I love lagers. Not that they are “better” than the ales that got me into craft beer in the first place, but there is still something about an easy drinking, smooth beer that provides a solid thirst quenching glass of refreshment. I keep hoping that we’re going to get a brewery that opens to focus solely on lagers. Yet, truth be told, when I take a step back and look at the bigger picture we’ve got a hell of a selection of lagers already.
Maybe I need to remember exactly how many, and how great the ones that we already have really are. The latest label approval from Christian Moerlein looks like a great example of one of those beers that should be able to remind me.
I’ve talked about Christian Moerlein’s select lager here before. It was a big step for what beer was in Cincinnati when it was released back in 1981. Not only did the beer help bring back a historical brand when Hudepohl released it, it also signaled a new era of brewing, even if it might have been a little ahead of its time in Cincinnati. The beer was about being easy drinking, refreshing and approachable, while not sacrificing on ingredients flavor or personality. Select Lager was a craft beer before that was a ‘thing’ in Cincinnati, or really in much of the country.
In 1981, Cincinnati beer was dying. Hudepohl tried to define who Cincinnati was by looking back at who they used to be. In a lot of ways Christian Moerlein is still doing that today. They have fully embraced what modern craft beer is (even releasing a “trendy” NE IPA recently) while, there is still a big part of their personality that resides in pre-prohibition Cincinnati.
It all brings us to this release.
The latest can label to get approval directly calls back to that Select Lager from 1981. Let’s read before we dig in:
In 1981 Moerlein’s Select Lager paved the way for craft beers as one of the first craft lagers in the USA. With a blend of Vienna and select specialty malts, this copper colored lager is brewed to pay homage to Moerlein’s Original Lager of the 1850s. Mellow malty notes with a lightly toasted character and floral noble hops lead you to a clean and crisp finish. Grab friends and offer a Prost to this great lager of today.
The artwork on the label is the old “Christian Moerlein Girl” the Victorian lady, drinking a beer that also graced the label of that Select Lager, as well as being featured prominently in the Moerlein advertising of the late 1800s… it all comes full circle.
This new version of Moerlein’s Original Lager is a Vienna Lager, which uses a blend of Vienna and specialty malts to create a copper colored lager that pays homage to the Original Lager of the 1850s. Mellow malty notes with a lightly toasted character and floral noble hops lead you to a clean and crisp finish. With the beer coming in at only 5% ABV and 22 IBUs, this is a beer that is designed from the ground up to be easy drinking, and refreshing.
I am thrilled to get my hands on this, for a lot of different reasons. Yes… I love the idea of tying the past of Cincinnati to the present, but the biggest reason? I love a good, well rounded lager as the weather starts warming up.
The Lager Tradition Continues
While I like to talk a lot about how a big part of who Christian Moerlein is today is a brewery that straddles the past of who they were in Cincinnati, with the modern craft beer world that is quickly changing and evolving – there is a side of them that is a big part of both of those personalities. Lagers.
Christian Moerlein takes pride in their lager program (and they should) they recently won 4 out of their 6 medals at the New York International Beer Competition from their lager program. It’s certainly a side of beer that people have talked about being the “next big thing” in craft beer – but I hope you get the idea that it’s a massive part of what beer used to be in Cincinnati too.
Keep your eyes peeled, as soon as this beer starts appearing on shelves I’ll be sure to get some beer notes written up for you. If you didn’t figure it out… I love this beer.