Quarter Celtic Brewpub, 1100 San Mateo Blvd NE Albuquerque NM, 87110

505-503-1387; http://www.quartercelticbrewpub.com

Shortly after it opened in 2017, Quarter Celtic Brewpub became our “local.” It’s usually easy to find parking, especially handicapped parking, which is vital for us. We like the food, especially the fish and chips; the beer is great; and sitting on the patio on a warm spring or fall afternoon or a not-to-hot summer one is a great way to spend a quiet and relaxing couple of hours.

When my daughter, her partner, and I arrived there a few days ago, one of the first things we did (and usually do) was look at the chalkboard listing the beers currently on tap. The standards — Pedro O’Flannigan Mexican Lager, MacLomas Stout, Crimson Lass Irish Red, and Mor Buck IPA were there — along with a range of seasonal and occasional beers.

What was interesting to me was that, including “the Pedro,” there were five lagers on tap. One was Mexican, one Bohemian, and two German. On earlier visits there had also been a Vienna Lager and an Italian Pilsner.

Clare and her partner chose the Pedro (a standby for us) and I tried the Bro-hemian Pilsner. I’m very partial to Czech-style pilsners.

After our lunch, I chatted for a few minutes with Brady McKeown, co-owner and head brewer, about the lagers. I remarked that, when he first started brewing for Il Vicino Restaurant in the mid 1990s, there were no lagers on the menu. “We simply didn’t have the space for them in the very small brewhouse and, at that time, people were interested in IPAs and darker ales.” Those IPAs and dark beers (stouts, porters, English bitter, browns) started winning Brady medals at the Great American Beer Festival — ten between 1995 and 2013.

By the time Quarter Celtic was about to open, lagers were making a comeback. Brady decided to make one of his four core beers a Mexican lager. “They were becoming popular and we were in New Mexico.” In 2018, Pedro O’Flanagan won a bronze medal in the International Pilsner category of the World Beer Cup competition. It has a nice hop/malt balance and a clean, crisp finish. The flaked maize gives a slight chewiness. And it goes well with fish and chips.

Brady and I also talked about a lager that wasn’t on tap that day but that, I hope, soon will be: The Prince of DORTness. It’s a German style Dortmunder Export Lager and, in 2020 won a Great American Beer Festival silver medal. When I learned that, I wasn’t surprised: it’s one of the two best North American examples of the style I’ve tasted (the other is made by Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland). It’s a darker lager which uses pilsner malt but adds caramel malts for added color and flavor. And, it, too, goes well with fish and chips.

If you’re looking for something startlingly different or funky to go with your fish and chips, you probably won’t find it at Quarter Celtic. But if you want a really solid lager, something that is a classic example of the style, something that, as Brady describes it, is “beer flavored beer” do try one of the lagers on their list.

There’s nothing fishy about them.

NEXT WEEK We’ll talk about “The Dark Is Rising” — darker beers in the Upper Peninsula, land of “light lagers”