In a way, it feels that the craft beer industry has finally come full-circle flavor/style-wise. Craft beer itself was and continues to be a way to combat the macrobreweries of the world, who churn out generally flavorless pilsner-style rice and corn beers.
If you’re unfamiliar, go to any dive bar near you and check out the tap list. As a result of this “something’s gotta give” mentality, craft brewers began bending and twisting the rules of beer, creating the flavors and styles we’ve seen become so prevalent over the years.
Once upon a time, a BA Stout was a super-unique and rare find. Who had ever heard of a Milkshake IPA?
Nowadays, however, the burnout has begun to set in. In some ways the beer industry is cyclical- and the recent rise in popularity of lagers is a consequence of this very concept.
Sure, your average 3-hop juicy IPA is a wonderful treat that could put a smile on anyone’s face, but sometimes a person just craves the classics. This has led to the creation of beers such as Good River Beer’s American Pilsner- in true American fashion, they took a classic style of beer and effectively beefed it up.
This Denver-based beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV, with a gentle but firm nudge upward in the IBU range. If your average pilsner was your childhood bully, this American Pilsner is your big brother, come to stand his ground in defiance.
What is particularly interesting about the longtime lager-suppression that is now being eased is that, simply put, lagers are the more intricate style of beer. Where your average ale takes a week in primary fermentation and a week in secondary for flavoring and conditioning, a lager takes six weeks or more to be ready to drink.
This process includes delicate temperature increases and drops, flavoring, and more, and it shows in the end. Lagers have a crisp, clean quality that is rare to find in an ale.
Here’s to the simpler styles of craft beer- the unsung heroes. Sure, your average pilsner or kellerbier isn’t loaded with flavor, but one can certainly crush a hefty number of them during an all-day cornhole tournament in a buddy’s backyard. Credit where credit is due, and a raised glass to the return of the mighty lager.