A two-fer of Yank Lagers
"Gordon Biersch - Imperial Pilsner Brau" & "Lucky Hand Black Lager", for a quiet Tuesday evening. :)
Gordon Biersch - Imperial Pilsner Brau
A fancy-pants 750mL flip-top bottle -- from an outfit that normally plays it very "safe" (aka boring) in the beer department.
Most beers of this ilk are just gussied-up malt liquors. But this one only comes in at 6.5%ABV, so it's not going to smack up you upside the head and make you its bitch. :)
This actually had some very nice dry bitterness, the kind of Euro-centric bitterness you'd hope and expect to find in a well-made Czech Pils. This lacks the bready double-decocted malty backbone, but I'm okay with that in this case.
Very poundable, and a welcome change of pace from the so-boring-that-their-food-is-more-interesting-then-the-beer Gordon Biersch chain. Worth investigating.
Lucky Hand Black Lager
Great. Yet *another* organic brewery in the Santa Cruz CA area. How many does that make? Six? Seven? Not including the "I'm a nano-brewer by day, and medicinal pot grower at night" fly-by-nighters, that is.
According to their website and their Facebook page, this is a modern American take on a Schwarzbier, including "...an increase in hops character, a heavier roasted flavor, or perhaps an increase in alcohol by volume".* So, besides everythng that makes this a Schwarzbier, this is a Schwarzbier, eh?
If this was dialed down a bit, it would be far more interesting. Instead, this is a hoppy beer with not a few things in common with a Porter.
I see on their website that they have a California Common [Steam] Beer. I'll probably give it a go. But this "American Black Lager"? Pass.