Great Lakes Brewing Company is solely responsible for my love of malty beer. I don’t know about the rest of you, but in my opinion Great Lakes gets its malts right: fresh, true-to-style, and absolutely consistent. Their Eliot Ness Vienna Lager is one of my all-time favorites. Enter another classic, historic beer bursting with malts … the Dortmunder Gold Lager. Here is a style named after the city of Dortmund, Germany, which was one of Germany’s earliest centers for commercial brewing. The Dortmunder style emerged during the mid-19th century, when Dortmund’s leading breweries started brewing similar styles at the same time.

Great Lakes’ version of the Dortmunder is, well, award-winning. The brewer calls this year-round brew like it is: a “delicate balance between sweet malt and dry hop flavors.” The grain bill boasts Harrington 2-row and Caramel 60 malts, followed by Cascade (citrusy, flowery) and Hallertau (spicy, fruity, and decidedly German) hops. In all, a bill that has some integrity.

So far every time I’ve poured a Great Lakes beer into a glass it has been exactly the same: the quintessential sound of cold beer on glass, which warms as it froths. Head develops quickly and you can easily craft the pour exactly how you prefer it. I like a good 2-3 finger head on my beer, and that was easily accomplished with the Dortmunder Gold. The light and foamy white bubbles made sure I smelled that sweet malt body right away. So fresh and so clean!

As for taste, mouthfeel, you can tell why this is a flagship beer. Wonderful, bready malt sweetness pervades, but is equaled by a great hop spiciness/bitterness that’s bursting with flavor. A super balanced beer, drinkable, and still you’re able to identify the sweet and bitterness separately. So, so enjoyable.

Does Great Lakes deign to make an average beer? I haven’t had one yet…

ABV: 5.8%

Grade: A