San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Co. is best known for their West Coast IPA, which I’ve seen in bottles and cans and on tap here in Maryland. Many years ago, I tried their West Coast IPA and, not yet being a hops fan, didn’t find it to my liking. I need to put it on my To Drink list. They’ve been around since 2002 and it was that aforementioned IPA that really put them on the map. They’ve been reaping craft brewing awards regularly since then.
Today, we’re going to take a quick look at what a Zwickel lager is… other than just being what the Sea to Sea Lager is classified as. The German Zwickelbier is a subset of the Kellerbeir (cellar beer), which is a kind of unfiltered lagered that tends to be low in carbonation and high in vitamins (from the boatloads of yeast found in it). It’s traditionally unbunged (that is, left open to the air) and fermented in deep vaults or cellars. The Kellerbeir is an old style of beer, from the Middle Ages, and the Zwickelbeir is its more modern, more subtle cousin.
The can says, “Unfiltered crisp” which has my attention; I like both of these things. I poured this from a can into a pint glass, revealing a really lovely orangey/warm yellow color. My notes say, “looks very carbonated,” but I not believe that what I was seeing was a slight haze from being unfiltered. There’s minimal head here with just a touch of lacing.
It smells bright, wheaty, citrusy, and with a rich, herbal hop impression (this last part is probably the Saaz hops, which I don’t know well). There’s even a slightly sour smell that makes me think of lemon.
The taste is very crisp with a moderately dry finish on the tongue. There’s something like a light, white bread taste to it, but I don’t really detect much maltiness to speak of. For perhaps a second, it reminded me of a gose, but it is, in fact, neither sour nor salty. Those herbal, floral-tasting hops are nice and mellow.