Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stoudt's Gold Lager (Stoudt's Brewing Company)

This Beer Club entry was contributed by Justin Williams -- bless him. The only beer I have previously had from Stoudt's was their Double IPA, which I found to be big-bodied and multi-dimensional, so I am looking forward to this.

I did a little research to make sure I understood the distinction between a beer classified as "Munich-style helles lager" (such as Victory's Victory Lager, and the present Stoudt's Gold Lager) and one classified as "helles bock" (such as Victory's St. Boisterous, which I tasted the other night). Bock is, after all, a subtype of lager. It more or less boils down to this: the helles lager is a malted down version of the bitter hopped pilsner style, and the helles bock is a hopped up version of the malty bock style. The gloriously nuanced spectrum of beer!

On a superficial note before I get down to tasting, I'm not crazy about the Gold Lager label design. To me it looks kind of amateurish, and misses the opportunity to convey the impression of a German-style beer with full-pedigree European ingredients. But will matter much less if the beer tastes good.

This poured a rich yellow-gold, with half an inch of white foam. There was the slightest trace of haze, which surprised me. It's possible the glass was just fogged? The aroma was clean and subdued, but slightly grainy with a trace of citrus.

Sipping, you get a bite of good ol' hop bitterness, then a sting of carbonation, then a fade into delightful flowery fruitiness. There is an expertly struck balance between the floral contribution of the hops and the sweet malt body -- the result of good ingredients, masterfully blended. That taste is definitely worth the price of admission. The main body ends fairly quickly into a not entirely dry finish where the fruitiness lingers pleasantly.

In summary, definitely more flavorful than your average pilsner, but with some of the same crispness and appeal. In this helles from Stoudt's I've found one of the few American-made lagers that I would consider adding to my rotation.

Featured beer:

Stoudt's Gold Lager

Honorable mentions:

Stoudt's Double IPA

St. Boisterous

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