“Do you have something like Bud?”
This was a question that haunted me when I used to work part time at a brewery. It’s not that I didn’t understand what they were asking for, it just hurt my insides a little.
How could you want a beer like Bud when you’re surrounded by a scrumptious lineup of skillfully made craft brews?
Oftentimes, it just felt like a slap in the face. However, I’d just smile and direct them to the smoothest, most inoffensive beer I could find. These usually included ambers, lagers and easy-drinking wheat beers. There’s nothing wrong with these brews, they serve their purpose and can even draw Bud acolytes into the light.
A month ago, I wrote about Six Bridge’s Shelby beer, a malty ale that’s as friendly as a golden retriever. This week I visited Green’s Grocery in Gainesville and came across another brew that both Bud fans and non-beer drinkers would find approachable — Tantrum Brewing Co.’s Gypsy Queen.
This Mexican-style lager is light and malty with a hint of bitterness. This is the ideal beer to drink while spending time on Lake Lanier or just crushing after you mow the lawn. It’s not a bold or exciting beer, and it doesn’t need to be. The beer also doesn’t cloy your senses with sweetness like some of the popular domestic pilsners (a type of light lager) that reside in your local grocery store.
Ross Crumpton, CEO of Tantrum, said when he started his brewery over two years ago, he was hesitant to make a light lager. However, because of the brewery’s location among the mountains of Cleveland, he found that most customers would pop in wanting something refreshing after a day of hiking or spending time by the lake.
“We knew we needed a light beer,” Crumpton said. “A lot come up looking to hang outside and drink something that’s not going to fill them up, then go about their day.”
Instead of making a typical pilsner, Crumpton decided to go another route. Using a heavy dose of flaked corn and a little toasted rice, he brewed a Mexican-style lager. Compared to a pilsner, the difference in flavor is subtle. From my little experience with Mexican-style lagers, I’d say they offer a touch more bitterness to balance out the sweetness.
If you’re looking for a light beer to pair well with your warm-weather activities, I encourage you to give Gypsy Queen a try. You can find it at both Green’s Grocery off Riverside Drive in Gainesville and Tantrum, located at 1939 Helen Highway in Cleveland. Luckily, this is a year-round beer, so it won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Brewery: Tantrum Brewing Co.
Alcohol by volume: 4.7%
Style: Mexican-style lager
Bottom line: An upgrade for those who enjoy Bud Light and PBR