Lagers often get a bad rap: Too subtle, too pedestrian, not hoppy enough. But an increasing number of interestingly hopped lagers are popping up, merging the style’s classic grainy malts and snappy finish with a wider range of hop flavors from varieties new and old (and some lagers even flirt with IPA brawn, like the trendy India Pale Lager, or IPL). These six are some of the best we’ve sipped this year.
Saranac Wild Hop Pils: A healthy dose of Yakima Valley Belma hops threads lovely orange and melon flavors through a soft, malty base; the hop bitterness and snappy lager finish combine for an ultrarefreshing swallow.
Ruhstaller Gilt Edge: Native Cluster hops are making a comeback, and Gilt Edge is one of our favorite vehicles for the pre-Prohibition variety. The beer combines the earthy, peppery hop with citrusy Cascade variety for an engaging fruity, spicy sip.
Speakeasy Metropolis Lager: Mosaic and Saphir, two trending hops from the States and Germany, respectively, lace this quaffable grainy lager with bright tangerine and subtle scallion notes.
Full Sail 26 Cascade Pilsner: This 6%-ABV, 60-IBU single-hopped Cascade lager drinks like an IPL, cramming a wealth of orange, grapefruit and grass into each snappy, bitter swallow.
Smuttynose Frankenlager: Another IPL, clocking in at 6.1%-ABV and 60 IBUs. Toasted bread flows back with a honey-sweet kiss while complementary pineapple, grass and lemon hop notes (courtesy of Magnum and Saphir varieties) sing above the swallow. A brawny, bitter bite caps off this colorful lager.
Sweetwater Take Two Pils: A reintroduction to the beauty and balance of German pilsners. A blend of classic Mt. Hood, Saaz and Styrian Golding hops paint each malty-sweet sip with earthy, floral hop tones before spritzy carbonation scrubs the tongue clean.