WTF Am I Drinking?: Lager-Focused Breweries with Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers

Hello there, and welcome to the fourth edition of TapRm’s podcast and explainer series, “WTF Am I Drinking?” Each episode, we chat with one of our favorite brands and brewers to dig into a beer style, an ingredient, a brewing process, or really any topic that helps all of us beverage lovers at any level of knowledge develop both a better understanding and a better appreciation of the drink at hand. So far, we’ve learned about the piquette spritz with Ditto, we dove deep on kveik yeast with Oslo Brewing Company, we discussed the fascinating world of delicious non-alcoholic beer with Athletic Brewing Company, we talked all things “boozy tea” with Owl’s Brew, and we got into mission-driven beer with Prison Break Brewery

This episode, we’re talking lager-focused breweries with Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers out of Framingham, Massachusetts. From Czech-style pilsners to amber lagers to hoppy lagers to blood orange wheat radlers, Jack’s Abby applies an extreme dedication to the delicate craft of lager brewing to creating style after style under the lager umbrella, beautifully showing just how rich--and delicious--the world of lager is. Since committing to lager exclusively is no small feat, and since Jack’s Abby has been doing just that successfully for over a decade, we wanted to catch up with Vice President of Marketing Rob Day to give us a quick review of lager basics and then dive deep on lager brewing, lager variety, lager perception, and Jack’s Abby’s role in all of it.

Our conversation takes us through the three Hendler brothers’ motivation for opening a lager-focused brewery, and what that journey looked like. Rob tells us about how it wasn’t always so easy to convince people to get on the craft lager train when Jack’s Abby opened in 2011, because American-made lager has for so long been associated with Big Beer--read: watery and flavorless. Lager drinkers figured they’d stick to Big Beer, and craft drinkers wanted ales because they didn’t think lager could be a beautifully made, flavor-exploding delight. As you’ll hear in the podcast, Jack’s Abby has been absolutely instrumental in changing that perception.

We brush up on lager-vs.-ale characteristics with Rob, too, which takes us into the fine art and science of lager-brewing and what that means for Jack’s Abby in terms of their dedication. We also get a little behind-the-scenes peek at how Jack’s Abby comes up with what they’ll brew next and how they actually brew all these different styles, which only helps to further illustrate another point of our chat: “lager” isn’t just one style, but a whole world of styles (so get exploring!). 

We come full circle by discussing the state of craft lager now (spoiler: it’s good!), including how so many lager drinkers have gotten into craft beer that way, and how so many craft beer drinkers have seen just how wonderful and flavorful lager can be when it’s made by breweries like Jack’s Abby. The future looks super bright for both lager at large and Jack’s Abby in particular, so listen to find out why and get inspired to drink all the lager! Listen here and get to know Jack’s Abby here--we especially recommend participating in the tasting portion of the podcast episode at home by trying the Post Shift Pilsner, House Lager, and Hoponius Union Hoppy Lager.

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