Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Local Acre

Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI

Style: Lager
ABV: 7.0%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

2009 was a great year here at, and we vigorously celebrated that fact in the final two months of the year in the best way possible:

Ceasing to review.

That’s right … it’s not like an integral part of our website was sampling and writing about fine American craft beer, particularly those found in the Midwest. On the contrary, people are drawn to our site for Eddie’s Pulitzer-prize winning, profanity-laden rants, Baby-boy’s captivating fictional compositions disguised as beer reviews (some would say it’s a word-for-word reprint of War and Peace, but those people would be idiots, because they actually read 2000 pages of War and Peace), and graphic designs that would put an advanced preschooler to shame. We don’t need to review beer here at to be successful; we simply need to build a better spam robot.

Despite that, I figured that there’s no better way to usher in the New Year than with an old-school beer review. It may seem campy now that we’ve moved on to bigger and better things, but Nigel is a total shill for nostalgia. Plus, I’m excited about this one: a brew from my favorite hometown brewery, Lakefront, that’s brewed with ingredients exclusively from my home state, Delaware. While craft beer has always been an industry that emphasizes drinking local, that trend seems to be getting positively xenophobic. Pretty soon we’ll be drinking Bell’s Driveway Ale, brewed exclusively with ingredients culled from their parking lot.

Local Acre is a traditional lager, basically an amped-up version of the style of beer that made Milwaukee, and in turn Wisconsin, synonymous with brewing. The write-up on Local Acre is impressive, which leads me to believe that Lakefront has been roaming the coffee shops on Brady St., scooping up unemployed east siders that are too smart for their own good and offering them temporary marketing positions (Note to brewer: please see attached resume). Brewed with 6-row malted barley and Cascade hops, both of which are Wisconsin grown, it’s a powerful (7 percent ABV), unfiltered lager that is meant to “capture the soul of Wisconsin.” That linguistic skill can only come from someone who paid $30,000 a year to get a degree from Marquette.

All kidding aside, I do like the concept, and I give kudos to Lakefront for not only using all Wisconsin ingredients, but doing it in a style that is both traditional (basic lager) and new-school (amped-up, both in flavor and ABV), thus encompassing the spirit of Wisconsin. I’d finish off the ambiance by drinking it with cheese curds while watching the Packer game, but I’d rather have my eyes gouged out with a rusty fork than watch the Packers.

Local Acre pours well, with a pillowy white head of well over an inch that quickly dissipates, leaving a nice, creamy lace throughout and some stickiness on the sides of the glass. While lagers aren’t meant to be dark, I was a bit surprised as to just how light of a hue this was: a honey-colored, light golden brown with some sedimentation that lingers throughout. Overall, a nice looking lager that is clearly of the craft variety (read: it doesn’t look like yellow water).

Aromas are stronger than a typical lager, though the qualities are the same. It’s earthy to the extreme, with pale malt at the fore. Grainy, grassy notes with a touch of roast dominate, with nominal hints of stale citrus and mild sugars present. By no means my favorite aroma, but decent for the style.

The flavor is good, but far from spectacular. In terms of lagers, I’d give it a big thumbs-up. In terms of limited-release, powerful brews in general, I’d give it a big “eh.” The grainy, somewhat stale earthiness present in the aroma translates to the taste, as Local Acre captures the flavor you’d expect when passing by a Wisconsin cornfield in July. Huge amounts of lightly roasted malt with a noticeable creaminess dominate from beginning to end, drowning out virtually any other flavor. While it’s good that the alcohol is hidden, the 38 IBUs from the Cascade hops are nowhere to be found either. I can sense some notes of zesty citrus trying desperately to make their presence felt, but it never happens, much to the detriment of the brew. Even the overwhelming malt is one-dimensional, as any hints of sweeter, sugary notes never seem to make their presence known. The initial flavor was pleasant, but there’s no evolution … it simply stalls, making me utter the unfortunate statement “it is what it is.” Medium bodied and smooth on the palate, Local Acre does have a strong, yeasty aftertaste but overall has a good texture that doesn’t overwhelm.

While Local Acre does in fact capture some of the nuances that are the Badger State, it’s important to remember something about Wisconsin for those unfamiliar: this is a state where people consider ketchup spicy. And while the beer culture here is relatively advanced, there are still plenty of unrefined palates that need a craft brew that’s a touch on the plain side. Local Acre is a good, strong lager, and satisfies most of the promises made on the label, but overall it’s just a nice drink that I won’t be rushing out to buy again. It’s worth a try for sure, but don’t expect to be blown away.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on January 5, 2010.
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