Gest, a Dark Czech Lager from Atlanta’s Elsewhere Brewing
Elsewhere Brewing is a hidden gem in Atlanta, Georgia. Located near Zoo Atlanta, the idea for Elsewhere began after an injury forced Sam Kazmer to medically retire from the Army in 2017. His wife, Sara, suggested they open a brewery of their own which culminated in them taking a year and a half long journey across North America, Europe, and South American where they learned the ins-and-outs of what makes a brewery successful.
They hired Josh Watterson, a Great American Beer Festival award-winning brewer, as their Director of Brewing Operations and he has created an amazing portfolio that spans across all styles – from classic European Lagers and Saisons to IPAs and Stouts.
In a departure from my norm, today I’m showcasing a Lager from Elsewhere.
A friend of mine brought me a can of their Gest, a dark Czech Lager that clocks in at 4.7% ABV and has just 18 IBU. Saaz hops and a Lager yeast give this the classic Czech Lager flavor while Pilsner and other debittered malt lead to a more approachable/lighter tasting brew. A 16-ounce can cost $4.
Gest poured an incredibly dark brown, nearly black, color with very minimal head building up. The tan foam that did appear quickly fizzled down to a thin ring around the edge of the glass, leaving almost no lacing as it disappeared.
On the nose, this dark brew gave off aromas of flaked wheat, roasted coffee, and just a dash of toffee. It was slightly sweet with an aroma consisting of mostly grainy characteristics. The hops offered up some hints of citrus but, for the most part, it was very malt-forward. But, for how dark it appeared, the smell was quite light and inviting.
My first sip began with an immediate rush of toasted malt. There was a lightly charred flavor that gave off big notes of coffee, toffee, and cereal. That flakey grain flavor was quite roasty and even had some nice smokiness to it as well.
The toffee quickly disappeared and allowed the coffee and oat flavors to really shine. But that slightly bitter coffee twinge didn’t stick around much longer – it hit quickly up front before fading away around the midway point.
At the halfway mark of Gest, the beer pops with more of the grainy flavors and just a dash of citrus from the hops – mostly lemon with some light grapefruit flavors peeking out as well.
The second half of the sip is very clean and crisp, with most of the original flavors lingering on. There are some pithy citrus and flaked wheat/cereal flavors but the flavor that dominates the back half of the taste is a nice roasty coffee characteristic.
The smokey, slightly bitter, charred coffee flavor outlasts all the other qualities and takes a minute or two to fully fade away…leaving a toasted grain aftertaste on my tongue.
Despite the bitter coffee and smoky aftertaste, Gest still ends rather cleanly. I’m not usually a fan of dark Lagers…however, this one was smooth and quite drinkable.
There was just enough hoppy bitterness to appease hop-heads, with some nice coffee/roasted flavors for fans of dark beer, all while still remaining light and crisp enough for Lager lovers. It was a triple threat that almost any beer lover would enjoy.
It won’t blow you away but it’s certainly an enjoyable brew.