Lagers are the best trend in brewing right now, in the U.S. anyway

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by NeroFiddled, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,939) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,975) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yes, for some years lagers stopped being a trend in the US. They were mostly all that could be had. Then when Craft beer began it was easier and quicker to brew ales (i.e., better cash flow for a new brewery) and also there was/is still a strong over-reaction among some against the lagers brewed by the big kids (e.g., Bud, etc.) So the big trend was Ales.

    Signs of a return of flavorful lagers are always good to see.
  3. JoeWalsh

    JoeWalsh Initiate (157) Mar 20, 2019 Illinois

    I'm all in favor of more balance in the craft beer market. IPAs are nice and all, but I'd prefer the other styles not be neglected in favor of them. And that definitely includes lagers.

    In my area, Metropolitan makes great lagers, and has been for a long time. Their Dynamo copper lager is fantastic.

    From the bigger craft brewers, I like Kona's Longboard. I know it's not a trendy brand, but I like that beer a lot.
  4. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,611) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I'm puzzled by it. In my area lagers are trendy in the same way that pastry stouts and hazy IPAs are. The same people that would turn their nose up at Banquet or Bohemia 2 years ago are using the word "crispy."
  5. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,269) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Lagers today, Lagers tomorrow, Lagers forever.
  6. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,283) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    'Crispy' is the new 'Juicy'? Well, I'll be!
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Jim, you and I live in the land of Lager: where we can just walk into a bar and say "Lager" and the bartender will had us a pint of Yuengling Traditional Lager. I wonder how well the new all-malt lager of Yuengling Golden Pilsner is selling for them.

  8. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (1,949) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    I love that craft brewers are embracing lagers, which I have seen accelerate over the past 5 years. Seems many felt they couldn't make lagers because that's what BMC did, but now they have the proper attitude of besting BMC in their own game vs only being different.

    And I had the epiphany the other day that if I could only drink one umbrella of styles the rest of my life (meaning lagers, IPAs, porters/stouts, sours, Belgians, etc), it would have to be lagers. I love IPAs and sours and stouts and all, but only lagers could I have every single day, especially when it can include hefty beers such as Doppelbock.
  9. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,062) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I'm waiting for double decocted to replace double dry hopped (DDH).
  10. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Aspirant (284) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Trader

    Who turns their noses up at Bohemia???
    Tilley4, mngermanshepherd and Amendm like this.
  11. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (67) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    Not well, I imagine. At least down here in DC, Golden Pilsner has been pulled from my local shelves. I didn’t think it was all that good of a Pilsner, despite the hype around it at release last summer.
    AlcahueteJ and Amendm like this.
  12. beer_beer

    beer_beer Aspirant (231) Feb 13, 2018 Finland

    As drinking NA it would be close to beer suicide not to like lagers. It is the foundation everything is built on. Lets you take journeys into the other styles.
    Amendm likes this.
  13. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (267) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    A local brewery does a Mexican lager that tastes like dos Equis but is twice as expensive.

    I love lagers but hate this trend.

    Breweries are trying so hard to brew a beer like bud or Bud light and put their magical spin on it. It's crazy the cycle were in.
    thesherrybomber, Bigrock and Amendm like this.
  14. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (1,949) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    Yes, there is a tendency for some craft brewers to put their spin on adjunct, light, Mexican or Japanese lagers, but what about all the good Pilsners, Helles, Viennas, Bocks, etc that have sprung up in recent years?
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And since we are entering the season don't forget Oktoberfest/Marzen beers. I am fortunate to have lots of high quality locally brewed versions of this beer.

  16. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (1,949) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    Hell, yeah. I have had so many Marzens and Festbiers in the past 3 weeks or so and plan to continue for the next month.
  17. jeebeel

    jeebeel Initiate (176) Jun 17, 2003 Texas

    I just learned that a local craft brewery (Saint Arnold) is adding a year-round Märzen to their line. I'm happy about that, especially since it is a very good one.
  18. Amendm

    Amendm Zealot (541) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    Smaller "Craft" breweries in my area are mostly focused on Ale styles, medium-large breweries not so much.

    "Craft Lagers" have been slowly gaining space on the selves in the local packies and bottle shops for a while now.
  19. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (382) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    You know what? I thought I better revisit Banquest the other day, because a lot of people, including brewers, that I know have been talking it up lately.

    Nope. While my first sip impression was "This really doesn't suck, I get why knowledgeable drinkers like it", by the end of the 16 ozer I was sick of it. Two sweet, too bland, and (IMO) a not insignificant flash of ethyl acetate (the "pear drops" off-flavor), which (again IMO) is a rookie homebrewer level flaw in a lager. certainly when we are constantly told how technically proficient and consistent the big brewers are, is unacceptable.

    I'd far rather drink an Odell Lager, and that beer actually doesn't do that much for me.

