I sure do love a good lager.
Yes, I know.
It’s all around us. Anyone can do that. Everyone does.
But I said good lager, which is a big leap from your run-of-the-mill American macro lager products.
Well, show me a good craft lager and I will show you a great brewery.
Somewhere along the way of brewing in America – I’m guessing post-Prohibition – puny, pale lagers became our brew of choice.
Don’t even get me started on “lite” beers. They do not count and people who drink them are infidels who don’t like beer.
So, lager is the beer of choice in America. But the macrobrew lager of our grandfathers (and, unfortunately, far too many of our contemporaries) is far different from a good, lively, malty lager with a sharp hop finish.
I’m always on the lookout, so was happy to see a sixer of Deschutes Pacific Wonderland. Never heard of it and never saw it before the other day, but I know Deschutes – unlike some other craft breweries with national distribution – is not going to put out a punk beer.
I love this crisp, clean, elegant lager. It’s so simple and still very complex. It seems, at this moment, to be the very epitome of lager – meaning, I guess, that this is my new favorite American lager.
At the core is a grainy flavor that defines lager for me and conjures up images and aromas and tastes and memories of those first amazing encounters with beer that are indelibly imprinted in the furrowed fields of my mind. That means a lot, recapturing those youthful first impressions of this malty liquid that has possessed my life.
I read on the packaging that Pacific Wonderland is brewed with citrusy Tettnang Mandarina hops. Thankfully, by the time I got the sixer home, stuck it in the magic fridge, made a red pepper sauce, threw some al dente penne into it, and cracked open the cold bottle of beer, I’d forgotten all about the labeling and just drank the beer without searching for those fruity, citrusy notes.
Any other time I would be searching for that stuff, but this time I just wanted a great, unfussy lager.