Review: Baxter Tarnation Lager

Review of Baxter Tarnation Lager from Baxter Brewing Co. in Lewiston, ME.

Beer Type: Lager  ABV: 5.3%  Tried from can.

Their Description: “Brewed in a style born in 19th-century California, Tarnation is Baxter Brewing’s first lager. American crystal malts provide light toast and caramel notes along with the beer’s rich amber hue, while Munich malt supplies Tarnation’s malty body. The complex malt notes balance the ample bitterness of American Northern Brewer hops (the signature hop for this style) giving the beer great balance. An authentic San Francisco lager yeast ferments the brew, yielding a clean, crisp and satisfying beer. This lager requires several weeks of cold conditioning (“lagering”), but we think it’s worth the wait.”

The Reality: This beer has a mild malty scent and light amber color. It starts with a malty bready flavor with just the slightest tang, that transitions to a mild hoppy bitterness, but not like an IPA. The bitterness is just enough to wash away the malty sweetness. It is medium-bodied and has an average level of carbonation. The aftertaste is a blend of the mild hoppiness and malt, but fades quickly.

Final Verdict: A pretty well-balanced lager, where the hops are a nice addition and keep this beer from being “one note”. The name “tarnation” and the old-timey prospector featured on the can conjure up images of the California gold rush. I’m sure this beer would’ve been quite an upgrade over the swill they drank from their boot to wash down campfire beans and rabbit jerky.