Dortmunder Gold Lager, a German-style Dortmunder Export Lager by Great Lakes Brewing Co. is light, clean, and oh so flavorful. Read the craft beer review.

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Dortmunder Gold Lager is a German-style Dortmunder Export Lager brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co., and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the lager was served in a tulip pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle.

Packaging art for the Dortmunder Gold Lager by Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Packaging art for the Dortmunder Gold Lager by Great Lakes Brewing Co.

What You Need to Know

The Dortmunder Gold Lager is the flagship beer for Great Lakes Brewing and has received seventeen medals (more on that below). The brew has a smooth feel and a palated balance that balances sweet malt and dry hop flavors. So how is this award-winning beer? Let’s get to the review.


The lager pours a crystal-clear deep gold and is topped by nearly an inch-thick cap of dense white foam that shows fine retention. Residue and a soapy collar remain from the reduction. Bubbles continuously stream in the glass. A lovely lattice of sticky lace clings to the sides during consumption.

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The lager’s aroma is hoppy with a noble scent that’s mostly spicy and a touch floral.


The palate starts with a taste of biscuit and toasted malt. From there it takes on a delightful noble hops flavors that begin floral and finish with a mild bite of herbal hops. A bready malt base that’s slightly sweetened with caramel ties the palate together.

Label art for the Dortmunder Gold Lager by Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Label art for the Dortmunder Gold Lager by Great Lakes Brewing Co.


The feel is smooth—almost creamy—with a slightly less than medium body and moderate carbonation. Finishes just a touch dry.

The History Behind the Name

The Dortmunder Gold Lager is the flagship beer of Great Lakes Brewing Co. and was the first beer produced at the brewery. Originally named “The Heisman”, this beer has gone on to receive international recognition and win numerous awards. The beer has received sixteen medals at the World Beer Championships and one Gold Medal at the 1992 Great American Beer Festival. It was after that win, the beer was renamed to Dortmunder Gold.


It’s amazing just how much flavor is packed into this brew. The Dortmunder Gold has received so much recognition over the many years it’s been around and it’s one of those brews all craft beer lovers should tick. Its complex palate is clean, balanced, and oh-so-flavorful. The feel sits nicely and is so easy to drink. For a lager, it doesn’t get much better.

Recommended Pairings

Great Lakes recommends the following food pairings with the Dortmunder Gold Lager: salads, fish, and chicken.

Watch the Video

Now you know the history behind the beer. Check out the video below for the evolution of the beer’s label design.

Have You Tried the Dortmunder Gold Lager?

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