Blue Collar Brew Review – Bell’s Quinannan Falls Special Lager Beer

Bell's logoI made my way to the Joliet beer store again, this time looking for a style of beer that I haven’t had in quite some time. I know it’s a hot summer, but I wasn’t in the mood for diving into the summer session beers.

I think I may be driving the saisons and tripels into the ground. I do love those styles of beer but a change is good for the soul. I decided on something different.

QF sixAs I traipsed up and down the aisle, I finally settled on a style of beer that I had not had in quite some time. A lager. It was Bell’s Quinannan Falls Special Lager.

Or was it a pilsner? Was that what was so ‘special?’

That question arose while researching this beer. Was this a pilsner or a lager? I think I can finally put that to rest in my own mind. If a beer has primarily pale pilsner malts and noble hops (Saaz, Tettnang, Hallertau, etc.) it’s probably a pilsner. However… leave out the noble hops and add a variety of American hops (or other,) then more than likely it’s a lager. A pilsner is a lager but not all lagers are pilsners. Here’s what Bell’s say about Quinannan Falls beer:

Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery, dreamt that he was at the mystically hidden retreat of Quinannan Falls, somewhere in the boreal north. Neither Quinannan Falls nor the beer actually existed outside his imagination, but he remembered enough about it to sketch a recipe and label, which was put into full form by Michigan artist Kathleen Kalinowski, the following morning. The end result is a dry-hopped lager that possesses a crisp, dry bitterness you would expect from a German pilsner, but the use of highly aromatic Simcoe hops from the Pacific Northwest, evoke the fragrant pine forests that inspired this beer.

Perhaps Larry Bell was paid a visit by Tony McGee from Lagunitas and they tried some “experimental hops” together. The name of the beer at hand is a figment of Bell’s imagination made real.

Whether the beer was a pilger or lasner, I was eager to dive into a glassful. Let’s drink some beer.

QF foamI poured flat into a glass stein that I haven’t used in a long time. The foam rose all the way up and threatened to spill out. Cold beer, warm glass? Who knows. The beer poured a beautiful golden-yellow and the head was thick and white. Carbonation was moderate with many micro- bubbles. The aroma was very slight and also had some smells of piney hops.

The first sip was delicious. So this is what a lager is supposed to taste like. Damn good beer. It had a medium mouthfeel but I wish it was colder. Bad on me. The sixer was in the fridge for only 5 hours; should have been overnight.

The beer reminded me of a well crafted pale ale but the taste was smoother and easier on the palate. A nice crispness at the swallow but from the carbonation, not the hops. The hop characteristic is there but it’s pulled back just enough to let you know of the hop presence.

There was a nice, tasty, overall sweetness to each sip. That set the mood for this beer and many more which will come after this one. The malts really held this beer together. They give it that sweetness and body, while the hops are like the garnish of parsley on a well-made steak. The whole recipe seems tuned in to making this beer one of the best tasting lager beers in a sea of American beer-water.

Thinking way back to 2010 or so, I remember talking with a coworker about Bell’s beer. He had tried several of their beers and uttered this sentence which I remember very well, “Bell’s does not make a bad beer.” That is true to this very day.

Not being much of a pilsner/lager type of beer drinker, I can’t really compare this Bell’s beer with the likes of Prima Pils, Mama’s Little Yella Pils or even Bell’s own Lager of the Lakes. But after this session, my mind has been laid open. I seriously doubt that I’ll ever get another chance to taste DFH’s Beer Thousand. That one stood out in my little walnut brain.

QF glass

After looking through the styles, the closest in comparison is a lager that tastes like a Bohemian pilsner. It’s stuff like this that makes the BJCP pull out its hair.

At least once or twice this summer, you should get yourself some BEER beer. Good bodied, refreshing, great tasting, no bullshit beer. This Quinannan Falls beer is certainly a Special one. Drink it cold. Very cold.

Qfalls_12ozCan_ASv2TTBThe SixPackTech summary for Bell’s Quinannan Falls Special Lager Beer:

Style: Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager
Taste: Delicious and refreshing.
Smoothness: Nice and smooth all the way.
Drinkability: Many will be gone when the session’s over.
Bang for the buck: Very good for the taste provided.
Amount paid: $9.99 per sixpack of 12-ounce cans.
Get it again? Quite sure I will.
ABV: 6.3%
Brewer’s website
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: That’s real yellow. (sip) Kinda like my Dad’s beer. (sip) Yeah. (sip) Just like the old days. (Boy, the way Glenn Miller played…)

Mitchell and Webb – The Corner Shop [2:36]

Anthony QUINn

Anthony QUINn

Kofi ANNAN

Kofi ANNAN

Victoria FALLS

Victoria FALLS

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