The beer community has been asking (begging?) since 2015 for more and different craft lagers to enter the market. Looking back at 2020, I think we got there!
Was it COVID that pushed the industry to make the final leap? The ability to store for longer periods of time definitely made sense given the volatility of retail in the early spring and summer.
Was it hop fatigue? Not likely, the dominance of the IPA continues to define the space, occupying >50% of the market.
Regardless, I saw a steady stream of releases that offered a fresh take on classic styles. Custom, craft malts melded with traditional yeasts and modern hopping techniques and ingredients combined to breathe new life into this category.
A few of my favorites are listed below……
I’m Not a Robot Kellerbier – DSSOLVR/Wooden Robot
Super cool collaboration that yielded a beautifully balanced offering. Fresh baked biscuits with a touch of floral character and lemon zest from Mt. Hood and Spalter Select hops. A result of malt selection (ours!), water chemistry, and brewhouse technique.
Pil-Zen – Fonta Flora
I knew Todd and his team had something fun up their sleeves when we received a credit check request from Numi Tea in California. The resulting beer was Pil-Zen, a 5.2% pilsner aged on jasmine green tea. The floral notes of tea provide the aromatic signature for this beer. I paired it with spicy peppercorn catfish from a local Thai restaurant. Perfect combo!
Sunseeker – Green Man
This beer folded in a custom, ultra-pale Pilsner malt that we put together for Green Man. The recipe for this one is probably the most traditional on this list. German yeast, crispy cracker based malt character, and noble hops. This beer was scored a 99 (out of 100) by Craft Beer and Brewing, one of only a handful to receive this score the entire year!
Hope everyone has a safe and prosperous new year!