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Light and Bright: Eight of the Best Craft Lagers, Ranked


2 minute Read

Contrary to what the hop heads may have you believe, the most popular beer style in the U.S. is, overwhelmingly, lager.

Any craft beer industry vet or trendsetter will likely admit to their secret love of light lagers. Whether the light lager style is craft beer’s next big thing is up for debate. But the undeniable fact? Craft is taking lager back.

We tried more than a dozen craft lagers to reach these final picks. Let it be known that the differences between these lovable bottom-fermenting brews are so subtle that your preferences, and ours, may change by the day. Use these as a benchmark. Here are eight unapologetically “fizzy and yellow” beers at their best.

8. West Sixth Cerveza Mexican-Style Lager

Lexington, Ky.
ABV: 4.6%

West Sixth Brewing Cerveza
This take on the Mexican lager has a sweet aroma of corn chips and a took us home with Fritos-like flavor. Still subtle and refreshing, our tasters imagined taking this anywhere from Taco Tuesday to a pool party.

7. Industrial Arts Metric Pils

Garnerville, N.Y.
ABV: 4.7%

Industrial Arts Metric Pils
This creamy and crisp take on the classic offered up aromas of fresh grains, bread dough, hints of hop earthiness, and sweet, fragrant florals. Crush it again and again.

6. Cigar City Lager

Tampa, Fla.
ABV: 4.5%

Cigar City Lager
A self-proclaimed “Tampa-style lager,” Cigar City’s take claims to bring refreshment suitable for a humid Florida afternoon, and it certainly delivers. Soft and pilsner-like in mouthfeel, tasters offered up notes like “delicious,” “easy,” and “hard to hate.”

5. Zero Gravity Green State Lager

Burlington, Vt.
ABV: 4.9%

Zero Gravity Green State Lager
Subtle in every way, Green State is a pilsner that’s pale in color, gentle in aroma, and medium-light in mouthfeel. Tasters noticed a crisp, zippy kick, likely thanks to the Hallertau Mittelfruh and Saaz hops.

4. Troegs Sunshine Pils

Hershey, Pa.
ABV: 4.5%

Troegs Sunshine Pils
Don’t let the name fool you: This award-winning pilsner is as summer-crushable as it is winter-huggable. You can depend on this one anywhere, anytime — ideally soon.

3. Victory Helles Lager 

Downington, Pa.
ABV: 4.8%

Victory Helles Lager
Longtime champions of the craft lager, Victory hasn’t ceased to impress us with its year-round Helles lager, which one taster described as “like chewing on a piece of barley.” Simple, clean, and crushable, this beer rivals one of our other all-time favorites, Victory Prima Pils.

2. Firestone Lager 

Paso Robles, Calif.
ABV: 4.5%

Firestone Lager
This brand new offering from Firestone Walker is soft and clean, with a slight grain sweetness that had tasters gulping down their glasses before we could say “unicorn.”

1. Threes Vliet Pilsner

Brooklyn, N.Y.
ABV: 5.2%

Threes Vliet
The only lager on the list to dip a toe over 5 percent ABV, Threes Vliet takes pilsner to a special place for us. Its herbal, green aroma is akin to freshly cut grass; its clean, sweet, and soft on the palate; Vliet continues to crush our expectations, as we continue to crush can after can.

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