A Father's Day Roundup of Lagers That Dads Like
Beermongers weigh in on what wets their most dadly whistles
Reviewed by Eric Puga, Fri., June 18, 2021
You already have a vision in your head what a good dad looks like. Maybe that's your own pop or your spouse or some corny TV dad or whatever. Maybe he's the road trip type, out to the cabin on a lake, naughtily fueling up on gas station chips and candy while thumping the steering wheel to Otis on the car stereo. Maybe he's the stubbled man clapping too enthusiastically so as to suppress proud tears as the curtains draw closed on the first solo performance; or maybe he's the dude shouting words of encouragement through cupped hands and wire-mesh fence after an untimely popout. Or maybe he's just the guy being upcycled as the perfect living room throw pillow during a superhero movie for at least the zillionth time.
Whatever soft-hearted man you're thinking of, Reader, know that at the end of the day, he's also hoping to get shitfaced on the recliner, picking Cheetos pebbles out of his chest hair, while sipping cold crispy bois from the fridge because lagers are the Chardonnay for complaining dads. Pilsners and helleses historically, American-, Mexican-, and Vienna-style famously, lagers are bright and effervescent beers; brisk and easy drinking. Typically they are low in ABV for distance drinking and a refreshing conclusion to the end of a sweaty day of hardcore dadding. As the saying goes, "lagers are easy to make and easy to fuck up," much like kids, coincidentally. Dads can appreciate that kind of delicate balance.
So we asked an armsful of beer industry beer-dads what their very favorite area lagers were to soak up grillside (nobody was allowed a pick from their own brewery, when applicable) as inspiration for our own beer fridges or as affirmation that we are, in fact, aligned with other dads out there just trying to make it to the sofa by the seventh inning; lager in hand, ready to zone with the triumph of the day's million tiny victories behind us.
The New Hop Lager Dads
There are two types of fathers out there and only two types. "New lager dads" and "classic lager dads." The contemporary guys notably enjoy a modern adaptation to their cold ones, while the classic lager man prefers the styles perfected and cloned in a time loop in the mid-19th century back when pilsner was invented. In Central Texas, there is a long lineage of the cold conditioning lager icons like Live Oak, Spoetzl, Real Ale, and the defunct Bitter End, which eventually helped create an internationally famous reputation for local lagering luminaries such as the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. (ABGB), St. Elmo Brewing Co., The Brewtorium, and Austin Beerworks. These are the New Balance 624 Lager Dads, ready to drop H-O-R-S-E on your ass, even after a long day of cuttin' grass and fixin' the got-damned router.
Tim Bullock | co-founder, St. Elmo Brewing Co. "Ahhhhh ... Summertime is the best time for lager beer. Yes! Lagers: the delicious subcategory of beer whose name accurately pins the tail on the flavor donkey that most distinctly describes the yeast used in the fermentation process. They require the patience and guidance that only the finest brewery can offer. And who, in my opinion, is that brewery? It's hard to beat Austin Beerworks' Super Awesome [Helles] Lager. The name says it all; and if you can't get past the name, let me be the first to uniquely describe the beer as super awesome; perfect for Austin's high heat. It's seasonal though. So next time it's available, keep your eyes out!"
Josh Spradling | co-founder of the Austin Beer Guide & Lager Jam beer fest "Oddwood [Ale]'s Pool Dad Pils. I don't have a pool and with the current lifeguard shortage, finding one may be difficult this summer. Thankfully I can cool off with this refreshingly hoppy German Pilsner. The crisp bitterness remains in balance with Oddwood's take on this popular Austin style and hits all the right notes. If Pool Dad's not pouring when you dip into the pub, know it's only because those lager-loving brewers are giving this snappy jammer the time it deserves in the tanks."
William Golden | co-founder and head brewer, Austin Beerworks "I think one of my favorite lagers lately has been Ol' Gil by Hold Out Brewing. Every time I swing by Hold Out, it's the first beer I get and always leave with a six pack. This beer always provokes the visceral 'Damn, that's a good beer!' Even though Ol' Gil hasn't been in existence that long, I really feel like this recipe is dialed in and tight, like [Austin Beerworks'] Pearl Snap. And [with a low ABV] it's just pleasant and I can still play a game of backgammon after!"
Mike Brewer | bartender, Hold Out Brewing "There is an incredible love of lager in this town and you'll still hear me say how people 'sleep' on Asleep in the Deep from Oddwood. It's a proper eight-week bottom fermented cold, crispy boi. They don't release it until it's ready and they focus on its quality. It's a simple crusher. You couldn't make it taste any better unless you served it in a dimple mug."
Michael Graham | co-founder, Austin Beerworks "One of the cool things about being a dad is you can just make stuff up and your kids will believe you. For instance: Kölsch is a lager, which makes St. Elmo's Carl my favorite lager in town."
Forrest Clark | co-founder/sales, distribution & marketing, Zilker Brewing Co. "It's ABGB's Happy Pounds Lager. Super clean, complex, very light and refreshing is what I want out of a lager, and Happy Pounds delivers that every single time. I could drink it all day, but I can't because I am a dad who has two small children to look after."
