Coney Island Lager

The sideshow label art suggests that Coney Island Lager might be a novelty, a craft brew traveling more on its packaging than its taste. In fact, New York State’s Shmaltz Brewing Company has brewed a lager that is so exactly balanced that any lesser lager seems like a failure in aspiration and execution.

Coney Island’s nose isn’t distinctive nor powerful, giving up notes of malt and grains, and the golden/copper color is beautiful if not unique. The taste starts with the pleasant bitterness of a pilsner, but the malts give it a slight bready quality, with efference from the carbonation. But like a good dish, the component parts of Coney Island Lager blend into such a seamless whole that it’s hard to understand why other beers don’t meld as well.