Land Shark Lager
by Robb Zerr
(Beer Delegate, FL, USA)
Land Shark Lager: do you speak 'fin-ish'? Warning: It bites
Land Shark Lager
I don't want to sound like a beer snob, but I had the pleasure, nay the honor, of growing up in one of the first bastions of microbrews: Seattle.
I came to love the hoppy, bold tastes of Redhook IPA and Hales, yet still appreciated a well-crafted lager or flavor-laden ale.
Since moving to Florida some years ago, I've had this unfulfilled dream of finding amazing, locally brewed beers here as well.
Sure, I could go to an Orlando Ale House
restaurant and pretend to have a foamy first with one of the rotating taps. But what I truly covet and seek are those relatively undiscovered beauties that are both locally grown and owned. Continues below
So as a one-time fervent Parrothead, I was thrilled to find Land Shark Lager
, a product of the Margaritaville Brewing Company in Jacksonville, FL. Ah, I thought, finally a worthy companion to Captain Tony’s Amber (a favorite of mine when I find myself drunk in Key West) or Ybor Calusa Wheat.
But I was also a bit wary. An authentic Florida microbrew in a Wal*Mart? At a Wal*Mart price? Alarm bells should have sounded in my head. I should have run for the door, screaming. But I'm a marketer's dream. I'll buy virtually anything at least once that has New & Improved scribbled on it or which is new to my overly stimulated retail eyes. I just couldn't resist picking up a six-pack.
Land Shark is served in Buffett's Margaritaville
restaurants in Key West, Orlando and Las Vegas. There, it stacks up admirably with a Cheeseburger in Paradise. It doesn't overpower. It does its job well without bitterness or malice. And after you've had two or three or four, they begin to taste pretty darned good.
That said, Land Shark Lager does not fare as well in the comfort of your own home. Even with "Fins" blasting for the fifth time from your stereo system, it's just not the same as sitting in a Margaritaville, watching fake margalava pour from the volcano above on cue.
Now true, the bottle does grab the eye. My wife, who is not a beerophile, is the one who saw it in the chill case: it was the large fin that caught her attention. She usually has a good eye for offbeat brews to keep her hubby happy. But this one just doesn't fill the bill.
The bottle is very Corona-esque. The pour is crisp and golden, the foam pleasing, but not overpowering in a pint glass. But that's about where the pleasant experience stops.
The actual taste is clean enough, but so is tap water. Even a lime or an entire grove of them can't help.
While the bottle proudly hails it as "Original Island Lager", I would choose a Red Stripe
over Land Shark any day. Geez, I'd probably even pop a Miller Lite if given a choice: it'll give you the same buzz for a lot less money. And I was so prepared to just love Land Shark Lager (sigh!).
Land Shark is supposed to be the product of the Margaritaville Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, FL. But enter the name of the brewery in Google Maps and nothing shows.
What? An invisible brewery?
No. A little more detective work and you'll find that it's actually bottled by the Anheuser-Busch Company, which, by the way, takes great pains to distance itself from Land Shark Lager on the official site.More on Land Shark lager!Land Shark beer is great!
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You won't find a single mention of AB as the manufacturer. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.
Now any beer at the right price is worth a try. And if you're a diehard fan of Jimmy Buffett, you'll probably love Land Shark Lager even though there are far better lagers out there.
The bottle is gutsy enough to say, "Fins Up!" But I give it a solid two fins down. Land Shark Lager. Warning: it bites!