Livin' in a Lager Desert

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by woodchipper, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. woodchipper

    woodchipper Savant (939) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Years ago I weaned my wife off BMC lagers and she is now a craft Pilsener/Helles/Kolsh and general lager fiend. Trouble is we live in a rural Connecticut area. Thanks to the "golden age" of craft beer I am in nirvana with the many styles I like. Trouble for her is, right now, coming out of winter were we live, the stores and bars have almost no lagers on the tight shelf space and tap lines. What they do have dates back to last summer and (seriously) the summer before.
    Late this spring and summer the shelves here may again have some craft lagers. It seems like most distributing breweries consider these styles seasonal. Some CT brewery tap rooms we go to do have lagers on tap year round, but not all.
    What is your opinion and what are your experiences with this?
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  2. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,755) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania

    I'm in Philadelphia, PA, the beer capital of the country (you can argue but you won't win) and I still suffer from this at some of my local taps (walking distance). 12 taps recently consisted of 5 IPAs, a tropical APA, Wells Banana Bread, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, two other stouts, a Scottish ale, and Bud Light (luckily the only BMC product). I'm of the belief that this was because of winter, but it always seems to be like this, at least with the IPAs. Whatever happened to keeping a good solid lager on all of the time? And why not a hefeweizen or other wheat? I know it's not summer but geez, why not? At least give me a decent Pils, even if it is one of those hop-forward versions. Some of those can almost stand in for an IPA anyway.

    But who's to blame? The distributor? The bar owner? The guy that orders the beer for the bar? Or us? Well I might not be a big part of the "us", but they wouldn't be pouring those beers if they weren't selling - so I say it's the consumer. Give the People what they want.
    #2 NeroFiddled, Mar 10, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  3. MNAle

    MNAle Savant (923) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Well, that would be why. If it doesn't sell, they won't re-stock and also the local breweries will brew lagers seasonally at best.
    Even though many of the new breweries, and even some of the established ones, are all ga-ga over turbidity, fortunately, I live in a lager rich area. Schell's is one of the best brewers of German beers in the country, and many of the locals have one or more pils in their year-round lineup, with Summit brewing one of the best Keller Pils around. We even have a couple of small breweries who specialize in German lagers, one of whom brews an absolutely wonderful Kölsch.

    In your part of the country, I am surprised you can't get Von Trapp beers, and then there is always Boston Lager and Yuengling.
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  4. woodchipper

    woodchipper Savant (939) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Yes, we can get Von Trapp, and they are killing it! Just looking for some variety.
  5. MNAle

    MNAle Savant (923) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Well, IDK if the shipping costs would be worth it to you, but France 44 ships to CT. Let me know if you want to do that, and I (and other BAs from MN) would be happy to give you some recommendations on our local lagers.
    woodchipper likes this.
  6. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,524) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    Every bar should have a good pils on tap, no excuse. At a minimum it is a good beer to reset your palate or use for stretching the night out. I have told several bars that I frequent you need to give up that one tap for this as it is the ultimate crossover beer also.
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  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    @NeroFiddled I would argue that the beer capital of the country would have a good representation of lagers year round, both imported and domestic.
  8. Troutbeerbum

    Troutbeerbum Initiate (89) Dec 5, 2016 Maine

    Lagers are around here, Pilsners seem to be in short supply.
  9. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,755) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania


    Haha, good point. I'm only referring to my local walking distance pubs which are technically, but not 'really' in Philly, although you do have a very good point. Not too far from me though (I could walk it in about 40 minutes) is Wissahickon Brewing Co. which always has a good Pilsner on tap.
    #9 NeroFiddled, Mar 11, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  10. PatrickCT

    PatrickCT Poo-Bah (1,616) Feb 18, 2015 Connecticut

    Things aren't much better on the coast of CT. Rarely can you find an interesting lager on tap in Fairfield Co. Also, some breweries that once focused on lagers, like Relic, make IPAs to stay in business. Can't blame them.
    What bothers me most is the lager-style beers that are actually ales. My blood boils in September when some of these "marzens" hit the shelves.
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  11. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,496) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Lots of them in the City.

  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,577) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And the Philly area does indeed have a wealth of riches as regards lagers but that is at the beer stores (cans/bottles). When it comes to craft beer bars it is the case that hoppy beers rule (and within the last year or so that would be the so called 'NE' style IPA).


    P.S. And there are some bars that will have lagers (e.g., Pilsners) on tap as you can see on the Philly Tap Finder site.
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  13. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (222) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    If you are in CT and you can get Von Trapp and Jack's Abby (plus Hofbrau and their seasonals), there's not much else you should need.
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  14. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,515) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Put up an ISO, I'm sure some nice BA in Philly who has a glut of lager and Pils would love some NE hoppy stuff. At least for a special occasion.
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  15. woodchipper

    woodchipper Savant (939) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    Jack's Abbey is great, but either due to distribution problems or Seasonal bull shit, nothing but the imitation IPAs or imitation Stouts hit the shelves here at this time of the year.
  16. OldLady

    OldLady Devotee (472) Apr 25, 2006 Connecticut

    Find a good local store and establish a relationship. Rather than search for fresh options, order what you need. Just did this with Jack’s Abby Post Shift and Saxony. Have done it in the past for Von Trapp, Schlenkerla and Troegs.

