So for this Session, let's get back to basics. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose early drinking career featured pale lager in abundance, so consider this a return to our roots as beer drinkers. Don't even think about cheating the system: leave your doppelbocks and schwarzbiers out of this one: I want pilsners, light lagers, helleses and those ones that just say "beer" because, well, what else would it be?
So basic lagers it is. Often maligned as flavorless, bland, and ignored, this group of beers owes their undeserved reputation to those truly flavorless, bland beers foisted upon unsuspecting and ill-informed drinkers by the big factory brewers. Despite that confusion, there are indeed plenty of good, full-flavored lagers available for our enjoyment.
Although Pale Ales, IPAs, Stouts and other ales get most of my attention, there's always a basic lager or two on hand. Whenever I'm selecting beers for a party, I keep at least one lager on the menu. Friends who drink macro-lagers will usually be willing to try a craft lager. Starr Hill Jomo Lager is an excellent lager that I've used to introduce folks to craft beer. Brooklyn Lager is another craft lager that's readily available locally.
My aversion to inappropriately ice-cold beers is well-documented. However, when a very cold beer is warranted, a cold lager is often the best option. A good lager will stand up to being enjoyed extra cold better than a double IPA or a stout. Old Dominion Beach House Golden Pilsner is a good Summer lager, excellent after a day of yard work. Locally, Blue & Gray Classic Lager is a popular choice. After a day of tasting beers at a festival, it's often a crisp lager that I'll end my day with. The lower alcohol is welcome, and the fresh, sharp flavors refresh the palate.
For this Session review I selected Dominion Lager from Old Dominion Brewing. Dominion Lager is readily available at the local grocery store and is a staple in my beer refrigerator. This Dortmunder-style lager pours a copper-tinted yellow with a thick white head. The head is long lasting and leaves behind sticky lacing. The aroma is that of sweet bread, with some citrus and grass notes. The flavor is bready malt with a hint of tartness. Bitter hops come through in the finish and linger in the aftertaste. Overall, this is a simple yet refreshing beer.
Good lagers are certainly not hard to find. If you think lager is synonymous with bland, think again. Don't let the reputation of the boring American macro-lager get in your way of enjoying a refreshing, classic beer.
Be sure to check back at The Beer Nut for the Session roundup. Meanwhile, you can participate in The Session live via Twitter by adding #thesession to your posts and following along here.
Update, March 10: John has posted his summary here. Apparently this was a graded assignment. Some bloggers' interpretations "failed".