Archive for the 'Pilsner' category
photo credit: walknboston
Working on a Samuel Adams “theme” here. The Noble Pils is Samuel Adams’ new spring seasonal and utilizes all five noble hop varieties. I enjoy a noble hop, so lets see how this beer does.
The beer poured a crystal clear golden-yellow into my pils glass. Atop this body lay a tight, finger thick head kept alive for numerous minutes by columns of tiny fast moving bubbles. The noble hops hit with a pretty good wallop to the nose. Lemon, grass, and orange all intermingled within the aroma.
In the mouth, the beer ran clean and light. The malt makes a nice play in the middle of the tongue with a bread character that was slightly chewy. The middle of the beer really drove home the Pils character of this beer. The beer finishes with a strong lemon presence that is a tad bitter. Though the lemon is natural tasting it becomes a bit much for me.
After the first Noble Pils, I thought “not bad”. After the second I thought “I bought a six pack of this?” In my book the beer is good for bringing to a party. You have a couple and then unload the rest on others. The beer had promise of being something similar to Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner but the growing presence of lemon kept the beer from obtaining such a lofty goal.
Next up from our Beer of the Month Club stash is a good ol’ summer standby, a pilsner. This one, like many of the German varieties, is named after the town in which it is made, Lich.
This beer pours a lovely crisp golden color with lots of effervescence and a thin white head. The aroma of this is fresh and grainy, as we expect from a good pilsner. There is also a good amount of sugary sweetness on the aroma that we might *not* necessarily expect from a Pilsner. In the mouth, however, this is a pilsner by the books. It is crisp, grainy, and has a rather large malt profile. The hop presence isn’t especially great here, but the addition of the sharp grainy characteristics mostly makes up for any lacking bite. The aftertaste is fresh and straw-flavored, and leaves you anxious for the next drink. At the end of the day, this is a German pilsner. Most of them taste rather similar, and they’re almost all tasty. Slightly different than the eastern European varieties that are a bit sharper and less biscuity, but still very refreshing. I could drink these all summer – highly recommended.
Ben just reviewed the Imperial IPA in the Harpoon Leviathan series, so I thought I would tackle their Big Bohemian Pilsner.
The beer poured a clear yellow with a white head that lasted a few minutes. As the head receded a thick lacing of foam stuck to the glass. The nose of the beer was predominantly spicy noble hops, with hints of pilsner malt. For taste this spice hop characteristic attacks the middle of the tongue. This is well balanced however with the pilsner malt. The malt might not have had much aroma but it stands up to the hops very well, and provides a very chewy mouth feel, akin to under baked bread. The beer finishes slightly bitter, and relatively clean, with a mild aftertaste.
Even though this is an imperial styled beer I found the beer very drinkable and one that did not destroy my taste buds, which can be a side effect of imperial beers. Being so drinkable I had to keep in mind the beer hits 9% abv. A good beer for any time, especially in nice weather. Consider that high praise from a non-lager drinker.
Third up this month, the Beer of the Month Club sent us another beer from Lion Brewery that I never knew existed. This one is an imperial pilsner – a beer with a lot of potential!
This pours a fairly clear golden, though it is apparent that there is some very fine debris, giving this a lightly cloudy appearance. There is also a decent head on this beer, flaring up a fluffy white before simmering down to a light coating. The aroma here is very rich and sweet, indicating that a ton of rich malts went into this. If the flavor is half as good as the scent, I’m in for a treat… In the mouth, this is certainly an imperial beer. The initial flavor is heavy on alcohol and very sweet. The sweetness is redolent of sweetbreads, starting rich and cloying on the front of the mouth and becoming richer and thicker as the beer flows down the tongue. Honestly, there isn’t much hop at all in this mixture, with the exception of a light bitterness that springs up right before the aftertaste. However, once that dwindles, we’re stuck with a very sweet aftertaste. The syrupy mouthfeel of this also ensures that the beer sticks around on the palate for ages, making the aftertaste last for quite some time. This is a mighty tasty beer, though the ‘imperial-ness’ of it all loses some of the subtleties of a good pilsner. Nevertheless, it’s enjoyable, and packs a punch at 8.8% abv.
Ed. Note – I can’t find a single picture of this beer label, so enjoy this picture of a kitten looking in the mirror.
This month, the folks at the Beer of the Month Club sent us another box of treats. Honestly, I’m a bit skeptical about a couple of the selections. While there are a couple of light beers here that look pretty refreshing, we’ve also got a couple of dark beers that I can barely bring myself to drink. Seriously, it’s nearly 90 degrees here these days, and a Porter is hardly what I want to reach for. I suppose I’ll have to turn the AC up, pretend it’s February, and drink up, eh?