    I do like the Bohemia Pilsner though the Vienna (formerly "Oscura"), which I haven't found around here, is pretty damn good. It's about all I drink in Puerto Vallarta.
  20. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (337) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Pricing aside, I think that small craft breweries moving away from the "you're not worthy" ethos and more in the direction of brewing improved versions of styles that normal people actually like is an extremely positive trend in the industry.

    Careful what you wish for. You'll be looking at quintuple-decocted lagers in a couple years if the trend catches on.
    #20 oldbean, Sep 5, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  21. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,098) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    Im...(looks around)...trendy?
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Lots of good discussion in this thread so far.

    It would seem that there are multiple sub-segments of what folks would label as “craft lager”. Below is my first crack at characterizing this aspect, along with example beers.

    Light AAL

    The top selling beers in the US are Light versions of AAL beers: Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light,… and there are some (one?) craft brewery who are producing beers to compete in this large market. The only example I know of is Night Shift Nite Lite and apparently this beer is selling well for them. @robNSB posted in the past this beer is within their top 3 selling beers:

    “Whirlpool, our pale ale, Santilli, our IPA, and Nite Lite, our light lager all round out our top 3 beers.”

    I wonder if other craft breweries are/will produce Light AAL beers?

    Lagers that appeal to both mainstream and craft beer drinkers

    I suppose another way to describe these beers would be as crossover Lagers. Beers that have qualities that would appeal to people that enjoy a beer like Budweiser but also people who mostly drink stronger flavored craft beer. Perhaps Yuengling Traditional Lager is a prime example here. Yuengling sells quite a bit of their Traditional Lager (I believe it comprises 80% of their sales) and anecdotally this beer seems to be popular with both the mainstream and craft beer segments of the market.

    Yuengling came out with their first new product in over 17 years recently with Yuengling Golden Pilsner. They characterize this beer as fulfilling the “refreshment category”. It seems to me that Yuengling is also trying to appeal to the crossover market with this beer as well. Yuengling Golden Pilsner is on the lighter tasting end of the Pilsner spectrum so maybe not too appealing for those craft beer drinkers who prefer fuller/stronger tasting beers. But just like with Traditional Lager it is in-between and so some mainstream (e.g., Bud) drinkers might enjoy the additional ‘oomph’ of this beer and some craft beer drinkers may enjoy the drinkability of this beer – a perfect summer picnic beer?

    Mexican branded lagers

    Mexican beers like Corona, Modelo Especial, Dos Equis… are popular selling beers which command premium pricing. There seems to be more craft breweries trying to enter this market, with branding of –veza being a popular strategy. I would offer up the new brand for 2019 of Sierra Nevada Sierraveza as a good example here. Are beer consumers who desire a foreign brewed beer willing to purchase a domestically brewed product and pay a premium price for it?

    Traditional’ Lagers

    As has already been discussed there seems to be more breweries brewing lagers that are more ‘traditional’ (read: European) in nature: Helles, Pilsner, Vienna Lager, Oktoberfest/Märzen,… I would offer up Sly Fox as an example of a brewery that produces these sorts of beers. I was told by a Sly Fox Sales Rep that their top selling beer is their Helles which is pretty amazing given the popularity of IPAs in the current craft beer scene. They also have a popular Pilsner (Pikeland Pils) and out right now is their excellent Oktoberfest beer. I recently purchased a 6-pack of Oktoberfest cans and it is almost gone and I have not had a single one yet; my wife is ‘killing’ this 6-pack.

    American Pale Lager

    This would be Pale Lagers that feature new(er) American aroma hops such as Centennial, Cascade, etc. An example here would be the beer from Founders; previously branded as PC Pils but now just branded as Pilsner. This can be viewed as a brand new style in that it blends the aspect of clean & crisp but with fruity (and other) flavors of American aroma hops.

    There are likely other sub-segments beyond the five I listed above; perhaps other BAs will think of them.

    It will be interesting to see if in the future one (or two) of the above sub-segment beer types will dominate. Or maybe this will be a case where all of these sub-segments grow together?

    jrc1093, Glider, cjgiant and 13 others like this.
  23. jcos

    jcos Devotee (478) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    I love the fact that breweries are putting out more lagers, and that breweries can't hide behind massive flavors. Due to a few factors, I've never been into the "Milkshake IPA" or "Pastry Stouts" - partially because I like to keep my lactose intake separated from my beer intake.

    I also don't expect the price point to match the adjunct lagers, as the scale and size(and cheapness of ingredients) can't be matched.
    Amendm likes this.
  24. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,634) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Depends. Are your beers "crispy"? :wink:
  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,062) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    You wouldn't throw Founders Solid Gold in this category? I realize it may not be classified as "light", but I mention it because I see various craft brewers making adjunct lagers.

