Proudly macrobrewed? Drinkability?? Up for anything??? There are many buzzwords and phrases being thrown around in the beer business today, some of which center around one style of beer that has been brewed since the early days, way back when Germany enacted a law limiting the ingredients of beer to barley, hops, water and nothing else: lager.
I’ll forgo the history lesson about where it came from (Europe, Germany, 1800s), how it was made (bottom-fermented yeast, cool-conditioned) and why it’s so big now (Anheuser-Busch became the first American brewery to implement pasteurization, which greatly improved the shelf-life and transportability of its beers). Instead I’ll jump right to the beer.
Lighter beer and lager drinkers can get caught between a large company and hard snob space, with people yelling (or aggressively discussing) about what beer you should enjoy. When my guests ask me what they should drink, I respond with a simple question: What do you like? And I follow up with, “Here are some similar styles brewed locally.” So if a guest has a palate for a lighter style beer, I steer them to small-scale options that have incredibly flavor. Because guess what? Small scale golden ale or lagers do exist! You can #drinklocal and light at the same time.
Barley Mow Brewing out of Largo, Florida, has a great example of a golden ale called…wait for it…American Golden Ale. (It’s OK, you don’t have to salute.) It’s an easy-drinking brew with biscuity under tones that won’t get too heavy and does have excellent crushability (that’s another buzzword for easy to drink and stored in a can). Other local examples include Florida Lager and it’s cousin Native Lager (a paler version) from Florida Beer Company, Guilded Lager from Two Henrys Brewing out of Lakeland, and if you want to get a little crazy with a slightly sweet example, there’s always Orange Blossom Pilsner brewed out of Lakeland’s Brew Hub (this beer has been a local staple for years and it’s hard to say no to). Even the largest local brewery in the state of Florida, Cigar City, is getting into the lager mix with their newest release simply called Tampa-Style Lager, a beer with the tagline “made for Drinkin’.”
So if you ever want to try those lighter styles from the local guys, they’re there for you.
James Beaver, Beer Consultant – Orlando