Malt 45 Lager, Dissent Craft Brewing

Collaboration with St. Petersburg brewery results in an old-school beer based on malt liquor. | Local craft beer of the week
A pint of Malt 45 Lager.
A pint of Malt 45 Lager. [ Photo courtesy of Geneva Johnson ]
Published Dec. 19, 2019

If you’ve spent enough time at local breweries and beer bars, you’ve undoubtedly noticed stickers for Crooked Daughter, a tongue-in-cheek collective of six friends and homebrewers who occasionally partner with breweries for some light collaboration work.

In the past, these collaborations have been as minimal as festooning an already-present beer with a little tiki umbrella on top. But now, owner Chris Price of St. Petersburg’s Dissent Craft Brewing has handed the reins directly to the Crooked Daughter crew, giving them the creative freedom to do a true collaborative beer, running a full batch on Dissent’s system using a recipe crafted by Crooked Daughter.

The result? Malt 45, an old-school American adjunct lager that’s based on the iconic gas station malt liquor — a beer that’s arguably much better than its modern reputation suggests.

Before you scoff, consider that many domestic breweries are successfully brewing new versions of classic American lagers, many using a heavy dose of corn in the mash to recreate an authentic, pre-Prohibition style of beer. Of the many trends that come and go in the craft beer world, this is one that’s proven to have legs.

This particular beer uses corn for a full 50 percent of the grain bill, with the balance made up of both two-row and six-row barley, the latter a uniquely American grain that tends to impart a sweet graininess to beer. A modest early addition of Nugget hops rounds out an otherwise malt-forward beer — hey, it’s in the name — without adding much bitterness or bold flavor to the brew.

As you might expect from a predominantly corn-based lager, the body is as light as air, with a faint sweetness emanating from the nose of the pale, clear liquid in the glass. Its light body belies an otherwise full flavor, rich with the expected corn and grain flavors. It tastes wonderfully old-school, and it’s as refreshing as they come.

This is a fun collaboration between Dissent and Crooked Daughter, but it’s also for a good cause, with $1 of each pint purchase going to Charlie’s Champs, a local nonprofit that works to provide adaptive equipment to disabled children. Some would say that makes the beer taste even better; you’ll have to swing by Dissent’s tasting room and see for yourself.

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