Head Brewer Nick Tedeschi talks about El Corn Amber Lager


Head Brewer Nick Tedeschi talks about El Corn Amber Lager

When El Corn Amber Lager was first brewed in 2015, our goal was to make a “Modello Negra” type of counterpart for Top Rope, our already well known and long standing brand of Mexican-style Lager. The original concept was to have a slightly higher ABV, more toasted malt and bread character, an increased herbal hop flavor and aroma, and of course, corn, or “flaked maize” as part of the grain bill. In the case of El Corn, flaked maize is about 14% of the extract contribution. Using flaked maize in beer is about as OG to American brewing as it gets. Back in the day, American beer drinkers wanted their beers to be pale and bright in appearance. Brewers often used adjuncts such as corn and rice to achieve this, as the malted barley at the time would not result in beers as pale as those that supplemented some of the barley for adjuncts. Boom! History lesson! You are now that much closer to being a beer nerd.

By the time that first batch was packaged and ready to be tapped, it was decided that it would be more wise to call it what it was at its core – an Amber Lager, and we named it Elkhorn Lager. From what I remember, there was slight confusion with the name when our original brewmaster Bryan was telling his wife about the beer name. She thought it was being called El Corn (because it has corn in it). That gave us all a good chuckle…who would name a beer El Corn? It’s ridiculous!

Once tapped, Elkhorn Lager found immediate popularity among regulars of The Post. It quickly became a top seller of ours, both at our pubs and at outside accounts. Deciding to keep this beer around was an easy decision, so minor tweaks were made to subsequent batches, honing in on the rich, bready, toasty malt character, balanced with herbal hops and subtle caramel and toffee sweetness.

Elkhorn Lager lived its life for the next 4 years as one of The Post’s more recognized styles. Then, at a brewery meeting in 2019, someone had an idea. The idea was to rebrand the beer for Big Red F’s latin themed restaurants ZOLO Grill, Lola Coastal Mexican, and Centro Latin Kitchen. See this idea centered around that mistaken name spelling from years before. Here was the pitch: at our Post restaurants, we would call the beer what we had, Elkhorn Lager. But. At those Latin themed stores, we would call the same liquid “El Corn – Mexican-style dark lager”. The ayes had it. One beer, two different but similar names. That wouldn’t be confusing at all. We like to keep people on their toes.

We continued on this path of two namedness until the 2019 Great American Beer Festival. When entering a beer into competition, you can only enter it with one name, so at another beer meeting, it was put to vote. All but one person voted for us to enter it as El Corn. That one person still maintains we should have just stuck with Elkhorn, as he would endure years of explaining the name confusion. He just had to explain it again this past week. It really doesn’t bother him at all [jnsert chuckle here]. El Corn would go on to win a silver medal in the International Dark Lager category, solidifying El Corn as its sole name, and releasing the name Elkhorn into the cosmos. Three years later, which is now, at the first in-person Great American Beer Festival since 2019, El Corn won a gold medal. Fun times were had by all, and the medal was just the cherry on top of a great weekend.

Throughout its complicated name history, the recipe for El Corn Amber Lager has remained more or less the same, with the everlasting goal of producing a high quality, well-balanced, and drinkable amber lager. We in the brewery have said it since the beginning: Long, cold aging makes for wicked smooth drinkability making this lager the official lager of drinking.