Monday, February 23, 2015

Baxter Tarnation California-Style Lager

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1288) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 23, 2015
Not too many breweries do the “California Common” style anymore. If you’re going to make a lager, usually you opt for a generic pale or a specialty pilsner of some sort. There’s a lot of risk and little reward to making a beer of the style, even to spec. Baxter Brewing’s “Tarnation” is definitely true to the style, but only a good beer overall. It tastes fine and drinks easy, and if that’s all you want from a beer like this then mission accomplished.

I poured a 12oz can into a lager glass. It was canned on 12/23/14 and cost $2.95 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark amber to copper color with slight haze. Overall, pretty clear with consistent carbonation visible. Pours to a small, white, foamy head which laces and retains pretty well.

Smell: Surprisingly muted nose; minor notes of bready/toasty malt; a generic lager scent.

Taste: There’s a surprisingly high amount of malt character to this beer. It’s immediately recognizable; pale malt, plenty of amber/honey specialty grist and some light toasted character make for a rather sweet palette. Though it uses the traditional Northern Brewer hops, it’s not an especially hoppy beer. Just a general dry bitterness through the middle. The finish is familiar to anyone that’s drank lager as it has the classic flavor, only much cleaner. I’d think a little more distinctiveness in one aspect might give this beer the edge it needs to be more than just passable.

Drinkability: At 5.3% ABV, Baxter Tarnation is about average in weight for a lager, and the style per se. It’s refreshing while in the mouth, though it does leave a slightly pasty aftertaste. It’s comfortable, though, and easy to drink as the mouthfeel is thin-to-medium with fairly high carbonation. Works well as a year-round lager and would stand up to snack fare. 
Grade: 6/10

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