This slightly hazy, golden-hued Helles lager from Collingwood, Ontario’s Side Launch Brewing Company has pencil yellow highlights and pours with a large and frothy head that has excellent retention and tends to leave some light spots of lace near the top of my glass. Mountain Lager has floral and perfume-like noble hop aromas, an almost steely mineral character and hints of stone fruit and red berry over a light base of German malts that give off an air of honey and light caramel.
The taste of Mountain Lager is crisp and finds supreme balance. Earthy, yet soft and honey-tinged malts and contrasted by a dry black pepper note, a citrus peel flavour and a moderate 27 IBU bitterness. I find that the fruity esters really come forward in the taste before transitioning to a dry finish that has lingering mineral, pepper and soapy tones. This lager is full-bodied for the substyle, with a pleasantly understated carbonation level and slight viscosity.
The Mountain Lager can follows the same template as other Side Launch products, this time in an attractive and polished electric blue tone that helps the nautical map background stand out. The side of the can explains the brewery’s name and logo and provides a brief description of its contents. You will find a pronounced canning date stamped towards the bottom as well.
With lagers making a resurgence in Ontario, Mountain Lager scales the ranks for my money and has been a favourite in my beer fridge since I originally planned to write this review in late 2016. It’s the kind of beer I’d rather just drink than think or write about and a versatile lager that goes with everything from a sandwich to pizza, meats and poultry to charcuterie and sharp cheese, kettle chips to robust pub fare or simply with a glass and a buddy.
Mountain Lager is a year-round offering that is listed at about 200 LCBO stores, available at select licensees throughout Ontario and in a variety of formats, including 12oz cans, at the brewery’s tap room, which is open seven days a week.
Type: Helles Lager
Region: Ontario, Collingwood
Brewery: Side Launch Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 473 ml
Alcohol Content: 4.7%