Nick Carr on July 19, 2018 5 Comments Photo Credit: Founders Brewing Co. Quick Characteristics Brewery Founders Brewing Co. Location Grand Rapids, MI Style American Lager ABV 4.4% IBU 20 Hops Lemondrop Malts ? Shelf Life Best enjoyed within 3 months Suggested Glass Pilsner Glass Serving Temp 40-45°F Availability Year Round Food Pairings Fried Chicken, Pizza, Mozzarella, Lemon Tart In a way it’s funny to think, the one area of beer maybe least explored by craft brewers is the American Lager. On the other side of the coin, it’s not hard to see why. It is, after all, the territory of the “macro monster.” What brewer wants to venture into terrain so well guarded, wants to brew a style many beer nerds, if not the brewers themselves, feel is beneath them. And maybe that’s part of the problem. There is a real fear for breweries that if they make an American Lager, it won’t pass muster within a community so set against anything that even remotely reminds them of Big Beer. This has meant that, generally, craft examples of the style have been relegated to tap only offerings. But, the last few years has seen some breweries, like Steven’s Point, Upland, and even Boston Beer, to name but a few, taking the risk of releasing their example to a wider audience by tucking them into the year round lineups. Founders joined these breweries on March 1st of this year with the release of Solid Gold. The brewing company actually already had an older pale ale recipe with the name Solid Gold dating back to 2008, so they took it and completely revamped it, re-styling it into a lager. They use corn as an adjunct, which is often part of the style. Lemondrop hops were chosen to bring a citrusy character and balance the grainy sweet malt American lagers are known for. I really wasn’t expected a beer like this to come from Founders Brewing; the company whose motto is “Brewed For Us.” In fact, it was this precise unexpectedness that most intrigued me. I wonder how it’ll stack up… Let’s see. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Founders’ Solid Gold Lager. If you tasted this beer or have one in front of you while reading this review, please share your thoughts with everyone down in the comments below. Photo Credit: Founders Brewing Co. The Pour: In the glass, the color speaks to the name…. It’s a nice bright golden. About a finger of head forms; just slightly off-white, big soapy bubbles. Drops quickly, but holds with a nice thin cap at the surface. Carbonation is medium-high. The Aroma: On the nose, Solid Gold presents a subtle but noticeable hop profile of lemons, lightly herbal. Malt, too, is pretty shy, but get notes of sweet corn and grainy dough. Pleasant. The Mouthfeel: Body is very light, and mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Lively carbonation buoys the light body and pulls it along. The Taste: Front brings a bright lemony sweetness. Malt flavors of corn sweetness and slight graininess, which turns into doughy bread as it drops off the back. Hops bring a zesty brightness; floral, herbal — almost peppery — and lemon citrus… all presented with extreme nuance, but balancing nicely. Both the malt and hop flavors play it close to the vest, but there is complexity here. Nicely crisp in the finish. Lingering herbal notes and light lemon in the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS First, let me say: This isn’t my favorite style by far. But it is a hard style to do well, because there is little for off-flavors or inconsistencies to hide behind. That said, this is a pretty good example of an American Lager. I’m speaking here of style. Solid Gold is a solid example of the style. And, it was actually more than I expected. Solid Gold is a more complex example of a macro lager. It has some good flavor, though they aren’t flavors that shout and bang drums to draw attention to themselves. The Lemondrop hops bring a nice zesty lemon/herbal whisper, which balances the doughy bread and sweet corn aspects of the malt. It’s not going to impress everyone. But, really anyone drinking this beer shouldn’t be expecting more than the style can provide. It’s not hoppy, nor is it not supposed to taste like a Pilsner or Helles… so, don’t compare it to them. Will it make anything, but a bad impression on a hop-loving community so completely adverse to anything that might be comparable to macro? I don’t know. What I do know is, I would consider it if I wanted a good, reasonably priced, craft lawnmower beer, or if I have macro-minded friends coming over. If you’ve tried Founders Solid Gold, let me know your thoughts on it. How do you feel it compares to other craft examples of the style? To macro examples? Cheers!