Lagers got a bad rap during the first phase of the craft brewing boom. Everyone was focused on pale ales, stouts, and porters because those were the styles that were ignored by the large macro brewers. No one in their right mind was going to try and market a craft lager head-to-head with the big boys because it was a losing proposition. Brew a hoppy IPA and the macro brewers from Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Golden would ignore your presence while they pummeled the airwaves with anthropomorphic beer bottles and the Swedish bikini team.
Craft beer has matured and gained legitimacy well beyond what anyone could have expected in the 1990s or even the early part of the new century. As brewers have matured pale ales to their logical—and sometimes illogical—conclusions as a style their attention has shifted to producing lagers. One needs look no further than the Front Range of Colorado and the most anticipated brewery opening in a long time—Bierstadt Lagerhaus.
Ask about any brewer worth his or her salt and they will say that they are looking forward to this opening with bated breath. Want more proof? Ever increasing numbers of breweries are adding lagers to their lineups. Minneapolis’ Indeed Brewing Company joins this trend with Dandy Lager:
Lagers are hard. There is no hiding a brewer’s error in a lager like there might be with a stout or a porter. Heck, a lot of IPAs were made drinkable by the addition of copious amounts of hops and a prayer to the bittering gods. It’s my contention that the creation of the Randalizer was an attempt to save schwag beer from the drain.
Lagers are supposed to be clean and crisp. Dandy Lager definitely nails that part of the equation. At 5.4% ABV and 40 IBU this beer is walking a path down the middle of the road. It also tries to be something more. Perhaps it is trying to bridge the gap between pale ale and lager to create a hybrid pale lager or hoppy lager. There is a faint “hoppiness,” but it is gone so quickly from your palate that it is but a specter. Maybe if they dry hopped…wait a second, this is not really what lager is supposed to be like. It is supposed to be clean and crisp and easy to drink without a ton of the overpowering flavors and aromas that accompany a pale ale.
Those same characteristics are also what holds a lager back from being truly memorable. Maybe as these brewers refine their craft some truly groundbreaking and amazing lagers will come out of the fermentation tanks. Until then we are left with lagers a notch above what the macro brewers are pumping out:
See what others are saying about Indeed Brewing Dandy Lager @ Beeradvocate.