Stroh’s Bohemian-Style Pilsner

Image by Gordon O'Keefe

Image by Gordon O’Keefe

I may have a reputation as beer snob, but that is not the case.  I’m just a regular guy from the crummy south suburbs and I am proud to present to you:  Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner – the review.  The re-introduced Stroh’s, brewed by The Stroh Brewing Company (a.k.a. Brew Detroit), Detroit, MI.  It’s got that typical sweet bouquet of an American adjunct lager.  Light to medium gold, Stroh’s has a thin white head and some OK lacing.  It tastes sweet initially, but it doesn’t take long for the bitterness makes its presence known.  Not overpowering, but definitely there.  The bouquet has a touch of rust.  I don’t remember exactly how the original, or more accurately, the 1980s version of Stroh’s tasted, but I’d say this is probably richer and more flavorful than the original.  It’s reminds me of the reformulated Schlitz.  Tastier than Old Style or Miller High Life.  I like it.

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Oktoberfest Celebration Lager

Photo by Fabiano da Silva

Photo by Fabiano da Silva

Ooh, I can smell the sweetness from two feet away as I open this can of Oktoberfest Celebration Lager from Rochester Mills Beer Company, Auburn Hills, MI.  Generous carbonation keeps the 1/8 head afloat for a good long time and sticky lace foreshadows malty loveliness.  The bouquet is sweet with a touch of rust and some alcohol sharpness, and at 6.2% ABV it does what I want it to do.  Malty, caramel, medium-bodied and saliva thickening, Oktoberfest Celebration Lager is good stuff, and one of the perks of the season.

85/100 Oktoberfest

South Side Pride

south side

Image courtesy of Baderbrau Brewing Company

Yep, I’ve got it.  You can’t grow up at 149th and Hamlin and not have it.  South Side Pride.  What am I proud of, specifically?  None of your damn business is what.  But South Side Pride beer-flavored beer from Baderbrau Brewing Company, Chicago, IL is a nice representation of what south siders might consider pride-worthy.  This 4.8% Munich Helles Lager is light gold and decently carbonated. The less-than-luxuriant head lasts a surprisingly long time.  South Side Pride is mildly sweet, but notable for its grainy qualities and it’s generous use of light malts.  The taste is grainy and malty, a touch dry, a touch bitter.  There’s a lot going on here, more than meets the eye.  But the beer, like we south siders, is not vainglorious.  It’s Polish, it’s Irish, it’s German and it’s us.  It knows what it is.  It’s a good, hard-working, fun-loving beer that would love the opportunity to kick Old Style’s ass back north.

Go Sox!

Hofbrau Original

CT  CTH Original_500ml.jpgHofbrau Original, from Hofbrau Munchen, certainly pours beautifully, being medium gold with a generous, lacey, white head and just a bit of carbonation.  The bouquet is crisp with a bit of rust, but generally very clean smelling.The malt to hop ratio is good, with an initial sharpness followed by a light sweetness and finished with mild dryness.  Hofbrau Original is deceptively smooth, with the seemingly low carbonation level making it very drinkable, and at the same time very capable of bringing on a surprise belch if you are not careful.  What the hell, throw caution to the wind, quaff and belch!  This is a real German lager (or Munich helles) (but the word “ale” is on the label…why?) and what a lot of them aspire to be.  It’s flavorful enough to be good, but not the best beer you’ll ever have.  At least I hope not.  Hofbrau Original is simple and satisfying.

80/100 lager

Lake House

Image courtesy of Capital Brewery

Image courtesy of Capital Brewery

Here’s a lager that really does beg to be consumed during the summer, at the lake house or on the stoop listening to a ball game on the radio.  I still want you to pour it into a glass.    Lake House, from Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI, is straw colored and well carbonated, enough so to regenerate a filmy head throughout the entire time it takes you to drink one.  The clean bouquet has hints of sweetness and mild sulphury hop oils.  It’s sharp and lively on the tongue, and the initial sweetness ends with a tad of bitterness.  Exhale through your nose after a gulp for a good dose of malt, or at least as a way of appreciating some of the malt subtleties that might be missed otherwise.

I like it, you’ll like it too.  A good summer beer.

85/100 American Lager

Lucky Bucket Lager

Image courtesy of Lucky Bucket Brewing Company

Image courtesy of Lucky Bucket Brewing Company

On a recent stop in Omaha, I knew I wanted a steak, but wasn’t sure if there was a good local beer to go with it.  Then, the waitress at Anthony’s Steak House told me that I might like to try a Lucky Bucket Lager.  Brewed in La Vista, NE, Lucky Bucket Lager is like Yeungling Lager, but better.  To some that may sound like faint praise, but to me that is a fine compliment.  Lucky Bucket Lager is a deep gold color, with a fair amount of carbonation, but very little of the white head is left after about a minute.  The bouquet is a well-balanced malt/hop deal, and very inviting.  The taste follows, with a strong malt presence up front and a hop finish that doesn’t dry the mouth.  Very flavorful, very good.  Read the description on their website:  it’s perfectly accurate.

90/100 American Lager

Herrmanndorfer Schweinsbrau Gold

With a label like this it has to be good.

With a label like this it has to be good.

This medium gold Bavarian lager (Munich helles) sports a decent 1/4″ fine-bead head after the pour, having a light haze and some fine particulate matter that floats lazily throughout.  The bouquet is clean with a hint of rust and a decent malt backbone.  The generous lacing slowly slides down the glass and dissolves back into the beer.  Schweinsbrau Gold has a mild sweetness and a mild bitterness in the finish and the 4.8% ABV makes it pretty drinkable.  It’s not at all unique, reminiscent of a lot of anonymous German lagers I have know but won’t bother to enumerate.  My cousin saw the label and thought of me.  Thanks Ana.

66/100 Lager