Porch beer, lawn mower beer, boat beer — call it what you want. Most beer lovers appreciate the thirst-quenching qualities of brews like these, typically designed for easy drinkability rather than complexity or wild flavors.
Baltimore-based Stillwater Artisanal is a gypsy brewing operation — meaning it brews beer at various facilities, rather than at its own brewery — most well known for its farmhouse-style ales. Stillwater has found new inspiration in Yacht, a dry-hopped session lager produced at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, Conn.
Hopped-up lagers aren't out of the ordinary these days, but Stillwater applies the laid-back, easy-drinking concept to the entire product, from the name of the beer to the can it comes in.
According to Stillwater's label design notes, "The luxurious and refined mood of yachting is alluded to by the muted tones of traditional nautical colors. The stripe pattern elongates the perception of the can's size, so that it appears longer, thinner and grander. The Recorda typeface is modern and geometric, recalling the shape of a sailboat."
The can design is striking, but it's the beer inside that makes it a top start-of-summer brew. The Pilsner-based lager pours straw yellow, with a nose reminiscent of fresh-cut grass. It's boldly bitter up front, but the flavor quickly transforms into a dry, herbal tone that complements the lightly sweet malt base. The finish is short and crisp, immediately suggesting another sip.
A yacht is not required: This beer will go well anywhere under the Florida summer sun.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent