Slacker Beer

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Every now and then, I'll have a beer that inspires me to mediocrity; a beer so plain and underwhelming that I would choose to sit squarely in my seat and stare at my Blackberry. A beer that is unnoticed in the crowd. A beer I could fish out of a cooler at a tailgate (tis the season, after all...) and drink, repeatedly, without ever knowing its name (take that comment where you will).

That beer, over in the corner at the party reading a magazine, is Berghoff Prairie Lager, from Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Opening the bottle and starting the pour, one knows right away what this beer is: another take on a standard German or Czech Pilsner. Think Pilsner Urqell, but with less personality and a passion for stamp collecting.

Amber waves of grain aptly describe Prairie Lager's color as I pour it into my pint glass. But make no mistake, it's not the romanticized vision. It's the one you see when you've driven through such a prairie for 7 hours on a road trip. Golden sunny yellow, bright and crystal clear, only mean something at the beginning of your trip. After a time, it's just another sunny prairie.

Sweet grains meet a slight skunky aroma from the use of noble hops, each in turn a slight nod to the splendor of the style of beer that re-created beer in Europe. It's a solid pils in its aromas, but more of a shadow than the real deal; a return of an echo rather than the source.

Noble hops, usually the center of attention of a great pils, are the New Kid at a prom. Grainy, husky malts and corn have an industrial feel; I don't want to paint an unappetizing picture, but the grains here have as much personality as mass-produced "all-grain" sandwich bread. Sweet malts sneak in the back door towards the end.

As a lawnmower or tailgate beer, this lager is fine; it still has flavor above and beyond what Bud and Miller produce every day. But for the style, this light-bodied, highly-carbonated lager is the kid picked last every time for the team. I am unsure of this even being a gateway beer" to hook non-craft drinkers into craft beer, because even many of them will drink a better pils than this if pushed.

3 comments:

Bob 12:26 PM  

If i want somethign just to cut the crud, I will get a 12 of MGD and save the $ for some better beer for when I am not mowing.

Smitty 1:16 PM  

I will get a 12 of MGD and save the $

My advice on this one.

Anonymous,  7:46 PM  

That is totally how I felt about it. Hopefully, I will redeem my beer pandering with the 2 kinds of Terrapin!

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