Buffalo is a hard place to live, with some of the nicest people around. This frozen land north of the wall has tolerant Bills fans, a populace sustained on garbage plates, sponge candy, and vinegar wings, and home to the elusive “year round shorts guy” trudging around Dyngus day kicking snow off his bare calves. Buffalo is love.
Thin Man Brewing is headed by a craft beer legend, Mike Shatzel. He is a publican who changed the scope of New York beer culture, was once stabbed, and is the reason that Zwanze day appears in that snowy tundra every year. TMB employs a shotgun approach of both leaning into and deriding hype beer culture. They will both do a collab with Other Half, and then release an American brown ale.
Imagine the audacity of a brewery releasing an export lager in 2020. In the year of smoothies, peach rings, quad dry hopped riwaka, purees and vanilla caviar, we have floor malted pilsner and hallertau. Unsurprisingly, this has a 3.8 on Untappd which is to say: it is absolutely excellent.
The hard water profile of a dortmunder merges with toasted breadiness of a Vienna lager, with the crisp white pepper and biscuit aspect of a helles overseeing it all. This is a garbage plate of german lagers in the best way. The closer is terse and imparts heart of palm and agapanthus. This is a beer for Edwardian blue collar workers, made in a town that invented the electric chair and once lovingly cheered for O.J. It has a ton of character and is refreshing without sacrificing depth or perspective.
If you’ve ever taken a piece of challah or potato bread and toasted it beyond soft into that crunch zone, you can see what happens to export lagers like this. They took a Czech pilsner and gave it more roast and breadiness, the result is extremely satisfying. The best part is: no one cares. Thin Man Brewing will make pastryhype to confuse and satiate the locals, their furrowed bellies pressing hard against the Kirkland jeans dam, spilling into a North Face fleece like a public works overflow project. This is all the flavor, without the cultural and physiological stigma.
It’s good, just like the people in Buffalo. Someone bodyslam me through a folding table.