August/September 2009


After one of the rainiest Junes and Julys ever, we are anxiously awaiting the boatload of refreshing
pilsners to quench our thirst. That is when summer finally arrives. Many acclaimed American beer
geeks and beer snobs misguidedly put pilsners in the same category as swill for the masses. However, when a beer enthusiast asserts they really enjoy pilsners, my interest perks as they generally have a
wealth of beer knowledge.

Prior to the introduction of the pilsner, beer was dark, sweet and murky. In 1842 the Bohemians revolutionized the beer world with the introduction of a clear golden lager with a mild spicy and floral hop flavor. While pilsners are the most popular beer style on the planet, Americans are nearly deprived of a proper sample of this admirable beer style. So join us on another beer adventure to extend our appreciation to the softer malt, hoppy, fragrant, and pleasurably bitter world of pilsners.

The Beer Beacon panel gathered at the fabulously friendly Transit Road Pizza Plant in Williamsville for the pilsner tasting on a refreshingly sunshiny evening.

A sincere thanks to all the generous breweries that sent pPilsners to the Beer Beacon for this tasting. We are both grateful and honored to taste your beers. Furthermore, we pump our fists in the air for your contribution to the growth of true pilsners in the U.S. We would love to hear what you'd like to see more
of in the Beer Beacon.

Next: Harvest and Pumpkin Ales, and Octoberfests

The Place:
Pizza Plant, Williamsville, NY

The Tasters:
The Beer Beacon Tasters included our steadfast and ever grateful team:
Vinny, Hop Jack, the Magistrate, Evil and Gerg.

The Method:
Tasters are served each beer, with only the information of the style the
brewery is emulating, when there is a style. The beer name and brewery
are revealed to the tasters as the subsequent round is served.

Note: Full Sail brewery was kind enough to send two additional lagers. Although not Pilsners, we piqued our taste buds with them and have included our collective comments.

The Beers:

Full Sail Session Lager, Full Sail Brewing Co.
506 Columbia Street, Hood River, OR

“A nice, light, refreshing, drinkable beer,” the Magistrate commented, hesitating to call it a lawnmower beer. Hop Jack thought it was clean and thirst quenching with a bit of lemony hops - “no detractors”.
Evil lumped this one in with the mass lagers, but liked the stubby bottles he could easily stow in a pocket. Vinny noted the light caramel aroma and the smooth hop flavor. Gerg thought it was sessionable, possibly a good diet beer. The Beer Diva likes a few more hops, but said this is one you could knock back a few while playing volleyball on the beach.

Full Sail Premium Dark Lager Black, Full Sail Brewing Co.
506 Columbia Street, Hood River, OR

Evil likened this one Yang to the previous beer, Ying. Vinny found the aromatic, roasted coffee and syrup nose inviting and the taste malty smooth and easy drinking. Hop Jack thought the red amber color was too light for a black lager, but he said the hops came through nicely. The Beer Diva found this lager delicious and sessionable. Although it tasted lighter than it looked, Gerg thought this beer would be good for a picnic, as the color would steer the less beerventurous away - all the more for me!” The Magistrate said it was nicely balanced with a malty body, smooth finish and nice subtle roasted malt and hop flavor.

Full Sail LTD Series Pilsner Recipe #3, Full Sail Brewing Co.
506 Columbia Street, Hood River, OR

The Magistrate classified this as a “true pilsner” with a nice crisp hop finish. Hop Jack noted the creamy head and straw gold color and admired its easy drinkability. Vinny said the Sazz, noble hops, sweet water malts and flavorful hops loudly proclaim a proud Pilsner. Evil agreed the beer was clean, refreshing and covered the alcohol well - a “Gateway Pilsner” - very impressive. Still early in her pilsner appreciation journey, the Beer Diva thought this beer was scrumptious. - “Is there another bottle?”

Pilsner, Boundary Bay Brewery
1107 Railroad Avenue · Bellingham, WA

“What the hell is going on here?” Gerg said, surprised by the funky, hubbabubba and peppermint spiciness of this Pilsner. The Magistrate noted the light citrus, estery aroma and malt flavor that faded to a Geuezen hoppy finish. Hop Jack found it refreshing and balanced toward the hops. Vinny described this aroma as light, with a big body of pungent hop flavors. Evil liked the complex, bitter concoction. The Beer Diva agreed, this is a multifaceted beer of unique hoppy goodness.

Prima Pils, Victory Brewing Co.
420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, PA

Hop Jack liked the nice hop bouquet and big hop bite - “a classic Pilsner”. The Magistrate noted the earthy hop/malt aroma and the crisp hops finish and thought it was extremely drinkable and refreshing. Evil appreciated the distinctively hoppy, pleasantly bitter and clean mellow malt backbone taste and said “get one down your neck”. Not a huge fan of the style, Gerg agreed this is a pilsner he really enjoys. Vinny loved the noble hops aroma and found the hearty hoppiness bittersweet and proclaimed for the Beacon tasters universally, “Drink me!” The Beer Diva asserted this exquisite beer is “right on the money”.

Small Craft Warning Über Pils, Clipper City Brewing
4615 Hollins Ferry Rd., Suite B, Baltimore, MD

The Magistrate noted the bigger, richer, smooth malt flavor and solid body with a more subtle hop finish in this double pilsner. Gerg found the taste sweet, citrusy and big - “you could get slanted on this one!” Hop Jack thought the hop aroma was faint and the bitterness light and the full, rich, creamy body was uncharacteristic, but pleasantly flavorful. Evil enjoyed the sweet, butterscotch caramel taste and thought it hid the bitterness and alcohol nicely. Vinny summed up the panel's conclusion with “substantial flavor, but missing hops”.

Pilzilla, Voodoo Brewing Co.
215 1/5 Arch Street, Meadville, Pa

Vinny liked the sweet hop nose, earthy hop and resinous hop juice taste and said “different is good”. Hop Jack was back in Hop Heaven with the huge, peppery hop nose and crispy resiny hop taste and thought this pilsner would be excellent if it was a bit cleaner. The Beer Diva loves the fresh hops taste and summed it up - “delightfully satisfying”. The Magistrate found this an interesting interpretation, hazy, with a subtle hop aroma and a very hoppy finish and said it reminded him of a hops cider. Evil called it a “saazed up” Pilsner and is looking forward to the next batch. Gerg was impressed but said his “socks stayed on”.

Morimoto Imperial Pilsner, Rogue Ales
748 SW Bay Boulevard, Newport, OR

Vinny remarked on the incredible hop flavors and sugary malt smoothness of such a high alcohol beer - a “Big-Ass pilsner”. The Magistrate thought it was delicious and really liked the big, rich malt flavor: “beer careful” he advised. Evil found it sweet and chewy and said it “worked its way into a nice fuzzy feeling”. Gerg said this double pilsner was “boozy goodness” and “what do you mean I came in here with pants on?” At this point, the Beer Diva was writing in slurring mode and does not recall the alcohol percentage, but remembers the beer as “rockin the taste buds”. Hop Jack noted huge bitter alcoholic up front taste that finishes surprisingly mellow and sweet “this one will put us all to bed”.

--- by The Beer Diva, Beer Beacon columnist

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