Lager gets a bad rap. Commonly associated with the macro pilsners stacked ceiling-high in walk-in coolers across the nation, lager is panned by many craft beer enthusiasts as boring and simple, worthy only for the unenlightened to drink from plastic cups. Sure, it is simple, but dismissing it overlooks the fact the lagers being brewed at your local microbrewery — as opposed to those less flavorful versions from Milwaukee and St. Louis — are often clean, crisp, complex and delicious. In other words, amazing.
Once such amazing, local, microbrewed lager is being brewed on the Coralville strip — the ReUnion Brewery’s ReUnion Lager.
ReUnion Lager is a German-style helles. (It was originally called ReUnion Helles but was recently rebranded.) ReUnion brewer Logan DePover said it is brewed with all-German ingredients: German pilsner malt, Magnum and Tettnang hops and yeast from Weihenstephaner, a brewery in Bavaria that is the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world. Crisp, flavorful and easy drinking, DePover said ReUnion Lager is an everyday-drinking beer. In fact, he said it is go-to beer after a long day at work.
ReUnion Lager is clear, clean gold in color. The aroma is fruity but crisp, with scents of pale malt and herbal hops. The flavor has a nice, herbal bite. It is like the first beer you ever tried — only thousands of times better. There are grassy notes in both the aroma and flavor. It features a light toastiness and light fruit (mostly reminiscent of strawberry and maybe apple), and has a spicy, herbal bitterness that lingers on the taste buds.
Alcohol content: 5 percent ABV.
Food pairings: DePover said the style is very versatile and pairs well with just about anything, except desserts. It does not drown lighter flavors and provides a pleasing contrast to more robust dishes.
Where to buy: ReUnion Lager is always on tap at the ReUnion Brewery (516 2nd Street, Coralville). DePover said it has also been on tap at Micky’s Irish Pub, Mondo’s Saloon, Joseph’s Steakhouse, Bread Garden Market, Share, The Englert, Devotay, Forbidden Planet and the Coralville Kum & Go, so look for it at those locations.
Price: A 12-ounce pint at the ReUnion Brewery costs $5 and a 21-ounce pour into a “Willi” glass is $6. ReUnion growlers can be bought and filled for $20; any grower can be refilled for $15.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 200.