From the Beer Writer: If there was a local lager trend in 2017, it was the pursuit of “crushability” as numerous San Diego breweries went the way of the Mexican lager. Lower alcohol and increased crispness seemed to be the only goals. Sadly, flavor was left out of the equation in this quest to revive the lawnmower beer. While I gave up domestic landscaping long ago, I regularly work up a sweat, usually hiking up mountains, and no part of me wants to grab some tasteless (albeit crushable) lager when I’m done. To me, flavor enhances the draw to keep drinking a beer, so I’m surprised so many people act like flavor gets in the way of the drinking experience. It seems like a dangerous way of thinking that’s going to lead us right back to macro-beer domination, so it’s good to see that, this year, lagers with bolder, more complex flavor profiles appear to be trending. A prime example is La Flama Roja, a 5% alcohol-by-volume amber lager from Chula Vista’s Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing that comes at you with dual assets. Yes, it’s light-bodied and extremely drinkable, but it also offers toasty notes like the darkened, crusty edges of bread fresh from under the broiler. As it warms, a mild touch of caramel enters the equation, but at no point does either flavor component become dominant or in any way impede or take away from the beer’s thirst-quenching nature.
From the Brewer: “La Flama Roja is a medium-bodied, crisp, amber lager with hints of bread crust and slight malt sweetness balanced by a low bitterness and floral hop aroma from noble German hops. It is one of the lagers in our Flama series. We wanted to do a few lagers with Mexican-lager yeast and so far we have our Flama Blanca pale Mexican lager, Flama Roja amber Mexican lager and, coming soon, our Flama Negra black lager. It is our tribute to various south-of-the-border beers we all had growing up. And now, with lagers making a big comeback, we feel we wanted to be a part of these styles and do our rendition of some of the classics with a Punk touch.”—Kevin Lewis, Head Brewer & Co-founder, Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing