Speaking Of Lagers…

I don’t know how many times a week some beer noob comes in and stares at our menu like he’s trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. After he or she has gotten past the initial couple rounds of confused face contortions, eye-squinting, and head-shaking, said stereotypical customer always says the same thing, “So… have you got anything that’s light?”

Inevitably, a pull of the Pilsner tap is due, and most of the time, a bit of chagrin and regret accompany the action. With all the great beer we have on tap, all the intricate styles and varieties, why would anyone choose a beer based on its lack of flavor?

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m usually not a fan of whatever the lightest beer we have on tap happens to be. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, not enough microbreweries toy with lagers and the majority that do only try to replicate their macro cousins’ recipes for bland, boring, and yellow. We’re always on the hunt for the best lagers at Bailey’s, but we’re not always successful at finding them.

But this week, we nailed it by bringing back a light beer that I can be proud to pour: Caldera Pilsner.

I sat down with a tray yesterday to catch up on some holes in my Bailey’s beer knowledge and revisited the Caldera, which was on previously many months past. I remembered enjoying it then, but was surprised just how consistent my opinion of it remained after a second helping. It’s certainly a very hoppy Pilsner, but it’s also got this really subtle sweetness behind all its tidy cleanliness and dry character. It manages to be remarkably simple in broad strokes, but subtly complex the more time you spend with it. It’s balanced on a razor’s edge between malt and hops, making it easily one of the best examples of the Pilsner style to be found in this country.

I believe it also surprises a lot of light beer fans by redefining for them what their favorite style can actually taste like… that is, flavorful. And that makes my inner beer snob smile just a little.

2 responses

  1. I am not a heavy beer person, nor are my friends. As a female I will always look for the “lightest” beer on tap. It’s not about flavor for me or any gal I know, it’s about excess calories through a beer we don’t even want to drink in the first place. I usually stick to wine or a vodka soda with lime. You should know your crowd better. We’d come in more if it wasn’t so beer-heavy.

    Offer more great wine!

  2. Sarah,

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, light doesn’t always mean what you want it to. The lightest colored beers on the menu are not always the lowest calories. The ABV (alcohol by volume) numbers on the menu should help determine that. We have had some dark beers that are the lowest caloric on the menu.

    Anyway, I think when Michael and I hear that someone would like the lightest beer on the menu, we immediately think of the lightest colored beers. And the point of the article was to point out that sometimes they are kind of boring (to the beer snobs) and some are quite flavorful.

    Also, I’ve been saying it for a year, but am really close on decided on some new wines (a couple less expensive choices). I appreciate the business, I’ll never be able to please all people, all the time. My commitment is to provide a constantly rotating tap selection of a variety of styles of beer from regional breweries.


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