Tuesday, September 13, 2005

House of ... LaCrosse Lager?

They might look a little different, but the World's Largest Six Pack lives on. I can't say I've seen it in person, but I'm told it's a sight to behold. Six towers painted to look like beer cans. It was the old G. Heileman brewery that first painted those cans, but a few years ago they were re-painted by a new brewer giving rebirth to a classic beer flavor. That classic flavor, choice malts cut with a bit of maize and naturally krausened for your pleasure, packaged as beer known as Old Style. The old brand may live on, brewed in Texas bY Pabst, but the brewing tradition continues in LaCrosse, Wisc., at City Brewery.
The folks at City Brewery produce some good, cheap beers and among the few different core brands that make up the portfolio, is the LaCrosse Lager. Some say that LaCrosse Lager is the true Old Style, the original recipe. I don't know if that's the truth and I never was enough of an Old Style drinker to really discern a difference, but I would say that LaCrosse Lager is very smooth, sweetish, drinkable lager beer. Of course, at $11 for a 30-pack of cans, it's definitely a cheap beer. (I prefer the bottles myself, even though they cost a little more, because the beer seems to taste better. But, then again, I might getting snobbish.)
A lot of people who grew up in the 1970s may remember how the old G. Heileman brewery advertised Old Style as being "fully krausened." Well, krausening isn't just a marketing term, it's a real process of mixing freshly fermenting beer with beer that is mostly or completely fermented in order to add carbonation. This is an German technique not practiced by larger megabrewers such as Anheuser-Busch.
Is it the natural carbonation that gives LaCrosse Lager its highly drinkable smooth flavor? I would say so, but what adds to this lager's appeal is the delicate aroma of fresh grain and the real malt flavor. If you're interested in drier, lighter version of LaCrosse Lager you should try Lacrosse Lager Light, which is pretty much today's version of Old Style.
Anyone who knows me, knows that it can take me awhile to get to the point of a story, so I'll sum up by saying that Old Style drinkers in the Midwest should latch on to this reborn LaCrosse brewery and its LaCrosse Lager.