Why Berryessa Never Felt Behind in the Lager Game

Berryessa makes sure there’s a wide variety on tap for a specific reason.

“Not everybody goes to a brewery and wants the hoppiest beer they can find. You have to be able to bring in some of those other folks that just want to appreciate beer,” said Lori Nicolini, co-founder of the Sacramento-area brewery. “We’ve actually done a lot of Lagers. And what we have found is they do hold their own on the shelf, in the market, and especially at the tap room.”

Free Kittens has been a mainstay “yellow, fizzy” beer that the brewery released a decade ago. Although not its top seller (behind No. 1 mover Double Tap IIPA) the Japanese Rice Lager can bring in its own segment of drinkers.

“It was that beer that domestic beer drinkers could embrace,” she said. “My husband (co-founder and brewer Chris Miller) always says, I can see into the soul of a brewer through their Lager. And it’s 100% true.

“Quite frankly, when we go places, I get a Lager. I might judge a little if the Lager sucks, because that might tell me a little bit about someone’s brewing style or if they are well-rounded. You can’t hide anything with a Lager. I think it really showcases somebody’s brewing skills, 100%. And there’s a huge population out there that drinks Lagers.”

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Not only has Berryessa seen Lagers become a staple, but Nicolini also said she has seen a lot of other breweries in the region brewing very similar type styles.

“I would say our Lagers are just as much of a staple as our IPAs,” she said. “Our Double Tap is always our highest seller.

“Is it the chicken before the egg or the egg before the chicken? I’m not really sure. Is it because that’s what is being pushed more or maybe somebody is out there buying more of Free Kittens versus the Double Tap. Who knows. It is interesting to see, there’s always that IPA crowd, you’re always going to have people that want IPAs so we always offer a great selection of IPAs, but we never have a board of just IPA. It’s always a couple Ales, a couple Lagers, a couple IPAs.”

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