Brooklyn Waterfront Beer Festival + A Guide to Lagers

So this is John here. I read Andrew’s guest post the other day about the grilled shrimp, and it inspired me to write one myself. Mine, however, will be about beer.

Andrew mentioned how lagers in this country get a bad name, because like he said, they are generally pretty terrible. Unfortunately I feel that the great lagers of Germany and the Czech Republic have also gotten a bad rap due to these terrible American “beers” that usually contain the word “Light or Lite” as well as Euro trash beers from other parts of Europe (ahem….Stella). Lagers are great in the heat of summer, but they’re drinkable all year round. They are thirst-quenching, coiffable, and tasty.

A few weekends ago Tiffanie & I went to the Brooklyn Waterfront Beer Festival overlooking Manhattan. This beer fest had 86 different breweries from all over the world! I was really excited for this fest mainly due to the great number of lagers that were going to be on sample there. While we tasted several great beers, our favorites were probably from 508 Gastrobrewery here in NYC – they served a delicious saison and black IPA.

Even though saison was the best style represented at the festival, there were also some tremendous lagers being poured at this event. They had several delicious German lagers, in addition to Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic, which honestly is a flavorable beer that I love even though it is owned by SAB Miller. These particular Pilsner Urquell kegs were shipped within 30 days so the beer was very fresh.  The Fest also featured some excellent lagers from some US craft breweries. One thing that I always fear when drinking a lager from one of the US craft breweries is that they tend to go a little heavy on hops, which doesn’t quite go with the style. While I love a very hoppy IPA, it is not what I want in a lager. The lagers we had at the festival were definitely not of the hoppy variety – they were very balanced.

Before listing a few excellent lagers to try this summer I want to mention one important fact: lagers are not always golden beers. Now a few delicious brews:

  1. Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Oskar Blues Brewing Company – A Czech Pilsner from Andrew’s home state of Colorado.  A good all-around lager.
  2. Bomb Lager, Bomb Brewery – A German Helles lager from a brewery based in New York City.  Had many of these at the beer fest, and in fact got 3 free 6-packs from the owners working at the fest.  Coincidentally they were both originally from Chicagoland and lived in the town next to where I grew up…maybe that is why we got all of those free beers from them!
  3. Pilsner Urquell, SAB Miller – The most well known Czech pilsner.  If you haven’t had it, go and try it.
  4. Gold Standard, Brooklyn Brewery – A limited release from Brooklyn.  It is a kellerbier style which is an excellent unfiltered German lager.  Similar to Stiegl, which we had at a Northwestern tailgate last fall.
  5. Zwickl Lager, Acrobrau – Another great unfiltered German lager.  Fantastic beer!

These are all very refreshing, flavorful beers.  I recommend these with some grilled sausages while outside on a warm summer afternoon/evening.  Cheers!

One comment

  1. starael

    What a great beer fest! Thanks for writing this post about lagers. I love the picture of the first beer, it looks so refreshing! I know we’ll have to put these on our list of beers to try!

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