Five of O.C.’s Best Lawnmower Beers

With Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage blasting in my noise-cancelling headphones and a few solid yanks of the lawn mower pull cord, my raggedy patch of green sits in fear of its impending bi-weekly haircut. Should I go front to back or diagonal like Angel’s stadium? I adjust my PBR headband and crack a cold one, as no fescue should be mowed without proper liquid refreshment.

Locally we have some ace examples of what is known as lawnmower beer; that is, a beer that is lightly hopped, pale yellow, and quenching as it is quaffable. Here are five of my favorites:

Unsung’s Buzzman is more than just an “American Mutant Ale,” it’s one of those beers that has notes of sunlight and invigoration. “The crisp, light, low-ABV brew is inspired by the lawnmower beers” of the Midwest,” says owner Michael Crea. The bright-yellow beer is styled as a classic cream ale, which is a confusing misnomer as the beer contains no cream. Address: 500 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, across from the Anaheim Packing House.

If you don’t think American Light Lager can win awards at the national and global levels, you’d be wrong. TAPS Fish House & Brewery’s Amend This! lager won bronze at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015, then continued on to win silver at the 2016 World Beer Cup. Not only is it great for sweaty-sneezy yard work, it’s one of my favorites to drink with TAPS’ oysters as it enhances flavors instead of covering them up. Growlers to go from their Brea location at 101 E. Imperial Highway, Brea.

Before Picasso painted abstract, he showed that he was capable of realism. Such is new San Juan Capistrano brewery, Docent, which released Canteen Beer at its soft opening, showing the world it’s capable of brewing ultra bright, clean, and flawless beer on day one. Grab a crowler to goAvailable at 33049 Calle Aviador, Suite C, San Juan Capistrano.

Is Noble Ale Works Pilsnear a pilsner? Nope, it’s Pils-NEAR. One misconception is that light beers are inexpensive and easy to brew. To make a hoppy pilsner, it can sometimes cost more than the average IPA. Not only does the brewery have to propagate a special lager yeast pitch (which needs more cells than ale yeast), but a lager fermentation also takes more time in the tanks, which can slow down a busy schedule. Once Noble figured out it could use its house yeast at lower temps to mimic a lager, Pilsnear was born, and damned if it doesn’t taste like a refreshing pils. Crowlers/growlers to go at 1621 S. Sinclair St. B, Anaheim.

When I first saw Beachwood Brewing six packs of Foam Top, I nearly birthed a weed-whacker. Stated as a blonde ale, the beer has a frothy honey malt note, then finishes super clean with a distinct German Helles-like character from the herbal/spicy Saaz hops. Foam top has also won awards on the national/global level, winning at 2012 and 2013 GABF and World Beer Cup respectively. Available in six packs around O.C. liquor stores, or at Beachwood locations

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