makes a lager a lager, in the first place ? Was Coors angling for affirmed ale-drinkers, or simply pointing out that there's nothing special about their lager ?
  19. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,504) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    I don't know if it fits this thread or not, but that's a nice goddamn beer!
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  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,104) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Well, I would argue (with Coors) that crisp isn't a flavor, it's a mouthfeel. And not all lagers are crisp. Even a lighter Helles is more smooth and soft than a "crisp" Pilsner -- and moving to a Doppelbock takes us into a whole different dimension.
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  21. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (230) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    What SN beer is this, something draft only? I'd love to try a SN Helles.
  22. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,031) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I would make a list but it would be subject to change. Suffice to say my interest is in the next one I try and there are a lot of them out there all across the Country.
    mikeinportc likes this.
  23. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (866) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I came here to say these two things.
  24. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (743) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Was it a house one off? What was it called?

    Mills River has some stuff on from time to time that seem like test beers or something of that nature that are nice surprises.

    Isn’t that place great?!
  25. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,243) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    They your cold filtering as something special as well. From my understanding you can not filter warm beer as it will turn into a foamy mess.
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  26. runbirddrinkbeer

    runbirddrinkbeer Initiate (150) Oct 24, 2009 Florida

    Kinda what set us apart from the Continental lagers was use of adjuncts, good or bad. I actually don't dislike the adjunct lagers; they have their place, summertime, lawn mowing, etc. The Europeans also rarely utilize six-row barley that was a staple of brewing here(and still is used).

    For a good malt only, adjunct free lager I recently had Standard Lager from Fulton in Minnesota.
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,711) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  28. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (184) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I'll add Nowhere But Texas from Legal Draft Beer Company in Arlington TX.

    I also really liked the Sierraveza from SN.
    FBarber likes this.
  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,343) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    But far and away the best selling beer labeled "Lager" from a "craft brewer" (Brewers Association definition) is Yuengling Traditional Lager, which is also labeled Original Amber Lager...
    After Yuengling, among the next best selling craft lagers are Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Shiner Bock - neither what most would consider "yellow", either.

    Confusion started the thread... :rolling_eyes:

    MillerCoors uses the term "Cold Filtered" to describe their micro-filter/sterile fill method they (Coors, anyway) helped pioneer as an alternative to tunnel pasteurization of bottled/canned beer - what they call, redundantly, "heat pasteurization".

    Depending on the brand, MillerCoors beers may be heat-pasteurized or cold-filtered and sterile-filled. Heat pasteurization involves slowly warming the beer to 140 degrees, then cooling it to room temperature to eliminate impurities. Our cold-filter and sterile-fill processes use cold storage and a series of filtration steps to prevent any potential compromises in beer flavor and quality.

    Pre-merger, Miller had even trademarked the term in the late '80s when they released Miller Genuine Draft.
    #29 jesskidden, Jun 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  30. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,450) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    I don't really understand your first question?
    The second question was rather beat to death in that thread about Night Shift NiteLite and the subsequent Is Craft Beer Losing its Direction and An Observation on AAL threads. Personally I don't see any inherent issue with brewing with adjuncts especially when making a AAL style lager - but thats just me.
    #30 FBarber, Jun 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  31. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,243) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I did not know it was a replacement for pasteurization, good to know. Either way, filtering warm beer in place of fining agents or as a form of sanitation, filtering warm beer makes a mess.
  32. JoePasko

    JoePasko Initiate (83) Mar 10, 2018 New York

    The OP states "craft lager" . To me, that term does not mean exclusively adjunct lager. If craft brewers choose to dabble in AAL, that's fine.. but I hope not at the expense of brewing the other types of lager that got us interested in craft beer in the first place. The original mission was not to brew "better Budweiser", but to offer alternatives that were not on the American market at the time. But I digress.
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  33. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,450) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Can we agree the OPs original post (and follow up post) was rather confusing with some very convoluted distinctions and definitions? I was just trying to understand what he was asking exactly since I didn't understand the original question ...
    Following up on my post questioning what he meant, he then clarified what he meant by "craft lagers" by saying:
    I completely agree with you that the term "craft lager" in general parlance means much more than an AAL ... hell, it should include craft pilsners (which OP specifically excluded from what he was asking :thinking_face:). We can hijack the thread and talk about all the great non-AAL craft lagers this year (shoutout @Sixpoint Alpenflo, FW Lager, Great Central (Chicago brewery turning out some great German styles) lager and pilsner, and so on ...) but I was trying to tailor my response to what OP was asking. :slight_smile:
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  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,504) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    But more importantly, it shouldn't exclude AALs, either. If ever there was a style that needed improvement...

    Plus, it was homebrewers who revived the CAP and other proto-AAL substyles. It's only natural that we're starting to get some commercial examples.

    There's no bad style, only poor execution.
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  35. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,031) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    There are so many it would be a lot easier for me to list the few I didn't really care for.
  36. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (1,923) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    Yes, we can.
    Sometimes. I have had pilsners that are darker than adjunct lagers and vice versa.
    Not always. Pilsner Urquell and other pilsner-style beers like Světlý Ležák have a very soft and rounded bitterness to me.
    I'm patiently waiting for someone to nominate a Kölsch or Altbier just to muddy the waters even more.
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  37. Dan_K

    Dan_K Devotee (486) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Some of my favorite local lagers:
    Left Hand Polestar Pilsner
    Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils
    Crooked Stave Von Pilsner

    I realize these are all billed as Pilsners, but none are spicy and they are all pretty enjoyable to drink.

    Bierstadt Slow-Pour Pilsner is one I haven't tried yet, but want to.
    mikeinportc and Bitterbill like this.
  38. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,450) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    I had a really good craft black lager recently (very akin to a Černý ležák) but I refrained from mentioning it :stuck_out_tongue:
    mikeinportc likes this.
  39. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,201) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    Upslope Craft Lager and Longball Craft Lager from Wichita float my boat.
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,711) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I would be interested in hearing about it. Communicate via PM if you don't feel comfortable discussing it in this thread.

    There are no craft brewed Czech Dark Lagers in my area (that I know about). It would be interesting to learn about your experience here.