I know what you’re thinking, “MillerCoors isn’t synonymous with craft beer so why are you even mentioning them on the site?” Looking at the big picture, you’re correct, but they’re starting to focus on small batch offerings that are garnering awards and will compete with Bay Area brews on price and flavor. I’ll let you be the judge of the latter.

Next time you’re at the bar in San Francisco, keep your eyes peeled for a new tap handle. MillerCoors has just introduced an Amber Lager, in select U.S. regions, under the guise of a new brand called Third Shift Band of Brewers. The beer is described as “well balanced with a sweet maltiness, lightly toasted character, subtle hops and a beautiful color at 5.3% alcohol.”

According to a recent article about the beer on Advertising Age, it was created by a group of experimental brewers working after hours in Golden, CO, is limited to draft only, will be priced slightly lower than competing brands and recently won a gold medal at the 2012 World Beer Cup.

Surprisingly, the aforementioned article didn’t provide specifics about the award and neither did the Third Shift press release. Then, when I scoured the list of 2012 winners, I didn’t see Third Shift Amber Lager anywhere, so I sent a perplexed email to the PR agency.

Apparently, the beer won gold in the Marzen category and was entered into the competition under the codename “Flor Hosen” by The Sandlot brewery in Denver, which is connected to Coors Field. Why the need for a codename? The PR agency said, “Third Shift Band of Brewers always like to have some fun and get creative with the names they enter their brews under in competitions.”

In my estimation, Third Shift Band of Brewers Amber Lager could be a “gateway beer” that appeals to consumers who want more flavor than a typical mass-market lager, are interested in craft beer, but price is a factor. Time will tell if San Franciscans find it appealing.