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Review: Brooklyn Lager

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I am delighted to be reviewing a Brooklyn Brewery beer for two reasons. One, after more than thirty years in the business the brand is finally distributing in my home state of California. Second, master brewer Garrett Oliver is a little bit of a hero of mine. If it weren’t for his brilliant book The Brewmaster’s Table, studying for the Cicerone exam would have been a seemingly insurmountable challenge. His book, along with Randy Mosher’s equally crucial Tasting Beer were the top two literary influences on my opinions regarding beer today.

What better way to welcome Brooklyn Brewery to California than to write about their flagship beer, Brooklyn Lager. The color is a gorgeous light amber derived from Munich and Crystal-60 malt. Hop varieties are a blend of the piney Californian Cascade (think Sierra Nevada) and the more subtle German Hallertauer Mittelfrueh. It smells like the Hallertauer is dominant; the nose is all fresh herbs with a hint of grass complimented by biscuity and toasty malt. There is also deliciously sweet caramel edge.

The beer is deftly balanced on the palate. Hop bitterness is never astringent and just enough to counter the touch of caramel-like sweetness. Malt and hop flavors never overpower one another, harmonizing into an exceptionally long finish. Remarkably, it is as refreshing as it is deeply flavorful. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this beer, from casual drinkers to the most fanatical enthusiasts.

5.2% abv

A / $9 per six pack / brooklynbrewery.com

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Brooklyn Lager

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9.5

Rating

9.5/10
Stephen Allison

Stephen Allison holds Certified Sommelier, Certified Cicerone, and WSET Level 3 Award in Sake distinctions and is a former Sommelier with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

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