But, first things first. My first selection this month is going to be a Pilsner from the nice folks at Pennsylvania Brewery. It pours a crystal clear golden color that is just the slightest bit darker than a lot of the lighter American pilsners. The head on the beer barely flares up at all, but the constant streams of bubbles coming up the glass indicates that this is, in fact, well carbonated. In the nose, I’m catching lots of pungent sweet grains. This is fairly stereotypical for a pilsner but, again, it seems just a bit darker and heavier than the average. The initial flavor of this beer on the tongue is a light carbonation burn, followed by a sharp metallic flavor from the hops. It’s not terribly bitter, but there is definitely some hop presence here. As the beer flows through the mouth, the grain begins to peak out, turning into a sweet and fairly rich flavor that sits on the back of the tongue. While this grain flavor coats the tongue for quite some time, the aftertaste is mostly that metallic malt flavor. Overall, it’s a pretty good brew. The flavor doesn’t have so much of the typical pilsner flavor, but just enough that you can tell what it is. This isn’t what I’d consider a ‘standout’ amongst beers, but makes a decent summer seasonal.
I hope for your sake that you have distribution in your area for Oskar Blues’ phenomenal canned beers. Their Dale’s Pale Ale and Old Chub really set the bar for what canned beer can be. The only problem is that both of these beers are pretty strong (Don’t even get me started on the Gordon or Ten Fidy)! So, assuming you want to take some canned beers to your BBQ or the beach, then you gotta take it pretty slow with this stuff. So, I’m glad to see the Yella finally showing up in cans over here. I tasted this stuff during a trip to Longmont, CO and found it enjoyable. It is crisp, refreshing, and much lower in alcohol, thus making it the prime canned beer for my upcoming summer season.
The Yella pours a crystal clear medium yellow (yella) color with a fairly course white head that flares up and then dissipates into a thin coating, but leaves substantial spiderwebbing down the sides of the glass. In the nose, this stuff smells super rich for a pilsner. It is sharp & grainy, but has some very rich, sweet tones that you won’t normally find in a pilsner. In the mouth, this stuff is very unique in the land of Pilsners, as well. The first thing you notice is a sharp light sweetness on the tip of the tongue, coupled with that typical pilsner grainy flavor that you’re accustomed to. However, as the beer progresses down the tongue, a blast of rich sweetness comes into play. There are big hints of caramel and butter here, making this almost desert-like for a few seconds. As the beer heads on down the throat, the hop plays a slightly larger role, leaving an aftertaste that is equal parts bitter and sweet, but sticks around for quite some time. Also, the mouthfeel here is pretty large – coating the tongue and mouth with tasty goodness. I won’t lie to you, this is NOT as refreshing as most pilsners. But, it is a much better beer in terms of flavor and aspirations. This may not see a lot of play with me as a beach beer, but you better believe I’ll be drinking this at my next grilling session. In fact, I inaugurated my bocce season with a six-pack of these and a patch of grass, and that worked out just perfectly…
The folks at Magic Hat were nice enough to send us another preview of some upcoming beers, one of them being the Odd Notion Agave & Poppy Seed Pilsner. Granted, this may no longer be a ‘preview’, as these have been sitting in the fridge for a while. However, we do appreciate the contribution, and I’ve been looking forward to tasting this one for quite a while. Thankfully, my travel schedule has allowed me to be home this week long enough to drink some brews. We’ll do this one the way we’ve done recent Magic Hat brews, with opinions of Matt, Dave, and Myself….
Ben: This thing pours a crisp golden color with no debris and ample carbonation, culminating in a stark white head that floats around in little islands on the surface of the beer. In the nose, this is mostly carbonation and malt aromas with just a light fruity tint to make it interesting. The flavor here is crisp and refreshing, and you can definitely see the Pilsner contribution. It has that trademark Pilsner malt flavor, with some lighter hop bitterness and a very subtle fruit sweetness. Frankly, I can’t tell what the poppy seed is doing for this, but I think that the agave adds a nice component in contrast to the pilsner flavor. Overall, I really like this. I find it to be very refreshing and quite thirst quenching. There are a lot of great Pilsners out there, but this one is just different enough to make it stand out from the crowd – an excellent experimental beer.
Matt: I’ve got a different take on the aroma. In my mind it is exceptionally sour, almost farmhouse ale-esque. In addition there is a slight toastiness that evolves at the back of the smell, kinda weird to say the least. This toasted sourness carries over into the taste creating a burnt twinge over the tongue. The light, crisp pilsner characteristics do shine through at times and I’m digging on those but the overall taste is not very palatable to me. The good news is the flavor does mellow a bit over the duration of this experience, but the sourness doesn’t completely disappear. Magic Hat has made an interesting brew, I’ll give them that. Maybe if I drank a few more the taste would grow on me.
