Inspired by the malty lagers of Denmark, this multiple-award-winning brew from Buellton's Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. features the kind of complex malt flavors that perfectly complement autumn, but Danish Red Lager remains crisp and drinkable enough for even Southern California's balmy version of the season.
The beer pours a hazy copper with a creamy head. It has aromas of caramel apples and toasted bread. Seven different malts are used to brew the sweet-yet-not-cloying Vienna-style lager and provide layer after layer of malty flavors. This richness is offset by just enough hop character to provide balance. The brew's clean finish accentuates a delicate bitterness that doesn't linger on the palate.
The Vienna lager is a style largely ignored by craft brewers, and Figueroa Mountain's interpretation demonstrates just how satisfying the crisp, malty beers can be, especially when served with food. Equally at home alongside the sweet or savory, Danish Red Lager has enough body to stand up to flavorful dishes and enough carbonation and bitterness to help refresh the palate after rich foods.
Style: Vienna Lager
Price: About $14 for a six-pack
Where to find it: Whole Foods Markets across Southern California, and craft beer bottle shops and better liquor stores, including Sunset Beer Co. in Los Angeles, (213) 481-2337, sunsetbeerco.com; Melrose Wine and Spirits in Los Angeles, (323) 465-6362, www.melrosewineandspirits.com; and Circus Liquor in North Hollywood, (818) 769-1500, circusliquor.com.