AleSmith Sublime Mexican Lager

In my twenties, I loved the Sublime album “40oz. to Freedom,” so when I saw this on the shelf, I needed to bring it home.

ABV: 5.2%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Sublime has something special brewing for their fans in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their seminal debut album ’40oz. to Freedom.’ The band, hailing from Long Beach, has enlisted the help of craft beer stalwart AleSmith Brewing Company, operating out of San Diego, to brew this namesake beverage. AleSmith Brewing Co. is brewing a Mexican-style lager on behalf of Sublime. There are plans for national distribution of the beer in 12oz. six-pack cans through AleSmith’s supply channels with an initial small batch of limited edition 40oz. bottles to be made available for sale from the brewery. When asked how the decision to produce a Mexican-style lager came about, AleSmith owner/CEO, Peter Zien replied, ‘The band members are all big fans of this style of beer. We wanted to create our thirst-quenching version of a traditional Vienna-style lager (famously brewed by the Mexican breweries) that showcases a grainy, malt-forward sweetness and easy drinkability. Clean and crisp with subdued hop bitterness to balance, makes Sublime Mexican Lager the go-to beer for hot summer days or pre-concert tailgating.’ ‘From our very first meeting this was obviously a perfect fit,’ says Sublime’s manager Dave Kaplan. ‘Both AleSmith and Sublime are all about staying true to quality and authenticity above all else. Plus, I always could see that classic Sublime “Sun” logo on a beer bottle. We just needed a world-class beer to go inside and we found it with AleSmith.’ ‘It doesn’t taste like anything else,’ says Sublime co-founder Bud Gaugh. ‘The flavor is great and it has a craft beer flare with a true Mexican lager taste. This is the one!’ ‘Being a beer lover, I’m so proud to partner with an elite world-class brewery like AleSmith and I know Sublime fans will absolutely love it!,’ added Troy Holmes, widow of Bradley Nowell. ‘Like Bradley sang, “That 2nd beer was such a turn on.”‘”

Random: I love the art on the can. Very well done.

The beer poured with a finger of loose, ecru colored head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear orange color with a lot of carbonation. The nose was clean. It had some lager yeast along with barley. There was a slight undertone of honeydew along with a touch of pepper. The taste was equally crisp and clean. The barley came through first with corn and peppercorns. The melon note was very slight, but still present. The body was light with lots of carbonation. The finish was quick with corn and lager yeast. I got this beer awhile back and since it’s not made anymore, I have no idea how much it was. This would make for a great Summer drinker though.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Victory PJW Copper Lager

It’s becoming more and more popular in this area to have a house beer that is brewed by a local brewery. I’m assuming that since Victory expanded production, they’re able to do this more and more. They also provide a house beer for another local chain that I enjoy, Chickie’s and Pete’s (their house beer is CrAbbey Ale). Let’s give this one a shot.


ABV: 5.6%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: P.J. Whelihan’s has 15 locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Random: A Vienna Lager is on the more rare side for a house beer. I would think that they would have gone with a Pale Ale or an IPA.

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of white head. It dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a warm, copper color with moderate carbonation. The nose was quite nutty with some sweetness and almonds to it along with some lightly toasted bread. The taste was equally sweet with the same nutty malt and a touch of wildflower honey. There was also an off-putting tin and metallic flavor. I was hoping that it would wear off, but I think I just got used to it. The body was on the heftier side with high carbonation, so this wasn’t a problem to drink. It had a lengthy, sweet finish with brown bread. This was a good beer, but I had to knock it down a bit for the metallic flavor. I would have it again, but there are better examples of the style out there.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Oskar Blues Beerito

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Vienna Lager. The last one I had was from Neshaminy Creek and I really enjoyed it. Let’s see if I like this one better.


ABV: 4%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Beerito (4% ABV, 21 IBUs) is a light bodied, amber Mexican lager brewed with premium German and coloRADo sourced craft malts and featuring a crisp accent from noble hops. The mouth feel is incredibly smooth with flavors of walnut, toasted bread, plum, honey and cocoa – 4% ABV doesn’t always come with this kind of character.”

Random: I wish more breweries would do Vienna Lagers. I guess because of tank space, it’s cost prohibitive.

This beer poured with a thick, two finger, khaki-colored head. It took forever to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was clear and sienna colored with lots of carbonation. The nose was really subtle with toasted malt and nuttiness and nothing else. I wish I could have picked up the cocoa and plum, but it just wasn’t there, even after I let it warm. The taste had slightly more depth with toasted malt, hazelnuts and a slight skunk note. The cocoa note was very light, but did come out. It drank way heavier than the ABV with a thick body. It did have a lot of carbonation to go along with it, which made it much easier to drink. The finish was swift and nutty with cocoa. This will run you about $2 a can ($.17 per ounce). I can see why they brewed this and I think this is a beer that I would be more impressed by if I paired it with food as opposed to reviewing by itself. I know what I’ll be having next time I get Mexican food.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Neshaminy Creek Churchville Lager

Here’s another beer from Neshaminy Creek and it’s the fourth one I’ve tried from them. Let’s see how this Vienna Lager is.


ABV: 4.9%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pennsylvania breweries are known for world-class lagers, and this 2013 Great American Beer Fest Gold Medal winning Vienna-style, no fuss amber lager is clean, crisp, and brewed with Munich, and Vienna malts that give it a touch of malt backbone and toast-like character. Hopped exclusively with German Tettnanger hops, it’s got enough hop bitterness to counter that malt backbone as well. Lagered for six-weeks, Churchville Lager comes in at 4.9% ABV, and is the perfect beer for a night out with friends, and family, or the holiday BBQ. Don’t be afraid to order the new ‘Lager’ in town.”

