Well, Bob and I decided to give pale lagers another go. We have come to the conclusion that we have way too many beers to work though and for full disclosure notice, we did this tasting after a round of double IPA’s. So, if you think our soon be trademark style is a little off, it’s because we had a wee bit too much to drink that day.
In this session we have a lot of St. Louis connections. We tried an AB-In Bev lager that they don’t see fit to let us drink, a beer who’s recipe is from pre-prohibition St. Louis, a new St. Louis Brewery, and the go to import beer. Bob and I aren’t really too big on lagers anymore, but they definitely have their time and place. There’s nothing like a great light lager to add to my bbq sauce or to drink while I’m grilling outside in August, but drinking these in the dead of winter clearly were not any of those times.
Michelob Golden Draft (5.0% ABV)
Nik: This is in my humble opinion the second best beer AB-In Bev produces. The first being the light version of this beer. No matter how many times I ask them, they won’t sell it in St. Louis, only the “Great Lake States.” Any time I can, I buy up this stuff. It’s very clear with a small head of tight bubbles. There’s a very malty nose on this one. It has a sweet, malty flavor with no bitterness or hops. All in all, this is a great beer, and I’m going to buy two cases of it when I go to the Twin Cities later this year.
Bob: This is a very pale straw color in the glass, with a slightly skunky odor. Has a minimal head and a sweet taste. Just barely OK, and certainly nothing I would go out of my way to find again.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager (4.9% ABV)
Nik: Years ago, I heard Jim Kock on KSHE 95 with the Mighty Favazz talking about the origins of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It’s actually made from a recipe from St. Louis in 1860 called Louis Kock Lager. My thought was, well I still don’t like it. My tastes have changed a bit, but not too much. Like the Golden Draft, it’s perfectly clear and has a big head of tight bubbles. It smells of malts and has a sweet taste without any bittering or hop flavor to speak of. I still don’t think it’s all that great and the name is a lie.
Bob: Liquid a medium golden color. Can easily detect both malt and hops in the aroma. Another brew that is pretty sweet, but somehow it still goes down pretty smooth. I never turn down one of these at a restaurant, especially if someone else is buying. A very acceptable, though not outstanding, lager that can be enjoyed with food.
Kräftig Lager (4.6% ABV)
Nik: Billy Busch the son of Gussie Busch Jr has decided to enter the brewing industry. He apparently didn’t have to sign an agreement like Auggie III or August IV did. There has been a great deal of hype over this new beer and some questions. I’m still confused about it honestly. It’s very clear and very pale. It has a good head and a skunky aroma, but it’s not pleasing like Moosehead. It tastes very sweet. For what it is, it’s not great but it’s not bad either. It’s probably the best macro/regional/whatever the deuce they are lager in the area.
Bob: As most of you already know, especially if you are from the St. Louis area, this brew is a recent introduction from another member of the exalted Busch family, who was either miffed that the A-B brewery was sold, or simply saw an opportunity to capture some of the local animosity towards its new foreign owner by bringing out his own beer. Although he can’t use the Bud names, he’s not shy about letting everyone know who makes Kraftig. If his beer was better that market strategy might work, but this offering is nowhere near as good as most A-B Inbev products. A medium strong color, it has a very mild aroma of hops, which is much better than the taste, which leaves almost everything to be desired.
Heineken (5% ABV)
Nik: This is the go to import lager for American beer drinkers. It is very clear, like any lager worth its salt should be. It has a very big head full of large bubbles. Unlike the others in this session, there is a much stronger hoppy taste to meld with the malts making it bitter instead of sweet.
Bob: When we’re talking (and tasting) pale lagers, as we did in this session, I always have to come back to Heineken as my standard reference. While not completely perfect, it has most of what a good lager should. Pale color, nice white head, good (perhaps even a little excessive) carbonation, strong (though characteristically skunky) hop aroma, and very pleasing bitterness in the taste and aftertaste. As long as it is stored correctly throughout distribution, it tastes exactly the same from batch to batch, and I drink it year round as one of my favorite go-to brews. Nothing tastes better after sports, yardwork or other physical activity, and the second goes down as smooth as the first.