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Beer Blog: Nantahala Brewing’s Dirty Girl American Blonde Ale


It’s sleeting outside as I write this. It’s supposed to turn to snow later tonight, and tomorrow is slated to be balls cold. And yet, I have bulbs popping up in my front yard. The grass is really trying to turn green again. My kids keep putting on shorts and sunglasses before running outside to play, only to come back inside three minutes later, shivering. It’s as if the whole world is willing Spring to come, even though Mother Nature refuses to cooperate. I did my part wishing for Spring’s return today by picking out a lager in the beer store. All those big, rich, high ABV stouts to choose from, and I reach for a crisp, clean lager.

Actually, I picked out Nantahala Brewing’s Dirty Girl American Blonde Ale, but “American Blonde Ale” is just a fancy way of saying “lager.” The lager is the quintessential lawnmower beer. Budweiser, Miller, PBR…this is lager territory. Nantahala Brewing does a good job of infiltrating the realm of lagers with Dirty Girl (which also has to be the best beer name ever), a light, crisp, low-hopped beer. Lagers are typically easy drinking, and it doesn’t get much easier than Dirty Girl (maybe next year they’ll name it “Easy Girl”?). It is one big, 22-ounce lawnmower beer. Or post trail-run beer. Or backpacking beer…or when you just want a damned beer.

I don’t get to sample Nantahala Brewing’s wares often. Their distribution footprint is relatively small (only in North Carolina, and up until recently, mostly on draft), and I’m not in Bryson City nearly enough. Since the last time I sat down at the brewery, they created a barrel-aging program, filled out their seasonal line up, and started bottling their flagship beers in 22-ounce bombers. Which means you might be able to get your hands on one of their six year-round beers. Dirty Girl is good, but check out their low-ABV, nutty Bryson City Brown too. I’m not saying that drinking one of the sessionable beers will bring Spring back. But it’s worth a try.

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