Cory Hebert | head brewer, Oddwood Ales "I consider myself a true Texas 'Lager Father,' and for me there is one beer in town that always scratches the Lager itch I have: Industry Pils from ABGB. [Brian] 'Swifty' [Peters], Amos [Lowe], & Kim [Mizner] crush it every time, and I can never drink enough of it when I'm there. It was the inspiration for [Oddwood's] Pool Dad and [Adelbert's Brewery's] Lagerboy before that. It solidified my love for German-style Pilsner."
Bryan Winslow | co-founder & head brewer, St. Elmo Brewing Co. "What's my favorite local lager? Twist my damn arm already! I love any chance to talk about my love of lager. Luckily for everyone reading this article, we have a lot to choose from in this town. ABGB's Industry Pils takes it for me. It's bright, crisp, and crystal clear, yet bursting with floral German hop aroma. Everything about that beer makes me happy. From the brewers that make it to the place that you drink it, Industry is one happy Pils."
Kent Killough | co-founder, Vista Brewing "Without a moment's hesitation, my absolute favorite lager – anywhere, anytime – is ABGB's Rocket 100. I would drink it in a house, I would drink it with a mouse, I would drink it in a box, I would drink it with a fox, I would drink it here or there, I would drink it anywhere. Seriously, I feel blessed to be in a community of such amazing brewers. To be able to objectively say that some of the best lager in the world is brewed in Austin every day is the thing I'm most proud of about our fine city."
Jensen Ackles | co-founder, Family Business Beer Co. "Texas has a thriving craft beer scene, and Austin is quickly becoming known for its lagers. Of course I am biased and always reach for our Golden Age German Pils, but anytime I find myself in their neck of the woods, I really enjoy I Just Want a Pils by Southern Heights. It's perfect for a hot Texas day. Just a good clean cold crisp lager."
The Classic Lager Fathers
These dads are the L.L. Bean slipper mocs-wearing fellas who refuse to grill using two hands, as one of them is always being occupied by a cold one the way you would see an international soccer superstar clasping to the hand of a small child for the pre-match rituals. These guys don't get cute with their lagers. They've been slamming the same ones for a decade; not the "look at me" beer drinkin' types. But, also, don't think for a second that they still wouldn't nail your ass to the backboard in H-O-R-S-E by using only old man skyhooks.
Chris Troutman | co-founder/head brewer, Good Line Beer Co. in Lubbock "At this point, loving Real Ale's Hans' Pils could be considered 'so 2012' [but] this nationally award-winning lager is tough to beat, even 10 years since it humbly debuted in limited-bottled six packs. This high-fidelity Pilsner has stood against an unwavering tide of hype IPAs, whalez sours, and grossly extravagant stouts as my personal 'Desert Island Lager,' Hans' down (sorry not sorry for the pun, its Father's Day after all)."
Aaron Chamberlain | co-founder of the Austin Beer Guide & Lager Jam beer fest "Choosing a favorite lager in Austin is almost an impossible task. How could I not pick Live Oak Pilz? It's an Austin classic and deliciously true-to-style. Plus, my wife won't drink it (she's a Hans' Mom), so I get the entire six pack all to myself."
Jeffrey Stuffings | founder, Jester King Brewery "With so many great local lagers, it's tough to pick just one, but I'll go with Live Oak Gold – soft water minerality filtered to a perfect brilliance topped by a jiggly foam cap; yeasty bread dough spliced with a mellow herbal grassiness. It's infinitely drinkable. Beer-flavored beer. A gold standard."
Mark Phillippe | founder, Hi Sign Brewing "Favorite local is easily Live Oak's Pre-War Pils. I was absolutely crushing them this past year. It has this unique hop character to it, but perfectly crispy and nicely balanced flavor. The story behind that recipe is awesome, as is everything Chip [McElroy] and our neighbors around the corner [at Live Oak] are doing!"
Sohail Lodhia | owner, East 1st Grocery "I normally pour my beers in a glass after I get home from work and I almost always have Live Oak's Big Bark Amber Lager in my fridge. It pours a perfect thin, white head with just enough bubbles for good aroma, very low bitterness, and really light mouthfeel. And it finishes clean!"
Brian "Swifty" Peters | co-founder & head brewer, ABGB "I'm going with Live Oak Pilz – the granddaddy of Austin Pilsners. There's no better way to experience the finest city in Europe, Prague, than drinking a fresh Live Oak Pilz in the finest city in Texas, Austin. It captures everything you are looking for in a Bohemian Pilsner, especially the Czech malt character. It is spot on."
Chip McElroy | owner, Live Oak Brewing Co. "Shiner Bock. To a guy moving from Oak Cliff to Austin in 1975, Central Texas was a whole 'nother place and Shiner Bock was the epitome of hippie-chic. Spoetzl was one of very few remaining independent breweries in the U.S. It was old and cool. Everyone drank it by the 75-cent pitcher-full at places like the Armadillo, Scholz's and the Posse(s). Shiner was free at Eeyore's Birthday Party back then and it was 'serve yourself.' At some point I ran the beer vending machine in a co-op where I lived. Shiner was the top seller. I may or may not have paid for all I drank. I don't know how that fits in with being a dad, except that I hope that my kids someday have fond memories of beers with their friends too, especially the beer their dad makes."
Gilbert Puga | My Incredible Dad, War Veteran, Lager Man, Never Turned the Car Around "Oh easy. Live Oak Big Bark. It's mild, easy to drink, has that nice amber color to it, and it's kind of earthy. It just tastes good."
It just tastes good. Well put, Dad. Well put.