Dave: I poured half of this beer in a pint glass and the other half into a pilsner glass. Both pour a clean golden color with a white, tight head. From the pint glass I receive a rather straight-forward cereal grain aroma. The pilsner glass does not deviate too much from this, but I do notice the ever subtle hints of agave. The beer from both glasses goes down light and smooth, with barely any aftertaste. The taste during the swallow is a different matter however. From both glasses, the taste is quite surprising for me. I was expecting a good hit of grain throughout the mouth, and that did not happen. There is definitely some grain, but there is also a nuttiness character, light buttery note, and essence of agave. The agave gives the beer a real spin and definitely helps peg this beer as “odd”. Quite frankly, I wish I had another bottle of this beer, so I could get a better feel for it. I did not find anything off about the beer, I just think my expectations were so skewed from the initial cereal grain aromas, my taste buds did not know what hit them. Congrats to Magic Hat on another interesting creation and if you are looking for something different in a pilsner, I would definitely recommend picking this one up.
I’m not quite sure how this all plays out, as Kulmbacher has a Pilsner that we’ve reviewed before. This, however, is the Eku Pilsner, as brewed by the Kulmbacher brewery. So, I dunno – you guys can figure out the relationship here. I’m just gonna drink the beer. And, FYI, this is from the latest shipment from the Beer of the Month Club. Matt and I have been anxiously awaiting this – seems like it’s been a while!
The Eku Pils pours a super clear and light golden color with a thin, dense, stark white head. Basically, this looks like the lightest of light beers, like you might not even feel it go down your throat. It’s probably so refreshing you’ll have to towel off after drinking it. In the nose, there is a surprising amount of biscuity malt aroma, considering how slight the beer appears. On top of the maltiness, there are some light hop hints and an aroma that is gassy, likely from the carbonation. To be honest, I’m quite taken with this beer. As expected, it IS super refreshing and thirst-quenching. In addition, though, it’s pretty flavorful. There is a ton of the characteristic pilsner flavor here, full of biscuity malt and some sharp-but-fleeting hop characteristics. This is also chock full of carbonation, which only adds to the refreshing aspects and makes this pretty perky on the tongue. Overall, this is a great Pilsner, one of the best I’ve had in ages. I really hope I can track this down on shelves in NC!
December was a busy time for SevenPack. You may have noticed a ridiculous amount of info posted over the last 30 days, and I hope you were able to keep up. Turns out I had a difficult time doing just that because I’m finally getting around to trying the last of the BOMC beers that arrived over 2 weeks ago. Like Ben said earlier, this month’s offerings were a bit “ehhh” but overall the beers were enjoyable, so I can’t complain.
This clear, golden-yellow lager hails from Croatia and is an interpretation of a Czech-style pilsner. The nose is very pronounced, boasting sweet grape tones and a slight metallic twinge. The taste is rather mild but I’m happy to say it has more than just the “beer” flavor I expected. This beer presents itself as a tasteless liquid but then grape jam flavorings stand out about halfway through the mouth. The taste rounds out with a combination of subtle floral and metallic undertones. To be honest there’s not much to this beer but it kinda works in this instance. This is a welcomed, refreshing change to the dark beers I’ve been drinking recently. Furthermore, I can definitely see myself enjoying this beer on a hot summer day. Maybe I’ll revisit it in approximately six months.
Saranac is one of those breweries that always puts together a good variety pack. I bought their summer version a few years ago and if memory serves me correctly I really enjoyed what it had to offer. I’m going to try to run through the winter pack over the next few days and in doing so will attempt to review from light to dark. First out of the gate is this Chechz-style “pilsener”, hence Bohemian in the name. I just assumed all pilsners, regular not imperial, mimicked the Chech-style but I guess not since Saranac felt it had to clarify.
Yep, looks like a pilsner; golden, clear and medium white head. There’s a lot of effervescent activity going on in my pint glass, it’s kinda cool. This has a grassy-like aroma with some lemon zest. The taste has way more personality than its macrobrew counter parts. Yes I’m biased, but no one can deny macro pilsners just taste kinda blah. This has a more robust body and the floral bitterness expands in the mouth resulting in a refreshing crispness. There is a twinge that accompanies the carbonation that attacks the back half of the mouth. The malt flavor cleans the mouth but doesn’t mask the metallic aftertaste. Again, this is a very refreshing beer that doesn’t leave you feeling full or bloated. If you’re looking to graduate from the frat party scene and class it up a little give this real “pilsener” a try.
Samuel Adams have recently released their yearly Hallertau Imperial Pilsner. Ben wrote a review of last year’s version, and I would say this year’s version is pretty close in comparison. One slight difference is in the beer’s appearance. This year’s version is not “a very dark amber with substantial cloudiness”. For me it is an amber which is slightly golden, with light haziness. Besides that difference, everything else is the same, including the noble, and spice hop aroma/taste turned up to eleven. Great beer and glad to see it back.
