Session #25: Lager. The Beer Nut suggests we "return to our roots" and calls for us to leave those fancy-pants imported lagers aside. In his kick off post, he also writes up Dundee Honey Brown Lager and calls it the very sort of fancy-pants imported lager we should not be blogging about, and this is a problem for me, for whom Dundee Honey Brown is local, not imported, and stands as the quintessential middlebrow brau. There is roughly the same amount of space between it and Budweiser as there is between Applebee's and Wendy's. So what lager can I find that fills the space between craft and crap?
06 March 2009
Actually, The Beer Nut backtracks a bit and says Honey Brown is exactly the sort of beer we should discuss. Nonetheless, I felt self-conscious about over-shooting this one. Fortunately for me, this is the time of year where Genesee (ultimately, the same brewery that makes the Dundee line) releases its "special edition" Bock Beer. The brew is a bit darker than The Beer Nut's recommended pilseners, light lagers, or helleses, but it runs about $6.50 for a 12-pack, so I don't think I aimed too high on this one. And how can anyone resist the early-60s-wallpaper style can design?
Genny Bock is attractive enough to justify pouring into a glass: clear amber with a big (but superficial) head. On the tongue, it's over-carbonated and light-bodied. The finish will prove to be metallic (or maybe that's just me fixating on the can). But before that, it's a pretty good beer. A little caramel flavor, some very light floral hops. It's not too sweet or corny or rice-y. It doesn't warm all that well, but is more than just thirst-quenching for 90 degree days. It's damn well better than any other Genesee beer. I never regret buying a full 12-pack, although one pack a year usually suffices.
I can't say Genny Bock is really a 'roots' beer for me. I didn't drink this in high school or college, and it wasn't a regular choice for me before I became connoisseur and hobbyist. Still, I'm glad to see it when it comes out each year. It's what an unpretentious value lager should be, and it's a shame there aren't many American regional breweries that produce stuff like this anymore.