Dottie Seattle Lager in Bellevue

In my recent post I concluded by mentioning the opening last weekend of Emerald City Beer Company at the Old Rainier Brewery. I didn’t expect to be reviewing their flagship Dottie Seattle Lager quite so soon.

Yesterday was the spouse’s birthday and we took an extended lunch break to celebrate sans enfants. We visited Bellevue’s Pumphouse Restaurant and among the 18 taps, there was Dottie. Naturally a meeting was in order.

I have mentioned before that I am not ordinarily a lager drinker – a dark lager – maybe. A light pilsner style lager – hardly ever (gotta have no alternative).

So how does Dottie measure up? First off I understand Emerald City Beer Company’s strategy: does Seattle really need a new start-up brewery offering yet another Pale Ale? The answer, in my opinion, depends on the brew – if it is knock your socks off good then there’s always going to be room for another Pale Ale in Seattle. But if it’s only average to good, look at the competition – a tough nut to crack.

Dottie is a medium bodied, medium color, medium, medium, medium lager. In other words just plain average. It’s not a spit it out in disgust brew like the mass market products – in other words it’s better than Michelob Amber Bock (whatever that is) but so is Boston Lager. Even so, there’s nothing about Sam Adams that makes me want to drink it, and there’s nothing about Dottie that makes me want to drink that either. Dottie looks hot on the label though – I’d flirt with her at least.

I wish Dottie well: she may have some of the unassuming qualities holdout mass market beer drinkers need to switch to micro-brew. Of course the guy who complains about paying $3 for his 12oz Bud, Miller, Coors, Pabst, etc is going to be a tough sell to convert to a product that sells for $4.50-5.00 a pint. Even though ounce for ounce the micro-brew may be less expensive, do you think he has the math skills to realize it?

Summing up: Dottie Seattle Lager has some body (pleasingly malty but falls short of caramel). She isn’t over-carbonated (a problem I have with many lagers). However she lacks bite (needs much more hop zing).

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