Random: It’s also the fifth beer I’ve had of this style since starting the blog.

This beer poured with a thick, one finger white head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was slightly cloudy and was an amber color with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with toasted malt and bread. The taste was also malt dominant with some toast and sweetness thrown in. The end of the sip had some very light grass and ended with a touch of bitterness. It had a thicker body than I expected, but was still quite crisp and had moderate carbonation. It had a long finish that lingered on the tongue with toast and the remnants of the hop bitterness as well. For $1.89 a can, it translates into $.16 per ounce, which isn’t bad at all for an easy-drinking, crisp lager. I would highly recommend this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Great Lakes Eliot Ness

I’ve started on “Elizabeth” since I finished Season Two of “Big Love.” I finished part one and it was really, really good. I really love Helen Mirren, even more so after watching this. She’s just amazing in this, which by the way, I never realized was a miniseries by HBO. Anyways, the other half picked up this brew for me. I thought that I already reviewed it, but was happy to see that I hadn’t. Since this was a beer from Great Lakes, I was uber excited to try it. Let’s see how it went.


ABV: 6.25%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “An amber lager with rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops”

Random: We have a bunch of weddings to go to this summer, which means I have to find a dress. This should be fun.

This beer poured with a two finger, cream-colored head that dissipated slowly and left limited lacing on the shaker pint glass. The body was a slightly cloudy copper color with moderate carbonation visible throughout. The nose didn’t have much on it. There was a bit of bready malt and not much else. The taste had a bit more going on. There was definite caramel malt and bread with some toffee as well. At the end, there was some grassiness from the hops as well. I could see how some people would call this beer simple, but it was really well executed. The body was medium thickness and very crisp with just enough carbonation. The finish was on the long side with bready malt. This was yet another great offering from Great Lakes. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Coors Third Shift Amber Lager

Ever try a product to see how truly awful it is? It makes me sound like a glutton for punishment. Perhaps I am. In my quest to try every beer possible, it sometimes forces me to try beers that are less than desirable. So, I finally broke down while I was out to dinner with my sister. This was advertised as one of the restaurant’s “craft” offerings. I have no words for that really.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Third Shift Amber Lager is the first release in a series of award-winning beers brewed by the Band of Brewers – a group of talented brewers across the MillerCoors network. Third Shift is as much about collaboration as it is invention – the shared pride that comes from creating something truly great. The Band of Brewers joined forces to create Third Shift – a smooth and easy drinking amber lager – well balanced with a sweet maltiness that dominates slightly over a clean – hop bitterness. The result is a gold-medal winning amber lager that is complex yet well-balanced.”

Random: As I was drinking this, the bar manager came over and told me how much he loved it. I then told him how much I didn’t love it (oops, spoiler alert) in a nice way and asked if there were plans to get other (read: real) craft beers on tap. He said there were, especially when I started telling him how great some of the local offerings were.

This brew poured with a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow (what I could see in the limited lighting) with lots of carbonation. The nose was sweet grain and not much else. The taste was borderline awful. I got sweet grain and skunking. Not a thing else. The body was way too watery and the carbonation was too high. There wasn’t (thankfully) even a finish on this one. This is one of the few beers that I can honestly say that I wouldn’t drink if it was handed to me. Its only redeeming quality is that it was wet. Despite the fact I hated this beer, I encourage you to try it, just to see what a wonderful “crafty” beer this is.

Untappd Rating: 1.5/5.0

Abita Amber

After spending a few days in Tampa, we were headed to the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Yep, we went to Disney. We stayed at the Port Orleans, which was pretty nice. I’ve never stayed in Disney, so this was a new experience for me. Once we got there, we had a few hours to kill before hitting up the Magic Kingdom for the Christmas party. So, Kate and her mother took the kid to the pool and I hit up the pool bar at the Riverside. The beer selection was pretty slim, but they did have 3 selections from Abita. I overheard the bartender telling someone that it was really rare to find Abita outside of Louisiana. I for one, have never ever had a problem finding Abita in New Jersey. So, I nicely corrected him and talked some beer with him and ordered a pint of amber.

ABV: 4.5%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Amber is a Munich style lager brewed with crystal malt and Perle hops. It has a smooth, malty, slightly caramel flavor and a rich amber color. Abita Amber was the first beer offered by the brewery and continues to be our leading seller. Amber is Abita’s most versatile beer for pairing with food. It has been voted “best beer” in numerous New Orleans reader polls and is used frequently in recipes of great Louisiana chefs. Because of its smooth, malty flavor, try it with smoked sausages, Louisiana boudin, or even with caviar. It’s great with crawfish and Cajun food. You might also enjoy it paired with a spicy gumbo or tomato-based pasta sauce. It also goes well also with fried catfish dipped in a tart, lemony tartar sauce. Parmesan, Pecorino and Romano cheeses are good pairings with Abita Amber.”

Random: I guess since the hotel had the whole Cajun thing, they had to find appropriate beers from the area.

Disney was keeping it classy with the plastic cup. It poured with half a finger of white head that lingered for awhile and left some lacing on the plastic cup. The body was a clear, mahogany color with very light visible carbonation. The nose was very light with some caramel malt and maybe even a hint of hop. The taste was a malt bomb up front. It had some nuttiness to it and followed up with some sweet caramel malt. There was also some toasted bread thrown in too. There wasn’t any real bitterness to it. This was a bit one-dimensional to me. The body was on the heavier side with light carbonation. It finished quickly, but had a slight metallic hint to it. This brew was only alright to me. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0