Sunday, February 2, 2020

Schell's Shift Happens DDH Lager Review

Name: Schell’s Shift Happens DDH Lager
Style: Imperial India Pale Lager
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 80

Last year, Schell’s rocked the Minnesota craft beer scene by releasing it’s first ever IPA. Now they’re taking it to the next level by starting something called the Shift Happens series (or miniseries as Schell’s puts it) and the first entry in the series is their DDH Lager; With DDH being every brewery’s favorite acronym to throw on a beer label. So as you might have guessed, this is a double dry-hopped beer made with Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo hops. Upon seeing this, I thought of a beer from a few years back called Arminius.

Back in 2014, Schell’s released their Arminius Pale Lager, named in honor of the Germanic chieftain who raised an army and successfully fought back against the Roman Empire. There’s even a statue dedicated to Arminius in New Ulm, Minnesota (Where Schell’s is located) though he’s referred to as Hermann the German. Anyways, I consider Arminius to one of my favorite offerings from Schell’s, even though it hasn’t been in production for about five years at this point. So to say that I have expectations about this would be a bit of an understatement.

Appearance – Fairly clear golden color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is pretty foamy and the lacing left behind is plentiful.

Aroma – Potent citrus and lemon notes mixed in with some hints of apricot. I’m also getting some mild hop bitterness tucked between the citrus aspect of the nose. There’s also a nice solid pale maltiness in here that encompasses the nose.

Taste – The flavor starts out with a burst of citrus, apricot and light grapefruit notes, while the second half of the palate opens up to a strong bitter hop profile and pale malt backbone that helps keep everything in check. The aftertaste consists of a light bitter and citrus hoppiness, along with a very light boozy heat.

Is this as good as Arminius was? It’s hard to say, if I’m being honest. However, there’s no denying that this beer is very good. It’s hoppy and malty in all the right ways and, despite the light boozy heat, it’s not enough to interfere with the overall flavor. Frankly if this beer is any indication as to what Schell’s has got in store for us with their Shift Happens series, then I’m very excited to see what else they will give us as they continue forward.

Hoppy Lagers are more of a niche beer so if you’re not into the style, this beer isn’t going to necessarily change your mind. However, if you’re carving a good hoppy lager, like yours truly, than this beer is most certainly for you!

Schell’s Shift Happens DDH Lager – 9/10

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