The Year in Beer: The Best Craft Lagers We Drank in 2018

December 18, 2018

By October Staff, December 18, 2018

In their most elemental form, lagers are the quintessential beer-drinkers beer. Crisp, uncomplicated, and with an ABV that won’t leave you on the floor after a couple pints, they appear in almost every corner of the globe. Yet the fact that these classic beers are so ubiquitous around the world and so easy to drink may have been why the craft brewing world initially rebelled against them. In an effort to distinguish themselves from their big-business competition, microbreweries specialized in more complex styles. Lagers became synonymous with mass-production—generic beers made for chugging rather than savoring.

Those days are over, and we can all stop pretending that we want to drink a triple-hopped anything or a 15% ABV stout all evening. While there’s a time and a place for ultra-funky sours and boozy, complex porters, at the end of the day, sometimes you just want a beer. Fortunately, we now live in an era where opting for a lager no longer means sacrificing quality. This past year saw craft breweries giving lagers the love they deserve.

Modist’s First Call

With a “shimmering and clear” body that is the “unmistakable trademark of a good lager” crowned with a “whipped and milky white” head, this coffee lager has the unmistakable aroma of a “fresh Brazilian roast percolating in the kitchen,” writes Jerard Fagerberg, who declares it “a coffee beer that you can drink all damn day.”

Night Shift’s Nite Lite

With a body that’s “Paper-thin and heavy on the carbonation,” this is a “simple beer” with an ABV of 4.3% and no flavors to “nothing to overpower or offend,” Matt Osgood says. This is “brewed for drinkers that want to go back to the days of just having a beer.”

Blue Point’s Toasted Lager

Tucker Anders calls this “a beer that is subtle in all of the right ways” with a “beautiful copper hue” and “a clean yeasty smell that works well with the soft roasted and bready notes.” “This year-round amber lager is there to supplement your surroundings” rather than hog the spotlight.

Founders’ Solid Gold

“The initial taste is light, crisp and clean” with an aroma that “is much more complex than any common lager which I’ve caught a whiff of,” writes Tucker Anders of this “well-executed version of the style.”

Firestone Walker’s Firestone Lager

“This is a well-made beer,” Matt Osgood says of this light-bodied Munich Helles that “is defined by a caramelized graininess and a crisp bready bite” and “finishes mildly dry, with a nice carbonation, and hits that middle ground of not sweet, but not bitter.”

Illustration by Remo Remoquillo

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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