Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sixpoint The Crisp

Mr. Real Ale Guide himself - Simon - joins me for our first-ever Skype collaboration review of a lager. But it's a craft lager made right here in New York State by the Sixpoint brewery in Brooklyn. Simon doesn't tend to be a fan of lagers, but would this American take on the style surprise him?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (609) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 29, 2012
It’s very rare a craft brewery makes a lager that is remotely standard. Imperial pilsners and malty lagers tend to be the rage these days - but why not a fizzy yellow lager that doesn’t taste like corn or rice? I suppose that was the idea Sixpoint had with their German-style lager "The Crisp." A to-the-point name for a to-the-point beer. It’s pale lager for sure, but tastes nothing like those made by the macro breweries.

I poured a 16oz can into a lager glass.

Appearance: Standard lager appearance of clear gold with plenty of fine carbonation visible. Forms a large, frothy, off-white head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: As soon as I pull the tab on the can I smell the lager aroma emanating from this beer. It’s nothing foul, though, just standard and identifiable. But a closer inspection reveals a more complex, refined nose: lemon peel and a spicy hop variety give the beer a clean, fresh, flowery scent.

Taste: You don’t tend to associate lagers with being bitter, but the first thing I noticed about The Crisp was just how much hop presence it has. There’s a dry, spicy bitterness that begins the palate. This gives way to a more standard lager taste, but without any astringent adjunct flavors. Instead of rice or corn, there’s a noticeable presence of lemon pith and a variety of light peppery spice. Perhaps this is Saaz hops (I couldn’t find an official description of the recipe anywhere). It’s an interesting, almost conflicting combination of clean lager and spicerack bite. There’s a touch of citrus flavor, which is subtle to be sure, but strong enough to notice and enjoy.

Drinkability: Not surprisingly, this beer is aptly named since it is indeed crisp with a 1-2 punch of fine carbonation and a touch of spice. However, it is not highly gassy, so it goes down smooth without any CO2 caught in the throat. It finishes mostly clean, but leaves a pleasant, faint aftertaste of lemon and dry hoppiness. The 5.4% ABV seems perfect, as it definitely has a little more weight and chutzpah than your average macro lager, but it won’t overwhelm you after one pint. The Crisp is refreshing on a hot day or with the right situational pairing, but still a fun and easy beer to drink on its own.
Grade: 8/10

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