Drunken Speculation

#59 Brooklyn Lager

This post is part of Crazy Cellar Clearout Week, where we review some of the beers in our cellar so we can start 2014 fresh. You can see all the beers we’ve reviewed in 2013 here.

brooklyn lagerAs part of my drive to reach out to the American people, I’ve slipped in a few reviews of big American craft beers (#37 and #52). Brooklyn Lager was intended to be another one but I never managed to get around to it until this week. Unfortunately, being from Queensland, my benchmark for a golden lager is – inevitably – XXXX. That sets the bar pretty low for Brooklyn’s offering, so let’s see how it goes.

The neck label reads:

Amber gold with a malty body and a floral hop character, Brooklyn Lager is a revival of Brooklyn’s pre-Prohibition all malt beers. This is the brewery’s first and best selling beer. Brooklyn Lager is brewed only with malted barley, hops, water and yeast and will taste best before the data indicated [Jan 2014 in this case]

Its long stint in the cupboard may have re-activated some yeast, leading to a veritable eruption upon opening the cap. This made judging the aroma a bit easier, as the kitchen filled with the smell of sticky toffee apple and bread.

On it’s appearance alone, it’s pretty great looking. The deep amber, bordering on brown, hue is attractive. While the slightly tan head recedes quickly, the carbonation has held up well over time. The lager is quite cloudy but with no discernible floating matter in the beer.

Brooklyn’s Lager has something in common with the taste of Australian lagers but it’s more wholesome than the mass produced stuff. An unpleasant, baked woodiness driving up my sinuses from XXXX Gold or similar is normally not welcome. Whereas the unnaturalness of this favour usually repulses me, Brooklyn’s better rounded malt profile is less off-putting and more enjoyable. As we’ve found with a number of American beers this year, there is barely any traces of aromatic hops left after the journey across the ocean but some of the bitterness is still present at a very low level.

Overall, Brooklyn Lager is prince among lagers but suffers from, nonetheless, being a non-German lager. While I can’t judge it’s historical authenticity (I’m guessing it was made with refrigeration), if this is what people were drinking before Prohibition, I can see why they kept it up during.


  • Website
  • Genre: Lager
  • Regionality: Brooklyn, USA
  • Strength: 5.2%
  • Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
  • Plus: Good malt profile
  • Minus: Lager-y
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