Simpler Times Lager, made by Minhas Brewery in Wisconsin, is a surprisingly good beer. Well carbonated, smooth, and easy on the palate, it has a hard to describe flavor. Greater beer connoisseurs than myself have described it as malty or grainy and compared its flavor and smell to corn or apples. What stands out for me is a taste fairly reminiscent of chocolate, though not exactly chocolate.
Though Simpler Times Lager does not taste anything like Guinness, something about it reminds me of the latter. Perhaps it is that I personally respond to both of those beers in a similar way, at least at first: I like Guinness in small amounts, but my palate cannot tolerate more than a few sips. With my first few sips of Simpler Times Lager, I thought it would be the same. Surprisingly, it turned out that I liked Simpler Times Lager better the more I drank.
Finickier beer drinkers may find Simpler Times Lager merely acceptable. It has a noticeable flavor, perhaps even a strong one, but not as strong as many dark beers. Its flavor is a good compromise between that of light beer and that of dark. It is a good beer to be shared by people who favor light beer and people who favor dark beer.
Also in Simpler Times Lager’s favor is its price. A reviewer in New York City reports that it costs $3.99 a six pack there. At Trader Joe’s in San Francisco, as of August 2010, it costs a dollar less – $2.99 a six pack plus tax and CRV. It is a price hard to come by for beer these days, especially for a decent microbrew.
Simpler Times Lager is a good beer to drink while relaxing, for refreshment on a hot day, on its own, or perhaps with a little food. It would go well with pizza, chips and dip, barbecue, burger and fries, and so forth.
With an alcohol content of 6.2%, Simpler Times Lager is more alcoholic than many similar beers. Being a lightweight, I find that one Simpler Times Lager gives me a good buzz. People with greater alcohol tolerance will, of course, have a different experience.
As someone who heartily dislikes Budweiser, Miller, Coors, and other such cheap mass produced beers, I find Simpler Times Lager a perfectly acceptable alternative. Cheap in price, decent in quality, not too bitter or too bland, and quite refreshing, Simpler Times Lager is a good beer for those of us who are not beer connoisseurs but have our definite likes and dislikes.
1. Simpler Times Lager | Minhas Craft Brewery | BeerAdvocate
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3. Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Trader Joe's Beer | Serious Eats