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  • Writer's picturePaige Latham Didora

mission amber: Great Lakes and Lagunitas

Lagunitas Censored

I had the opportunity to make a lovely meal for some people I love yesterday. I biked home after work and threw together some pasta with homemade pesto and cherry tomatoes. We sat out on my patio, and though we didn’t grill, the meal screamed summer (especially with ice cream for dessert!)

I decided that a few ambers would work nicely.

Remember my general breakdown of the beers with a red color in the name and their subcategories?? Confusing, I know. Time to dig in a bit.

The Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale falls into the American Amber Ale category that has been previously discussed. That was the first beer opened at our dinner.


The Censored is the first beer I haven’t enjoyed out of Lagunitas. I learned that a soapy taste can come from leaving the beer in the primary too long and the solvent flavor from too high of a fermentation temp, however I find these issues unlikely for a (successful) commercial brewery.


On a positive side, the beer was perfectly carbonated and left very pretty lacing on all of our glasses.

Next on the docket was Great Lakes’ Eliot Ness Amber Lager, which is a completely different style. Amber Lagers are not a style I’m very familiar with, but I think this info from the BJCP site gives some great background (edited for grammar, they’re beer nerds not regular nerds):

“The original amber lager was developed by Anton Dreher shortly after the isolation of lager yeast. Nearly extinct in its area of origin, the style continues in Mexico where it was brought by Austrian immigrant brewers in the late 1800s. Regrettably, most modern examples use adjuncts which lessen the rich malt complexity characteristic of the best examples of this style. The style owes much of its character to the method of malting (Vienna malt). Lighter malt character overall than Oktoberfest, yet still decidedly balanced toward malt.”


The Eliot Ness is a top-notch beer that will become a regular brew for me. Its toffee notes, hint of stonefruit and complex malts are unmatched in my opinion. The rich body without the often-accompanying sweetness leave me wanting more. And more. Obviously, I need to taste more Amber Lagers, but I highly recommend this one.

I’m learning so much about amber beer! First, that there are many “amber” or “red” brews, and they are not remotely similar. Stay tuned as I dig in to more related beers, next up: Altbier!


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