Yes, yes... I know, it's been a while. I've been dying for another round of match-ups but trying to find a perfect combination of beers to compare has become a bit overwhelming. Do I match same styles? Do I do New Jersey versus something out of state? Do I do New Jersey versus New Jersey? Well, for this edition... that's exactly what I went for: Similar style and NJ vs NJ. I've done IPA's and sessions and even stouts so why not two lagers this time around?
I've covered Ship Bottom before and some of their beers but never really dived into the Barnegat Lager other than it being the very first beer I sipped on when I moved into my new house. As far as Double Nickel is concerned, I had heard good things about their Vienna Style Lager. With my ongoing obsession with anything pilsner and/or lager related in 2017, I figured these two would be prime candidates for a Versus!
First up was the Vienna Style Lager from Double Nickel. At 5.3%, it's very approachable and it's clean. Upon opening a can, it smells bready and malty with almost a brown sugar-like quality. Upon tasting, it's a pretty mellow lager with nothing super exceptional to it, but very well balanced and a good beer to have within a 12 ounce format. As the beer warms up that breadiness and maltiness are still present but not overwhelmingly so. All in all, it's a pretty good representation of the style and not a bad buy if you like this style of beer.
Ship Bottom's Barnegat Lager rings in a bit higher on the ABV scale at 6.2%. It pours a darker amber color and is more representative of a German lager. It is a bit heavy on the malt side of things, so for me it becomes more of a fall type lager than a summer lager. Still, I enjoyed cracking this one open very much. The nose has a bit of fruit on it along with the malts. The flavor is surprisingly lighter than the malts would suggest.
Both the Vienna Style Lager and the Barnegat Lager were pretty good. I feel like my beer journey has taken me on some crazy paths. For a few years, I couldn't stand having a lager or a pilsner because they tasted like nothing. But in the past few months, that has changed and I have since come to appreciate a good pilsner and/or lager and am glad to have two spots in New Jersey that does really well with these styles. Still, only one could win.
- Double Nickel Vienna Lager: 3.5 /5
- Ship Bottom Barnegat Lager: 4 / 5
If you have a desire for a lager with a maltier base, having either is such a viable option. Double Nickel's Vienna Lager seems to be a little more accessible than Ship Bottom's, but the Barnegat Lager is worth seeking out. And if you are ever at Ship Bottom and they have Cerveza de Playa, I'd highly recommend it as well. I will say this - I'm happy to see breweries in New Jersey willing to tackle lagers and pilsners and give their own spins on time-honored beers. Salud!