    Bars and restaurants - good luck! I’ve taken to ordering vodka when I go out as most tap lists are dominated by IPA/DIPA.
  17. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,217) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Ooops, misposted, never mind.
  18. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,217) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    We're fortunate out here that we have several Lager focused breweries (Chuckanut, Heater-Allen, Alpine), and a lot of breweries also make very nice lagers in addition to their ales.
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  19. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,917) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Orlison was in Casper for a while. I enjoyed their Lagers.
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  20. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,217) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Not sure what's up with them lately though. Would see packages and draft regularly around here, but not so much lately. Maybe @woemad knows something?
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  21. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (222) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    You get other Jack's Abby but not House Lager, Post Shift Pils and the seasonals like Saxony Lager, the Oktoberfest, Red Tape, etc? Thats strange.
  22. woemad

    woemad Poo-Bah (2,809) Jun 8, 2003 Washington

    Orlison is still around, but the former head brewer who stepped down (due to illness, iirc), formerly the owner when they were Golden Hills Brewing Co, seems to have taken their lager fidelity with him. Most of their recipes seem to be either relaunched as ales or available only in their Spokane taproom. They've had some success recently. Their Boulder Garden Brown Ale won gold at GABF last year.
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  23. cheeseheadinMinneapolis

    cheeseheadinMinneapolis Initiate (146) Sep 20, 2017 Minnesota

    Is Wisconsin the countries center and lager capital? You can not only get Wisconsin craft lagers but you can often find lagers from Minnesota, Chicago land, or from other states, or even from Europe.
  24. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Imitation stouts and pale ales?
  25. zid

    zid Champion (860) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I'm guessing @woodchipper is referring to how they make hoppy lagers that are meant to compete with IPAs, and barrel aged "baltic porters" that are meant to compete with popular craft stouts.
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  26. matcris

    matcris Meyvn (1,011) Sep 17, 2015 Arizona

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  27. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,387) Mar 12, 2009 New York

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  28. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,387) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    May I recommend OP take a road trip over to Elizaville, NY and stock up on as many Suarez Family pilseners/lagers as his vehicle will accommodate? Should be able to bring enough back to Connecticut with you to see you through until mid/late spring when others start to show locally to you.

    The only problem I see with this plan is the inevitable desire to go back for more after you taste how good they all are.
  29. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Whoa whoa whoa, while being a homer like most people here, I never mentioned any other places being "better". I was simply pointing out that paradox.
  30. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I wish there were more imitation stouts in the world. So tasty.
  31. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,387) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Huh? I didn't quote you.
  32. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Seems connected to me. :beers:
  33. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,387) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    I didn't reply to you, you were not tagged in my reply to @drtth ,and you never mentioned anything about Colorado beer in your posts that I could have been replying to. So yeah, definitely:confused:
  34. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    So what does Colorado have to do with lagers? That seems like a real out of nowhere statement.
  35. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,210) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    There is/was a Sam Adams seasonal variety pack that's nothing but lagers. It's still on the shelf around here. Seems like a safe choice if you're in a place with limited options. They might not be amazing, but they probably won't be bad either.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,577) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I will second the discussion that Chris (@Domingo) made concerning the Sam Adams lager variety pack. I purchased one and have about 3-4 bottles left. I was not a HUGE fan of the beers in the pack but they were not drain pours either. If they are for sale in your area of CT it is something to be considered.

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  37. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (222) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    No pretensions here - I love that lager pack, went through 2 already. Even the coffee and smoked ones were good.

    I also really like Boston Lager too, I have no problems picking up a 12pack of it when its on sale. I prefer the Boston Ale over the Lager but its not nearly as available.
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  38. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Zealot (504) Dec 12, 2014 California

    Place I frequent has Sam's seasonal on tap, so I'm good from August to January. Another place has Weihenstephaner Original, so I'm often drinking that (I love that beer).

    My best bet to find lagers would be to go to your local German restaurant. With the exception of Sam Adams and some Sierra Nevada, most American Lagers pale in comparison to their German cousins anyway.
  39. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Devotee (490) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Bought my first 6-pack of the ale recently and also prefer it, enough that it might become a go-to. If I can find it again. :rolling_eyes:
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  40. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,317) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Living in the high desert,I am fortunate to always have a nice selection of lagers available to me. I have probably drank more Marble Pilsner than any other beer since moving down to ABQ.