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The New Cool

A sampling of American craft lagers.


In the July/August 2012 issue, we herald the rise of lagers in the craft beer landscape. In the first three decades of the American craft beer movement, lagers—the cold-fermented, cold-conditioned easy drinkers native to Germany and the Czech Republic—were largely shunned, partly because they were associated with watery macrobrews, and also because they require more production time than ales. But now, lagers are getting their share of the spotlight, and there’s a reason they’ve been celebrated for centuries around the world—they can be just as delicious and nuanced as ales. Here are 8 to try, and for more, check out the July/Aug issue.



Brooklyn Lager

This Brooklyn original combines traditional Vienna amber lager stylings with a dry-hop twist for a smooth, aromatic palate pleaser.


Full Sail LTD 3

The summer edition of Full Sail’s LTD limited-edition lager series is a righteously golden, honey-noted lager with a zippy hop finish.


Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Lager

Ride the wave of cool lager refreshment with this Big Island-inspired beer from Kona Brewing Company. Lagered for more than a month and brewed with traditional German and Czech hops (along with a dose of Mt. Hood hops for a slight spicy kick), this lager is an easy-drinking favorite among those in Hawaii and on the Mainland alike.


New Belgium Blue Paddle

This Czech-style pilsner was New Belgium’s first foray into lagers back in 1999—predating the brewery’s latest offering, the canned Shift Lager—and its pure drinkability has made it a classic.


Ninkasi Helles Belles

The first in this Oregon brewery’s Prismatic Series of lagered beers, this Munich helles–style refresher features authentic pilsner and Vienna malts and a duo of German hops.


Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager

The second in the hyper-local Chatoe Rogue series of beers made with hops and malts from Rogue’s own Oregon hopyard and barley farm (plus coastal water), this full-bodied, dark lager won World’s Best Lager honors at the 2010 World Beer Awards.


Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Samuel Adams’ first beer, back in the mid-1980s, was the beer that launched a thousand craft beers. The Boston Beer Co. did lagers when lagers weren’t cool, and now many other craft brewers are joining them in flying the lager flag.


Sixpoint The Crisp

Formerly called Sehr Crisp (very crisp, in German), this light but flavorful Noble-hopped Brooklyn offering got a facelift last summer—it’s now packaged in picnic-ready tallboy cans.