The premium lager has held special esteem among American drinkers for decades. It’s a refreshing, accessible, and damn-near-ubiquitous style—and it can get boring. But 3 Floyds and Mikkeller’s collaborative WarPigs Brewery doesn’t do boring beers.
Salmon Pants, its premium lager, is a gothic interpretation of the grocery store beer. Take this on the golf course to show the pastel-wearing foursome in front of you that there’s a demon bearing down on them. Salmon Pants is wicked. It’s a middle finger to Coors Light exclusivists who think drinking craft beer is virtue signaling. This beer is for everyone, but especially the cynics.
You’re probably used to your macro lagers being straw-yellow and translucent. Salmon Pants bucks that right away with its frothy head. The bubbles pile on top and the cloud doesn’t dissipate until after you’ve gulped the last drop. In the body, it looks more like a pale ale than a premium lager, especially with its syrupy golden middle.
There’s a garden in the nose of Salmon Pants. The generous hop addition gives the beer strong, persistent aromas of dandelion and melon rind. It smells like a thick vine growing through a garden of Saaz hops. The vegetal scents are complemented by a sharp, sudden hit of earthy roasted barley.
WarPigs has elevated the budget beer to a position of exaltation”
Salmon Pants has a fatal attraction to noble hops. While the beer owes its near-perfect crispness to its floral, German hop addition, the beer’s air-dry finish utterly erases any flavor that comes before it. Long-lasting flavor is never the goal in beers of this ilk, but Salmon Pants still leaves you wanting more—some sweetness would go a long way.
Salmon Pants is a premium lager in the absolute best sense of both those words. This is a historically maligned style, and WarPigs has elevated the budget beer to a position of exaltation. Salmon Pants’ only flaw is that it’s just a bit too faithful to the source material, but that misstep is all in the service of an easy-drinking good time.