Unlike Ben I have never been across the pond and thus have never had the opportunity to enjoy a truly authentic German beer. Of course I have drank many international brews but not without the assistance of an American distributor. Well folks my girlfriend visited Deutschland last fall and she was kind enough to bring me this beauty. It’s probably not a big deal to most but given that this is the closest I am going to get to Germany any time in the near future I’m pretty excited. Also according to other websites The Rothaus brewery has develop quite the cult following in the recent past so I’m ready to see what all the fuss is about.
If I were to judge solely on appearance this might be the cleanest beer I have ever come across. It has a VERY light, straw-colored hue, similar to white wine. There is a flurry of activity in the glass as numerous bubbles race to the top. This may in part to the unique Sam Adams glassware, but also I think the effervescence is more apparent because this beer is so clear. The smell is rather subtle and uneventful. It smells like a typical pils, no defining aroma, just cool, crisp and mildly malty. The taste is refreshing and light. There is a breadiness that washes throughout the mouth and concludes with a slight lemony bitterness. When I say slight I mean extremely slight, there are times you have to search for it. The interesting thing about this beer is that a portion of the taste camps out on the tip of the tongue. This is a simple beer, nothing exciting but more tasty than our domestic light beers, no questions asked. When I finally visit my ancestors’ homeland I will certainly seek out this beer for a night of session drinking.
Labatt Blue Pilsner
You Are A Kanuck’s Bud Light
Tastes A Little Sweet
So far, the Schell sampler has been hit or miss. But, thankfully, it’s been more hits than misses. A Pilsner, on the surface, seems like a straightforward genre to recreate. However, because of its simplicity, this genre often gets screwed over. After Schell’s showing with the Kolsch recently, I’m anxious to see how they hang with the Pilsner.
In the glass, this beer is super clear and a light golden. The aroma is unobtrusive, but pretty nice. There is some light malt here, just a hint of hop, and it’s altogether pretty smooth – smells like a Pilsner. In the mouth, this beer is more carbonated than expected, but that’s not a bad thing. The carbonation enlivens the tastebuds and opens them for the flavor to come. The beer is certainly not overwhelming, but it does bring a good bit of flavor. There is a good amount of hop here that starts early on the tongue and never dissipates all the way through the aftertaste. In addition, we can taste a nice sweet malt that is smooth and fleeting, but weaves in and out of the hop bitterness through the mouth, adding a bit of variety. I know that a truly good beer tastes as good warm as cold. Don’t take this as a diss to the Schell Pilsner, but I highly recommend this very cold. The characteristics seem all the more biting when this beer is cold, and it’s refreshing in all the ways that the Kolsch failed. I won’t say that this is one of the best Pilsners I’ve had, but it’s very good and very accessible and would be delicious on a hot day. It’s a simple and effective take on a Pilsner, which is often the best way to do it…
Hey everybody – I know it’s been a long time since we rapped at ya’, and I apologize for that. Matty and I took a trip down to Texas for the SXSW music festival and to try and wrangle up a few new beers. While the beers didn’t flow so well down in Texas (at least the good ones didn’t), we’ll hopefully get around to writing about our experiences and the 2 real beer havens we found while down there. In the meanwhile, I’m going to get the ball rolling with this quick review of a New Belgium offering that I found in San Antonio.
The Blue Paddle pours a rather pretty soft golden color with a hefty bit of dense suspended debris. There is a paper-white head that starts thick but quickly dissipates into a paper-thin layer over the beer. The aroma of the Blue Paddle is really quite nice. Frankly, this isn’t quite as crisp or hoppy as some more traditional Pilsners. Rather, there is a heavy dose of rich malt that smells lightly sweet and very delicious. In the mouth, as I’ve come to expect from New Belgium, this is mighty tasty. It starts sharp and hoppy on the tip of the tongue, and that hoppiness sticks with us for the duration of the beer. However, around the middle of the mouth that biscuity malt flavor rears its head. This malt is much sweeter and richer than the malts I normally find in Eastern European Pilsners. Furthermore, there is a bigger mouthfeel than I am accustomed to in this variety. Basically, the flavor here is a three stage process: 1) hoppy bite, 2) malty rich, 3) a combination of 1 + 2. So, it’s a good beer. It lays its foundations and then builds them together to end with a fairly complicated flavor that sticks in the aftertaste. I will say that, if you prefer a crisp refreshing Pilsner, this isn’t your beer. However, if you’re in the market for something that carries Pilsner characteristics, but then also delivers with something a bit richer and more complex, then you’re going to like the Blue Paddle.