We know that single, double, triple, hazy, New England-style, sour, milkshake, and really any kind of IPA will continue to dominate trends in craft beer. But, to us, the best way to celebrate a backyard barbecue, a strenuous hike, or even just the end of a long work day is with a craft lager.
Light, refreshing, crisp, and normally lower-ABV, lagers give us the opportunity to comfortably drink a couple of beers without overwhelming our palette or feeling overloaded.
Available in many different styles, from dark dunkels to mineral-toned pilsners, breweries are reinventing this classic category with craft in mind.
So, we want to challenge you to put away the IPA and try a few. And the best part? You can get them delivered right to your door. We scoured the best places to buy beer online to bring you our recommendations for the best craft lagers.
Charles Towne Fermentory — Charleston, SC
Charles Towne Fermentory has been making some of our favorite beers for the last few years. So much so that we named them one of our top breweries to watch in 2019. They’ve continued to crank out tasty, complex beers. This past May, for Cinco de Mayo, Charles Towne Fermentory brewed their first-ever take on a dark Mexican craft lager. Dark and malty yet light and clean, Profunda is a profound lager.
Charles Towne Fermentory — Charleston, SC
We’re consistently impressed with the crushability of this crisp, clean, American-style craft lager. While you can certainly drink this beer on a yacht, we recommend cracking one in a hammock, on the back deck, or around the campfire. It’s just a damn good version of a good ol’ lager.
Legal Remedy Brewing — Rock Hill, SC
Brewed with a combination of American and German hops and a big focus on Munich and Vienna malts, Lawdog Lager leans heavy on the malt character. Biscuity, sweet, and a touch roasty, this amber-hued craft lager is a backyard barbecue in a glass.
Schilling Beer Co. — Littleton, NH
Traditionally brewed to celebrate the transition of seasons in spring, Maibocks are like the little brother to the bigger, bolder German-style Bocks. However, where Bocks are deep and dark, Maibocks are dry and light. This version from Schilling Beer Co., a European-inspired brewery in the Northeast, pours golden with a heap of Munich malt for a crisp, clean finish.
Commonwealth Brewing Co. — Virginia Beach, VA
While the Czechs are most known for their iconic Pilsners from the town of Pilsen, they make pretty damn good dark lagers. Commonwealth brewed Cimmerian to reflect these rich, malty winter craft lagers. At only 4.8% ABV with a clean, dry finish, you’ll want at least two of these dark beauties.
El Tren Rapido
KCBC — Brooklyn, NY
KCBC describes this amped-up version of its EL TREN Mexican Lager as, “a genuine crispy crusher.” At 4.7% ABV with classic pils malt and flaked corn, this Mexican-style Vienna Lager ticks all the boxes — it’s balanced, slightly sweet, and emminently crushable.
BUY NOW AT HALF TIME
Allagash Brewing Co. — Portland, ME
You can almost always find Allagash White on the shelf in our beer fridge. We love this witbier for its refreshing drinkability. And, the Portland-based brewery nailed it again with Moselle, a unique craft lager and saison blend that’s easy to enjoy and hard to put down. Crush a couple of these 6% ABV Farmhouse-style lagers on the weekend when you want to go a little harder… but not too hard.
El Segundo Brewing — El Segundo, CA
A surprising lager from a Southern California brewery that built its name on brewing clear West Coast IPAs, Casa Azul won a GABF Gold Medal in the “amber lager” category. Very dominant on malt, this ‘lager obscura” (as the brewery calls it) is a superb craft lager. If this beer is any indication of El Segundo’s deft hand at lagers, we’re happy they decided to play outside the hoppy sandbox.
Firestone Walker — Paso Robles, CA
If you’re looking for a clean, approachable Pilsner, you have to get your hands on some Pivo Pils. We ranked Firestone Walker’s iteration seventh in a blind taste test of 30 beers for its bready aroma, slightly spicy esthers, and balanced hop bitterness. Brewing for twenty-five years has to mean something.
Prince of Pilsen
Three Taverns Brewery — Decatur, GA
Atlanta-based Three Taverns brewed a bright, crisp take on the European style. Dry-hopped with Citra and Saaz hops to bring in that German noble hop character, Prince of Pilsen is truly Pilsner royalty. You can find this exclusive release on the Oznr app.
Up the Hill
Cartridge Brewing — Maineville, OH
A take on the classic Bavarian lager, this Munich-style Helles lager exemplifies everything we love about the style. It’s pale, bright, well-balanced, extremely clear, and exceedingly clean.
Virginia Beer Co. — Williamsburg, VA
If you’re looking for a unique take on the Pilsner, Virginia Beer Co. fashioned an Italian version of the style. First introduced by Agostino Arioli, founder of Birrificio Italiano, Italian-style pilsners are dry-hopped with German noble hop varieties for a flavor profile that’s a little more spicy and herbal than Czech counterparts. Bellissimo utilizes German malts and classic lager yeast along with dry-hopping for a crisp, malt-forward Pilsner that’s balanced with herbal notes.
American Solera — Tulsa, OK
Another craft lager hybrid, Loral Roberts is a Kölsch dry-hopped with Loral hops. Simultaneously light and refreshing with a little kick of earthy floral and herbal notes from the hops, this lager is a unique take on the traditional German style.
Slow Pour Pils
Bierstadt Lagerhaus — Denver, CO
One of our favorite breweries in Denver and possibly the country, Bierstadt Lagerhaus focuses exclusively on lagers. Their Slow Pour Pils is a sight to behold at the brewery where you’ll often see the bar stacked with slender glasses slowly filling to the top with a thick, fluffy head. As the brewery puts it, “If it gets to you without the head above the rim of the glass, then we have failed you.” And while we would love to visit the brewery every time for one of these slow pours, this award-winning craft lager is thankfully available in cans!
Brouwerij West — San Pedro, CA
A lesser-known style, Kellerbier is a German lager that’s typically unfiltered, unpasteurized, and historically aged in cellars. Brouwerij West’s take, Popfuji, uses German noble hops for a slightly spicy, citrusy beer that’s simultaneously smooth and creamy. This is the perfect summer beer.
The Most Interesting Lager in the World
Ex Novo Brewing Co. — Portland, OR
We think the name says it all. Ex Novo made their version of a Mexican craft lager to be crisp and refreshing with a hint of lime. Brewed with Vienna and Pilsner malts along with a touch of flaked corn, The Most Interesting Lager in the World hits that right balance of creamy, zesty, bready, and a touch citrusy. This is the beer we use to toast endless summers.
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