To many better beer drinkers, lager is a dirty word. It’s the beer that we drank as broke, uninformed college kids — the Bud Lights, PBRs and Heinekens of the world. These beers are pale and watery, and made with adjuncts like corn and rice, and the import versions are often skunky and terrible. Ostensibly a nod to the country’s German heritage, the modern versions of these mass-produced lagers would likely be unrecognizable and disgusting to a beer-drinking immigrant of days gone by.
But to a growing number of brewers and beer geeks, lagers present the next frontier. Brewers are rediscovering and reinventing older lager styles — styles that have centuries of history, but have been largely forgotten by the public because they are lumped in with their baser, less interesting cousins.
Pike Brewing Company has released its more interesting lager, the summer seasonal Pike Derby Lager. It’s definitely on the light side, brewed using San Francisco Steam (California Common) lager yeast that ferments at 65 degrees. Sorachi Ace hops of Japanese origin flavor this brew along with a small portion of flaked brown rice to create its lovely, light mouthfeel.
The name? See that happy dog in the corner of Pike Brewing’s brewing room? That’s Derby, the brewery’s Boston Terrier mascot. This lager is pure bred, just like sweet Derby.
Pike Derby Lager is available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.