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the drowned lands rice lager
Photos courtesy of The Drowned Lands Brewery

This Rice Lager Makes a Splash at The Drowned Lands Brewery


The Water Elm, a new Japanese rice lager from The Drowned Lands Brewery, is “a real summer crusher.”

Light beers are coming back with a vengeance, threatening to usurp the IPA as reigning monarch of brews. Whether you prefer ales or lagers, there’s something to be said for ultra-drinkable beers with low ABVs—they’re refreshing, delicious, and you can enjoy a few over the course of a summer afternoon without getting too buzzy.

drowned lands water elm rice beer

The Water Elm, a Japanese rice lager. Photo courtesy of The Drowned Lands Brewery

From the 3.5% ABV Flora Firma to the Kaaters Kill sour IPA, The Drowned Lands Brewery in Warwick has a little something for everyone. In light of the growing popularity of low-ABV brews, the Hudson Valley brewery introduced the Water Elm—a Japanese rice lager made for easy sipping.

the drowned lands brewery warwick

The brewery’s outdoor patio. Photo courtesy of The Drowned Lands Brewery.

The Water Elm is distinct from other lagers in that it is brewed with a base malt—that is, the foundation on which the beer is built—of rice; it’s also fermented cold and lightly hopped. “Cold fermentation slows yeast metabolism, making reactions happen at a slower rate,” says The Drowned Lands’ head brewer, Chase Planson. “This creates a cleaner, smoother drinking experience.”

chase planson drowned lands brewer

Chase Planson, head brewer. Photo courtesy of The Drowned Lands Brewery

Planson is partial to “macro adjunct lagers,” which in beerspeak refers to a brew that is mass-produced by a national or international brewery. “Think Budweiser,” he says. “I wanted to create something that would resemble [macro adjunct lagers] but still have some unique qualities.”

rice lager drowned lands four pack

A four-pack of the Water Elm lager. Photo courtesy of The Drowned Lands Brewery

That said, this ain’t your average gas station lager. The Drowned Lands is dedicated to connecting its drinkers with local agriculture and, in the Water Elm, they’ve created a beer that is at once simple and unique. In the brewer’s own words, it’s “super dry, refreshing, and a real summer crusher.”

chase planson drowned lands brewer

Chase Planson, head brewer. Photo courtesy of The Drowned Lands Brewery

Ready to pick up your own four-pack of Water Elm? Stop by the taproom in Warwick during business hours:

Thursday, 3-9 p.m.
Friday 3-10 p.m.
Saturday 12-10 p.m.
Sunday 12-7 p.m.

Additionally, the brewery hosts events for lovers of craft beer. This weekend, it hosts the Wild Acres Festival, “a celebration of limited and thoughtfully procured ales and lagers.” In early September, The Drowned Lands will commemorate its two-year anniversary with special beer and bottle releases, giveaways, live music, and food trucks.

Related: Angry Orchard’s New Ciders Are Inspired by Hudson Valley Legends

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!