Monday, July 6, 2015

Bell's Lager of the Lakes (2015 original review)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1390) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 6, 2015
It’s kind of funny, actually, when established, credible craft breweries put out a pale lager for no apparent reason. Some breweries make a traditional, to-spec pilsner, but beers like Bell’s Lager Beer (aka “Lager of the Lakes”) are just simple pale lagers with a nicer malt and hop variety than the adjunct macro versions. While this brew may not exactly redefine the style, it is a tasty and quaffable beer for what it is. 

I poured a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass. It bottled on 5/11/15 and cost $2.09 ($0.17 per ounce).

Appearance: Yellowish/white gold hue with very clear body. Spastic carbonation is always visible. Pours to an average-sized, white, foamy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Fairly generic lager aroma. Only minor flowery hop notes and pilsner malt.

Taste: You don’t have to have frills to make a good pale lager, all you really need is decent taste and that’s what you get here. There’s not a lot going on in this palette, but what’s here is pretty nice. Familiar pilsner malt base with only the faintest trace of specialty malt (not quite wheat, not quite rye). It has that familiar lager character all fizzy yellow brews tend to have, though I doubt there’s any corn or rice here – I certainly don’t taste any. The second half is nice as genuine hop flavor and minor bitterness emerges and creates for slight crackery flavor. Mostly dry with a touch of lemonpeel and perhaps a hint of black pepper – but nowhere near as strong as those of traditional Old World pils. I would not consider Bell’s Lager Beer to be bland or mild, though it’s not exactly the most robust or complex lager, either.

Drinkability: This is exactly the kind of delivery you want from a beer of this type: light, but effervescent; flavorful but clean. I enjoyed the high carbonation and appreciated its relative restraint. There’s no challenge to drinking it quickly at all. Refreshing while in the mouth and a dry, slightly pasty aftertaste. At 5% ABV I’d probably prefer just a tad more taste for the weight, though I could definitely consider this sessionable. Bell’s would be wise to put this beer in cans.

Grade: 7/10

NOTE: Read my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

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