January 24, 2018
Firstly, everyone who’s had a beer, whether you enjoyed it or not, has had a lager. The Lager is what I consider the entry level beer. It’s the beer often used for parties, concerts and sporting events but I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that; In fact I really enjoy a lager here and there. Unfortunately it gets a bad rap by a lot of beer enthusiasts. This is because most craft breweries focus on Hops, Spices and big flavours. A lager shouldn’t be any of those things and therefore is brushed aside for IPA’s and Stouts (among many others).
Except every once and a while a Craft Lager will pop up from a brewery and I get to enjoy a simple refreshing beer. The first one that comes to mind is Muskoka Brewery’s Craft Lager. It features a light refreshing fizz without any murky aftertaste at all. What I mean by murky aftertaste is that often times a lager that has been heavily processed, or mass produced has a lingering flat taste after sipping. A lager should not linger.
Muskoka Brewery – http://www.muskokabrewery.com
This brings me to Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale. What does that mean? Well it means it is a Kölsch. What’s that? It is a Lager. Yes, a bit confusing, but stay with me. Lager is an umbrella term for how the beer is made. It has to do with the yeast and what temperature the beer was kept at during the brewing process which is generally colder. I won’t go into details because I wouldn’t get it right anyway. Besides, what is important is Lug Tread is a great beer to show off to your friends that you drink craft beer. Beau’s nailed the semi-sweetness of a lager with the contrast of hops. A great beer for year-round drinking and since it’s their flagship beer they have it available everywhere in bottles and most recently in short cans.
Beau’s Brewing Co. Lug Tread Lager Ale – Twitter.
Most recently I had Beau’s “Lamb’s Wool” Apple and Spice Gruit. Just about everything in this beer is organic which I find pretty cool. Apples from Quebec, Spring Water from near the brewery and real cinnamon and cloves. The apple juice was very apparent with a blanket of spice making this a very flavourful but lightweight beer. With much tinier bubbles than the Lug Tread this Gruit doesn’t fill you up nearly as much. Typically a Gruit would make up for the lack of heavy hops with boat loads of spices. This one found a happy place between spice and the tang of apple juice to produce something quite tasty. Conveniently February 1st is International Gruit day, and I wouldn’t look any further than Lambs Wool for that day. I would love to have this beer sitting outside under a warm sun, but that will have to wait.
In the mean time, Beau’s has their annual month long event “FeBREWary”. Every week for 5 weeks, Beau’s releases a new beer! Check out their website for the list a beers and where you can get your hands on them, including local pubs. I will also be grabbing these as well to write about. http://www.beaus.ca
A beer that is much more appropriate for this season is actually another Beau’s I had this week. “Dunkel” is also technically a Lager, but if I’m using Lager as an umbrella term then Dunkel is getting a bit wet. While the brewing process is fairly similar, a Dunkel features a much more dominant malt flavour. I describe malt as a salty caramel flavour that often feels a little heavier. The reason this beer would be good for colder weather is the natural warmth it gives after a nice big sip. It’s like a softer version of the warmth you would get from a decent scotch or bourbon (neither of which I can claim I’m an expert on).
When I first started trying new beers I simply picked the coolest name or the coolest looking label. I’ll admit that I still sometimes do, but now I am able to understand what I’m getting myself into based on the style of beer the brewers claim it to be.
I hope that learning a bit more about Lagers will help you choose some off the shelf. Of course there are plenty others that one day I will get to including Helles, Bock and more proper Kölsch.