West Coast Lagers: Taking a Break From Maine Beers

It's been a mild ride this summer, loyal readers. We've been focusing on lagers, those even-tempered, highly quaff-able beers that are lower in alcohol and hops. We've sampled many lagers from Maine, and the Northeast in general, so it's time to broaden our horizons! This week, we're sampling lagers from the west coast. Next week, I'm taking some sorely-needed time-off. What will I sip when I return? I don't know! If you're so inclined, visit the Phoenix on Facebook, and tell me what style of beer you'd like me to sample in August!


Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils

Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 5.3%

Availability: Purchased at Joe's Super Variety

Tasting Notes: Pours a pale, greenish gold with a short-lived white head. Aroma is fresh and crisp, with green apple and some sourness. Initial flavor is bright and brassy, the tip sharpened with a modest but punchy dose of hops. The hops have the restrained flavor of the European “Noble” variety, so this is still recognizable as pilsner. The body is light, thin and snappy — easy to drink, but certainly not routine. The malt structure is refined and understated, giving structure to the subtle hops but not contributing too much sweetness. This is an elegant, strait-ahead pilsner, with just enough hops to keep the geeks interested. I just wish it came in a larger can!


Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Format Sampled: 12 oz. capped bottle

ABV: 5.0%

Availability: Purchased at Joe's Super Variety

Tasting Notes: Pours a completely clear yellow with a fine white head. Aroma is fresh, metallic and slightly skunky. The initial taste is a broad wash of mellow malt. It's faintly sweet, in a grainy, wholesome way — like fresh polenta. The hops provide a subtle, spicy bitterness, primarily perceptible at the edges of my tongue. This beer is stunning in its simplicity. Crisp, sweet malt, simple, spicy hops. That's it! No sour, no “hop hash.” Just a clean, pure, simple lager. For all their technical skill, Sierra Nevada has pulled of a masterpiece of elegant minimalism. Cheers!


Crux Pilz

Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 5.2%

Availability: Purchased at Rosemont Market and Bakery

Tasting Notes: Pours a slightly opaque, brilliant yellow with an enduring pure white head. Aroma has citrus oils, apricot, and a bakery-fresh sweetness. The initial flavor jumps with unique, fruity sweetness. Continuing the initial aroma, it's reminiscent of fresh apricot essence, tempered by a bit of burnt butterscotch. The sweet flavor is slightly tempered by a mild, herbal bitterness, but the overall impression remains on the sweeter side. The creamy body and the sweetish flavor make this lager an ideal pairing for a fruit salad, or perhaps even ice cream!


Last modified onTuesday, 25 July 2017 14:03