Tasting Notes: Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager from SweetWater Brewing Company

hatcheryMEXlabelNow that we have successfully completed the move of Mashing In’s headquarters, it is finally time to celebrate with a little Tasting Notes action featuring Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager from SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia).

Released as SweetWater Brewing’s official beer of Cinco de Mayo and summer (a.k.a. Lawnmower and Shower Beer Season), Mexican Style Lager is the second packaged release from the brewery’s Hatchery Series – a line of limited release beers (typically draft only) created on the brewery’s new pilot system.  For their take on the Mexican-style lager, SweetWater laid a base with a proper malt bill (2-Row, Flaked Maize, Vienna Malt, Carapils) and then dosed it with “El Dorado hops to give this brew slightly sweet, malty, and tropical fruit aromas.”  At just 4.8% ABV and 29 IBUs, Mexican Style Lager is an easy-drinking, go-to option meant for any occasion during the summer months.  12 oz. bottles of Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager are available now exclusively in SweetWater’s Summer Variety Pack alongside Cool Breeze Cucumber Saison, Goin Coastal IPA with Pineapple, 420 Extra Pale Ale, and Hash Session IPA.

Now that the details are covered, that can only mean one thing: cerveza time!  Let’s get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager from SweetWater Brewing Company

Appearance: Mexican Style Lager fills the glass as a bright golden brew topped with a finger of loose, pure white foam.  When held to the light, the beer radiates with tones of rich golds and electric yellows.  The body is perfectly clear and wonderfully displays the beer’s spirited carbonation activity.  The head has decent staying power, but eventually falls to a chunky ring that notches the glass after each pull.

Aroma: The aromatic experience begins with that alluring and quintessential lager note of lightly sweet, bready grains.  A touch of corn rises up and gives way to a delightful hop character.  Notes of apricot and sweet melon easily distinguish themselves, but do so in a manner that still allows room for those gorgeous malts to remain and bloom. Beautiful.

Taste: Malts once again lead the way with notes of quality bread, sweet corn, and just a dollop of honey.  The hops play more of a role here by really showcasing a pronounced apricot character, but a touch of pineapple and watermelon can be found kicking around in the back.  The fruitiness is relatively subtle, but just forward enough to give the flavor profile a bit of added depth and complexity many may find lacking in typical Mexican-style lagers.

Mouthfeel: Just as it should be, this lager is light in body with a pretty sizable carbonation presence.  The beer is playful on the palate with a slight sweetness that is consistently canceled by just enough hop bitterness.  Skillfully balanced, incredibly clean, nicely crisp and damn refreshing.  At just 4.8%, the ABV displays zero effort to make its presence known.  Aftertaste is a slight but wonderful mix of grain and apricot.

Final Thoughts: Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager is exactly as billed . . .  a really good take on a Mexican-style lager.  Although the El Dorado hops are a fresh (and lovely) addition to this established style, the beer remains a beautiful homage to the many beers that came before it.  It pulls this off by really emphasizing each and every aspect of its malt bill to give it that incredibly recognizable lager grain quality.  By perfectly setting the dials marked “malt” and “hops”, the brewers at SweetWater have supplied their fans with a stunning lager that is somehow both simple and dynamic.  Those terms may sound contradictory, but those descriptors are truly a requirement for any great lager of this style.  You simply do not run across many memorable Mexican-style lagers, but Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager absolutely is one.  Be sure to check it out this summer.  Prost!