Great Lakes Brewing

Dortmunder Gold Lager

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Dortmunder Gold Lager Is the Martini of Beers

July 24, 2018

By Robbie Sgro, July 24, 2018

Dortmunder Gold Lager is Great Lakes Brewing Company’s flagship and a natural pairing for a brewery nestled in the Rust Belt. If you’re not familiar with the style, the dortmunder originated in Germany and was made to provide sustenance for industrial workers. It’s like an amped-up pilsner in almost every aspect—breadier and maltier, but more acidic and potent.

If those traits pique your curiosity, then Dortmunder Gold is your holy grail. It is, perhaps, the most widely available example of its style, with more than 3,000 ratings on Beer Advocate, more than double that of the next-highest specimen, 3 Floyds Brewing Co.’s Jinx Proof.

Think of Dortmunder Gold in the same vein of a martini: Old school and not for everyone.”

Appearance and Aroma

From the moment it’s opened, Dortmunder Gold wafts through the room. It’s hard to pick up on at first, but eventually a light malt liquor smell emerged. At its core, I was reminded of an ESB—distinguished and not overpowering—but with a more maltier scent. Once poured, Dortmunder Gold has a clear, dark golden body with a thin head.


There’s little hop presence, with more dominant notes of bread and grain nestled under a corn syrup-like sweetness that lingers on your tongue. Not being all too familiar with dortmunders, I’m glad I bought a six-pack because my impressions from the first bottle to the sixth changed a great deal. By the time the last bottle was consumed, I picked up on a saltiness that hadn’t jumped out.


Think of Dortmunder Gold in the same vein of a martini: Old school and not for everyone. It’s easily consumed in a few big gulps, and it’s a little more potent than your normal beer (or cocktail). Most importantly, it stands the test of time.

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