Friday, November 28, 2008

LAGER, BEGONE: LEFT HAND’S “RYE BOCK LAGER”

I was in the Kansas City area a few weeks back and got to a local liquor store on my way out, hoping to pick up a few regional specialties to bring back home. Since I already had tried the BOULEVARD SMOKESTACK SERIES, I skipped those and somewhat randomly picked a bottle from a Colorado brewer that we can’t get in California called LEFT HAND BREWING. I’ve heard some positive hosannas thrown in their general direction. The one I picked up was a seasonal called LEFT HAND RYE BOCK LAGER; I like rye, I like bock beer – let’s see what happens. As it turns out it wasn’t quite the slam dunkel I was hoping for. I found it exceptionally ordinary – bready and very lager-like, with some faint nods to rye and toasted grain. I looked for some affirmation on the world wide web and came up with this from our friends at YEAR OF BEER:

The aroma of this beer is slightly spicy and grainy. The color is brown with plenty of haze. He head pours very thick, to the point of over carbonated, but has only mild retention. The taste is grainy, with rye spice flavors. The rye spice flavor is very predominate tasting a little akin to the rye seeds in rye bread. There is a bit of sweetness that balances against the spiciness. The mouthfeel is over carbonated and stingy not the normal smooth taste of a rye. The finish is a little spicy.


I wish I could be so generous. I tasted none of these things. After it was ingested I said a few curse words about lager beers and reckoned that I still wasn’t ready to see the goodness in most lagers (though I’m starting to enjoy high-end pilsners quite a bit). Then I moved on to splitting a bottle of LOST ABBEY INFERNO ALE with my guest, which I already captured here. Now that’s the real thing. This one, not so much. 5.5/10.

1 comment:

HomeBrewHawk said...

I've never been that impressed with Left Hand's big beers. Also most American Bock beers do not do it for me. The malt flavor doesn't come close to the German versions. My main exception would be Capital from Wisconsin. Don't give up on lager beers. Try some German dopplebocks, like Ayinger Celebrator or a Schwarzbier like Kostritzer. There's plenty of flavor to be had.