Monday, April 16th, 2018

Craft Beer Crosscut 4.16.18: A Flight of Lagers

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightConsider the lager. Lagers are typically brewed at a low temperature to allow the yeast to reach its maximum flavor potential. The lower temperatures cause the lager to ferment at a much slower rate than ales. However, the results are a brew that is clearer than ales, which are brewed at higher temperatures. Lagers are brewed using the yeast called Saccharomyces uvarum. It does not rise to the top like the yeast used in ale but does end up at the bottom once fermentation is reached. This particular yeast does not sporulate as a result of being a more fragile yeast. Thus, making it perfect for lagers because of the cooler temperatures used for brewing. The more fragile type of yeast used in lagers contains less alcohol content. This is a result of not being able to thrive in the lower temperatures for as long as the ales. Consider lagers considered. Now let’s drink different types of lagers in our beer flight, Craft Beer Crosscut 4.16.18: a Flight of Lagers.

Kulshan-Premium-Lager-TacomaKulshan Premium Lager

5% ABV, 12 IBU

Kulshan Brewing grabbed gold at the 2017 Washington Beer Awards for its Premium Lager. Now a year-round offering, the canned craft beer is light and refreshing lager with just enough crispness to balance the malts perfectly. Subtle grain and light hop aroma adds to this thirst quenching beer. Made with Mt. Rainer hops, its aroma is full of straw with grains and bread backing. Flavor is similar with straw, some sweet grain and a bit of bread.

North-Coast-Scrimshaw-Pilsner-TacomaNorth Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner Style Beer

4.7% ABV, 22 IBU

Everyone loves a good Pilsner and this one’s a classic. Named for the delicate engravings popularized by 19th century seafarers, North Coast Brewing’s Scrimshaw is a fresh tasting pilsner brewed in the finest European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. It pours a honey gold with a frothy, white head. Grains and soft hop notes abound in the aroma. The swallow is closer to a pale ale, starting with ample two-row malt sweetness, followed by lemony, zesty hop tastes. The perfect carbonation and light body create a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a crisp, dry finish and mild fruity aftertaste. It’s not trying to do anything fancy — it’s just a very well-balanced pilsner. It’s not a hop bomb, or a malt showcase. It’s just clean, thirst-quenching lager.

Moonlight-Death-and-Taxes-TacomaMoonlight Death & Taxes

5% ABV

Dark lagers drink like their golden counterparts but enjoy exquisite depths of flavor that demonstrate a brewer’s skill and imagination. Moonlight Brewing Co. has been tastefully liquefying barley in Sonoma County, California since 1992. It’s famous beer dubbed as “the original San Francisco-style Black Lager,” Death & Taxes is a refreshingly light-bodied, crisp and roasty lager. A pint of Death is the perfect beer to celebrate Tax Day, and, in fact, all the days before and after.

Paulaner-Salvator-TacomaPaulaner Salvator

7.9% ABV, 28 IBU

There is a smiling monk and an English gentleman on the label for the Salvator. What’s not to like? Answer: nothing. This is delicious. The Paulaner Friars invented the doppelbock 400 years ago, and is actually the founding beer of Paulaner. Beautiful bready aromas, with tinges of alcohol spiciness, waft enticingly from the rocky, cream-color head. German malts flow sweetly across the tongue, brightened by green grape and cherry fruitiness.

Wander-Global-Mutt-Baltic-Porter-TacomaWander Global Mutt Baltic Porter

7% ABV, 42 IBU

Unlike English porters, Baltic porters are lagers, not ales. When England introduced porters to the Balkans region of Europe, the people balked at the ale. They were lager yeast folks. These creative brewers used lager yeast and began brewing stronger and stronger versions of the English porter, creating what today is known as Baltic porter — almost a lager version of an imperial stout with a lot of roasted character, chocolaty notes, and hints of coffee and creaminess. Wander Brewing Co. in Bellingham is all about global Baltic porters. Its Global Mutt Baltic porter sources its coffee direct from a farmer in Brazil, fair trade cocoa nibs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, chocolate from Theo’s in Seattle, water from Bellingham (duh), hops from Yakima and specialty malt from Europe. It’s big and delicious.