Five on Five: Dark Lagers

We reached out to brewers’ guild directors and asked for recommendations on dark-colored lagers (from a state other than the one they represent) that have tickled their fancy. Here’s what these proponents of craft beer reach for when they travel.

John Holl Jun 17 - 4 min read

Five on Five: Dark Lagers Primary Image

Moon River Pitmaster’s Pride

Paul Leone, Executive Director at the New York State Brewers Association
“Moon River Brewing Company out of Savannah, Georgia, brews a Munich-style lager called Pitmaster’s Pride made with malt smoked at a local Savannah barbecue joint. I’m not a huge fan of overly smoked beer, but the smoke was subtle, clean, and balanced and went perfectly with the local southern barbecue that I remember so well from living there for several years. The low 4.5 percent ABV made it even better because it allowed me to have more than one.”

Live Oak Brewing Oaktoberfest

Joanne Marino, Executive Director of the Bay Area Brewers Guild in California
“One of the country’s finest producers of German-style lagers (and ales—looking at you, Hefeweizen) is Live Oak Brewing in Austin, Texas. Their seasonal Oaktoberfest practically plunks you into Bavaria with its exacting, yet highly rewarding, brewing tradition. Clean, refreshing, and with deft interplay between rich German malts and Noble hops, this much-loved fall classic is as good as, if not better than, anything found in the German hinterland.”

Great Raft Brewing Reasonably Corrupt

Sylvia Blain, Executive Director at the Arkansas Brewers Guild
“My introduction to Great Raft Brewing (Shreveport, Louisiana) was their schwarzbier, Reasonably Corrupt. It’s a black lager with dark and roasty malt sweetness and a smooth, crisp finish. They are producing consistently good beer. I hope to get to the tasting room soon to try the variations on their barrel-aged Old Mad Joy Baltic porter.”

Schneider Weisse Aventinus

Charles Vallhonrat, Executive Director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild
“During my first trip to Europe, I fell in love with hefeweizens. It was my first introduction to beer that wasn’t the watered down industrial Pilsner of the United States. After that trip, I developed a taste for stronger beers such as doppelbocks and barleywines. When I found Aventinus (G. Schneider & Sohn, Bavaria, Germany), a beer that combines all the goodness of a hefeweizen with a strong doppelbock, I was in love. I truly enjoy the strong malty character with the hefeweizen yeast character. A perfect match.”

Borg Brugghus Gréta Nr. 27 Baltic Porter

Sean Sullivan, Executive Director of the Maine Brewers Guild
“Whenever I can find it, I order a Baltic porter. While I’m sure I stumbled across a few earlier, it was in Iceland in 2016 that I tried Borg Brugghus Gréta Nr. 27 (Reykjavík, Iceland) and felt it was the perfect accompaniment to cold weather and minimal sunlight with its hint of licorice and toffee mixed with chocolate. In my mind, it also served as the foil to the relentless New England–style IPAs I was being offered by brewers and bars who were excited to meet someone connected to the New England brewing industry.”

John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.