20 July 2008

Brooklyn Lager/Blue Point Toasted Lager (NY)

I'm going through a bit of a lager spell right now. Like any other style, and I occasionally have a hankering for them. Still, I know that many beer geeks feel as the Modern Drunkard does in this blast from the past post:

lager: there are those who like to say this light, golden beer is served cold so as to distinguish it from urine, but the truth of the matter is urine also has a much better head.
I decided to give Blue Point's Toasted Lager a try, using Brooklyn Brewery's better known lager as a benchmark.

The beers look nearly identical: clear amber/copper with white head. I think Brooklyn's foam lasts a bit longer. Tastewise, Blue Point strikes me as simply a more competently made version of the lagers we Americans grew up with. It has good malty flavor -- no light or sour corniness. However, it isn't really toasty. The hop kick exceeds that of macros, obviously, but isn't huge (28 IBUs, according to the brewer, but against not too rich of a malt backbone). Fairly flavorful, clean, crisp and refreshing.

Brooklyn Lager is either more exciting or more wrong. It brings more flavor and more hop presence; more bite, and a bit of pilsener scratchiness. What's most noteworthy is the American citrusy hops whose bitterness hit at the end. It's made with Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Vanguard and Cascade, and the last of these isn't hidden. To me, it's reminiscent of an APA or Amber Ale. Looking at what most people say online, I didn't see a lot of others pointing this out, so maybe I'm just sensitive to grapefruit bitterness. All told, it's a better bet for those underwhelmed by most lagers.

Both are defined at ratebeer as Vienna lagers. Neither are much like Great Lakes Eliot Ness, which amps up a toffee-like sweetness and tastes very Octobery. I've heard people recommend Brooklyn Lager as a gateway beer, but I don't know. A lot of people just don't like that citrusy bitterness. Blue Point would be a safer bet, but maybe doesn't do enough to drag macro drinkers into the craft beer realm. I like both beers.


TBC said...

I think Blue Point might have something going for it. I recently tried their Blueberry Ale, and was pleasantly surprised by it. After reading this review, I think I'll give their Toasted Lager a try too!

Buttle said...

I wasn't enthralled with their Blueberry Ale, but I'm not crazy about a lot of fruit beers. It was probably better than most. The Toasted Lager is worth a try; it doesn't try to redefine the style or anything.