Brewing All Stars #5: Mason Jar Lager Co. Pull Tab Pilsner, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Date: July 20 , 2019 —
The Story— The Mason Jar named two restaurants in the Triangle are of North Carolina. After establishing themselves well, the owners tacked on a brewery next to their Fuquay-Varina location and seemed to have made the transition to beer and food remarkable successfully.
Fuquay-Varina lies in a brewing rich area of the Tar Heel state, with Aviator Brewing not far away and several others within an easy drive. There’s a fairly sophisticated craft beer market and, like most areas of the US now, it’s hard to find an unoccupied niche. Mason Jar’s was to focus on lagers. Few small breweries choose — or even can– to produce lagers because of the extra time in the tank that they take. But once in a while customers recognize they value of clean well conditioned beers and ensure the brewery’s success. Old Dominion in the Mid-Atlantic was a pioneer in brewing a range of good craft lagers. Jack’s Abby in Framingham, Mass. is another than didn’t produce any American ale styles until very recently and has done very well.
The malts in this beer are genuine German pilsner malts, but they use Simcoe hops — and maybe that explains the bit of hard-to-identify flavor that we found out of placeWe haven’t been to Mason Jar. Yet. But if they keep producing beers this good, they’ll still be there when we get there.
The Beer– The pale malt and the light fruit that suggests Juicy Fruit and Honeysuckle are very authentic and it ends with an equally authentic long pilsner bitter. The 4.7% abv is also spot-on. A very light suggestion of soap– from the Simcoe?– was a minor distraction that kept it from being one of our top ten beers of the year, but still, we see it as one of the better American pilsners we’ve had.
Value — Very good. I’m only sorry I didn’t have a chance to have several of these to see how it drinks over time.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
It’s All-Star season. MLB has finished theirs, but it seems like a new sport is showcasing exceptional talent almost every day. So we’ll be presenting our own all-star brewing line up. We don’t claim to present– or even know– what the best beers in America are, but out of the hundred or so that we taste every month, some are indeed special. For the second couple of weeks in July, we’ll share some recent standouts in a very crowded craft beer field. .
We’re often asked to share our tasting notes on over 33,000 beers; this blog is in answer to those requests. Not all our notes, though. The great beer writer Michael Jackson admirably followed the Thumper Rule, and we’ll try to do the same. (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”) All the beers we post are from the top half of our ratings and most are from the top quarter. Of greater value, we think, are the stories behind the beers, and we try to give you enough about the brewery, the style and the places to find great beer to help you on your own beer journeys. At CulturAle Press we try to write books and publish posts that will help you “Drink Well and Travel Safely.”