I try pretty hard to have “good” reasons for featuring a beer in this space.
Generally, a cool label for a new beer is not enough to get over the hump and into the column.
Because just LOOK at those awesome cans for this beer.
Cardinal! White! Home! Away!
It’s a great concept that the Great Dane executed really well — a sleek, statement design on twin cans that come three apiece in a six-pack.
Enough said, right?
Oh, the beer inside! Right.
“We’ve been wanting to create a drinkable, tailgate-worthy beer for awhile, and what better way to do it than in a style that lets you show your loyalty to your favorite college team,” Rob LoBreglio, the Dane’s brewmaster, said in a press release. “We went with a refreshing lager that’s easy to drink and sessionable, but still full of flavor.”
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Hut one, hut two, hike!
Home & Away Lager
Style: American lager
Brewed by: Great Dane Pub & Brewery
What it’s like: A lot of basic lagers have exploded onto the craft scene in the past 18 months or so, but this one reminds me more of the macrobrews that they’re imitating: a little fuller than a Miller High Life but not quite the mouthful of a Blatz.
How much: Home & Away is priced along with the Dane’s other six-packs, around $9 depending on where you shop.
Booze factor: At 5.2% ABV, Home and Away is a little bigger than most of its macro forebears — something to consider during your tailgate or other session.
Up close: If you feel the need to remove this beer from its gorgeous cans, it’ll pour a deep gold with crisp carbonation and handsome white head. The aroma: Beer. Gentle malt sweetness cut with a little bit of noble hop character. With a sip: More beer. A modest malt sweetness runs the front, quickly neutralized by neutral hops. It’s balanced for the first few sips, and with the medium-light body you think it’s going to be a big crusher. But a building, kind of funky bitterness lingers through the finish, a little more than I like in this style.
Drinking a beer like this from the Dane, I can’t help but think about the brewery’s excellent German Pilsner, which has been in cans for four years now. It’s light, easy-drinking and, in my view, far superior to Home & Away at the same price per six-pack. It’d be a no-brainer for any occasion, including a tailgate party … if it weren’t for those sexy cans. Maybe next year we can just put German Pilsner in cardinal and white?
Bottom line: 3 stars (out of four)