There's this funny beer style--actually, I'm not prepared to acknowledge that it is a style--called "pre-prohibition lager." I have no data, but it has the aroma of a "style" that was probably a broad and changing spectrum of different examples brewed in different places at different times. But through the inevitable process of calcification, it has come to stand for this wide rane. Or I could be wrong--but a fifteen-minute spin around the intertubes doesn't dissuade me.
The key features of this style, such as it is now retrospectively characterized, are the use of corn (apparently rice is a permissible, but less-tasty, variant) and pretty assertive hopping. The sources I've seen suggest noble hops would have been used, but this seems the weakest of the contentions--it was more an assumption than a finding. (As always, folks like Bill Schneller can weigh in to correct gross errors on my part. We're all used to gross errors on my part.)
Whatever the historical precedent, though, this is a very good description of Fort George's 1811 Lager, which I tried for the first time on Tuesday. If you want to immediately predispose your customers against your beer, here are two suggestions: 1) brew a lager; 2) add corn. Cardinal sins!
I hope customers are so mesmerized by the shiny blue cans that they ignore the prominent word "lager" and don't read blogs like this. Because, if they manage to get the beer into their glass, they're in for a treat. Despite people's expectations about canned lager, this is quite a lively and assertive beer. I'm not sure what the hops are, but noble sounds about right--or maybe Sterlings or a mixture of nobles and bastard American varieties like Mt. Hood. In any case, it's zesty and spicy, but buoyed by a lovely, summery sweetness. As is de rigueur for an Oregon beer (nod to Stan Hieronymus), it is as cloudy as November Portland skies. And, although it is packed with flavor, the volume doesn't blast at IPA levels, so it has that moreishness you want from a summer tipple. Great beer.
There are far too few crisp, hoppy lagers in this town, and I am delighted to learn that Fort George has added another--"pre-prohibition" or not.
Update. Two tweets from the brewery, which I'll post in order so you can see that my own failures of fact are not entirely unprecedented.
FortGeorgeBeer Fort George Breweryand then:
@Beervana Thanks for the good word! BTW - The hops used are Galena and Czech Saaz.
3 hours ago
FortGeorgeBeer Fort George BreweryThat's a brewery after my own heart. Or brain.
@Beervana Correction on the 1811 hops ... Saaz and Centennial. It's right on the can!
14 minutes ago