    For example, Trillium recently released a beer like this called "Party Pump". They classify it as a "corn lager" and it rings in at 4.0%. I have had this beer, and it tastes like it's the same style as "Nite Lite". Notch also has one called "The Mule" which is a corn lager, coming in at 4.2%. This one is probably my favorite, since it has more of a hop presence than the former two beers. But then again, one could argue that a minimal hop presence is part of what this "style" is.

    See below for a description of "Party Pump":

    "Party Pump, the newest addition to our lager lineup, has us reminiscing about the good old days. Memories of weekend getaways, late night adventures, and family reunions are brought back to life with one sip of this Corn Lager! Born out of experimentation through our Permutation Series, Party Pump evolved from the 6.36 recipe. Pouring a beautiful light straw color with a slight haze and a creamy white head, a clean lager profile offers notes of biscuit and fresh-baked white bread. A grist bill highlighting malted corn from Valley Malt contributes a touch of perceived sweetness on the nose, with a floral hop character playing a background role. With Party Pump, we're shining a light on New England's agricultural heritage while simultaneously taking a trip down memory lane."
    meefmoff and Amendm like this.
  26. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,098) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    (looks around)

    rozzom, Squire and TongoRad like this.
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have no idea of the calorie count for this beer. Do you? If so, is that value consistent with the Light Beer category?
    Is that a year-round beer like Nite Lite?

    Needless to say but please feel free to create an additional sub-segment category. I made no claim that the 5 I postulated was a complete list.

  28. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,854) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Was it pulled because it wasn't selling well? Or did it phase out because its a summer seasonal item.

    I found that how much I liked that one varied greatly on my environment - when I had it in the house in a glass, reviewing it, it wasn't a great pilsner and I focused on that. When I had it from the can, outside on a super hot day, I loved it.
  29. I_Have_The_Runs

    I_Have_The_Runs Initiate (37) Nov 19, 2018 Illinois

    Have you checkout out Dovetail Brewery? I think they make the best lagers in Chicago. The tour is worth checking out too!
    Harrison8, Tilley4 and Jaycase like this.
  30. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (67) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    I believe they were marketing it as a year-round product. It definitely tasted like it had adjuncts in it, although likewise I think they tried to say it was all-malt and used European hops.

    I’ll also say that DC oddly doesn’t get a lot of the Yuengling portfolio. TL is ubiquitous, and sometimes I see the Light and Black and Tan, but the Porter, Premium, Chesterfield and everything else is distinctly missing.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yuengling Golden Pilsner is a year-round product.
    That is consistent with their goal of "refreshment category". As I posted above (as a question): a perfect summer picnic beer?

    Yuengling Golden Pilsner is not my favorite Pilsner but it has it's place IMO. And at 7 bucks a 6-pack I appreciate it for what it is.

    Oh_Dark_Star, drtth and FBarber like this.
  32. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (285) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I take it it's their Guten Tag beer? Sounds like an interesting brew.
    The malt provides a nice toasty and bready complexity through the use of decoction, while the hops are restrained to allow a soft and elegant finish.

    Original Gravity: 1.058 (14.3° Plato)
    Bitterness: 21 IBU
    Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.8%
    Malted Barley:
    Perle and Hersbrucker
    Bavarian Lager Yeast

    I wonder if it is a single malt beer using only Munich malt, that would certainly be very interesting if that's the case. And the decoction mashing is an interesting touch as well.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  33. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,854) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    My ability to get Yuengling is limited to occasional trips into NW IN. Much like what you see in DC @EmperorBatman, IN only has a limited number of options - Lager, Black & Tan, light lager and the Golden Pilsner. The guy working at the liquor store I stopped in to grab yuengling last time I was in NW IN told me the Golden Pilsner was only available in the summer months - perhaps they are only carrying it in the summer?

    For me personally, Id get it again, but probably not during the cold months. If refreshing was the goal, they nailed it IMHO.
    drtth and JackHorzempa like this.
  34. jeebeel

    jeebeel Initiate (176) Jun 17, 2003 Texas

    Yes, that's the one. Saint Arnold says that it is the same beer as a one-off Märzen they made a couple of years ago. That beer was 100% Munich malt and German hops. It was very tasty, and I'll be looking for the new beer tomorrow when distribution starts.
  35. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,269) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    When Yuengling introduced their Golden Pilsner I thought it had great promise. After three six packs of the stuff I'm not buying any more unless a trading partner want's some.
  36. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (285) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I see, that is very interesting to hear. Thanks for the information.
    jeebeel likes this.
  37. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (332) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Huh? Maybe a schwarzbier & dunkel, but I can't even picture a porter/dunkel hybrid.
    FBarber likes this.
  38. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,098) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    combine all 3 and maybe you get a Baltic porter? :wink:
    stevepat, Ranbot, cavedave and 4 others like this.
  39. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,456) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Changing planes in St. Louis, having an Urban Chestnut Zwickel. A welcome trend.
  40. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (116) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    But, I thought lagers were boring though.......?