Lager for HopHeads: Third Coast Beer

Friday, May 02, 2008

Smitty is obviously a bit, um, preoccupied at the moment, so I'm jumping in with my first post in a long time, a Friday Beer Review. It won't be as good as one of Smitty's reviews, I'm sure, but it'll have to do for today!

It's starting to get warm out again, so my beer purchasing habits are changing. I've picked up a six-pack of Bell's Third Coast Beer. Depending on who you ask, this is either a Golden Lager or a Golden Ale; personally I was under the impression that this was a lager, but I'm not so sure anymore. What this beer definitely is is a wonderfully refreshing hoppy beer.

It pours pale gold, very effervescent with a bubbly coarse pure white head. Towers of bubbles rise from the bottom and sides of the glass. This is still bottle conditioned, so it's suggestable to decant it, but even so you'll end up with some chunky sediment floating around.

The smell starts out all dry c-hops, Cascade and Centennial and the like, with just the slightest hint of a dry malt backbone. A one-dimensional smell perhaps, but that's not a bad thing here. Only once this has warmed is there any sweetness to the smell, and it's a light malt note... I can only describe it as like the center of a malted milk ball, or exactly like malt extract if you've tasted some pure dry malt extract.

First thing you taste is a strong bitterness, not too strong but perhaps not what you're expecting at first. I'm guessing Cascade or Centennial hops, but I could be way off. The malt tones in this beer are dry and delicate. staying pretty toasty even after getting warmer. The aftertaste is very dry, clean, and crisp. This is like the ultimate lawn-mower beer for hopheads (Though the last thing one should do is drink this, or any hop-forward beer for that matter, from the bottle, if it can be avoided).

At only 4.8% abv, combined with the wonderful hop forward flavor profile, and a truly refreshing overall flavor and body, this is one great brew. I don't know how well it fits into any of the style guidelines, and I don't really care. Bell's has done a spectacular job with a style that is difficult to brew with consistency and accuracy, and I don't think I've been disappointed by brew yet, at least if I was disappointed it was because of the retailer, not the brewery. This beer is a great addition to a hot summer day, and I'm looking forward to a few more tonight!

On a related note, Bell's Lager of the Lakes is another masterfully created thirst-quenching brew that is in some ways similar to this. Lager of the lakes however has a much more balanced profile with a stronger malt flavor. I highly recommend them both.


Smitty 6:31 PM  

So maybe I shouldn't have asked you to do the FBR...because now all I want is to drink that lager.

And I'm stuck in a hospital.


Nice review!

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 7:46 AM  

Hospitals should have bars. If there is any place that people need to drink to joys or sorrows, it's a hosptal.

Nice review. I may buy some of that lager for a BBQ I am having.

Sopor 9:17 AM  

It's a good Barbecue beer for sure, especially with the hoppy bite it can really cut through some grease and spice. If you're intending on sharing with less beer-familiar folks, the Lager of the Lakes is a great brew too! More approachable.

Stephen,  10:40 PM  

I like all types of beers but am a hop head at heart. I love this beer, the ABV allows one to have a few and not be bedridden the next morning.

Good Review!

Stephen,  10:41 PM  

BTW, I think this is actually an ale (An American Blonde Ale)

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