Summer Means Pilsner Summer means it’s time to enjoy crisp refreshing beers. This calls for German hop profiles; especially Pilsners and Northern German style Pilsners which have an even more zesty herbal spice character from dry hopping. As always local is recommended when good choices are available. So from mild to wild and from local to international here is a list of some noteworthy Pilsners that ought to be available in local grocery stores and retailers.
If your favorite store doesn’t carry the American brews mentioned please make a request for them to do so. Otherwise visit Whole Foods Market or Total Wine. Sunshine State Pils is the best starting point to enjoying these refreshing beers. Caribbean Pilsner also from Florida Beer Company is another excellent choice. Next would be Sam Adams Downtime Pilsner that uses traditional “Land Race” hops and also the newest most exciting German hops; Mandarina Bavaria. This provides a beautiful balance of crisp herbal zest and floral fruity aromas yielding an incredibly smooth and refreshing pilsner.
Then try Sierra Nevada Nooner, followed by Victory Prima Pilsner for the full German Pilsner tour de force. These four beers are all in my fridge. Other good choices are North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner, Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner, Samuel Adams Golden Pilsner, Brooklyn Pilsner, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Little Yella Pils, Rogue Imperial Pilsner (over the top), Schonramer Pilsner (multi gold medal winner), Flensburger Pilsner, Jever, Augustiner Pilsner and Regele Augsburger Herren Pils (Europe’s most medal-winning beer). All but Brooklyn and the last two are available locally.
Although different in hop profile all Czech pilsners are worth a try. Americans have embraced the bold flavors and high gravity* (*specific gravity is an indication of alcohol content in the beer) of IPAs for years. The extreme levels of hops used and high alcohol contents of these beers are popular amongst Americas craft beer brewers in part because we as a nation have a great deal of “craft beer” brewed by self-taught brewers. High alcohol levels and high hopping rates mask a myriad of brewing faults or flaws.
Achieving good aroma, mouthfeel, taste and balance with a pleasing aftertaste is the holy grail of brewing and it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as the alcohol level in the beer decreases. The longstanding tradition of brewing high quality, low gravity, refreshing beers with excellent drinkability (beers that are ideal for our climate) is what makes German-educated brewers so outstanding. University of California Davis and Siebel Institute in the United States also have excellent reputations as brewing schools. However, well-educated (master brewer diploma) brewers are the exception, not the rule, on the American craft beer scene. The next American brewing trend will be Gose and Berliner Weisse, easily brewed, crisp and refreshing. Perhaps Pilsners will be trendy in 2019.
Bio: Don Lindsay conducted many hours of beer appreciation research as a merchant marine officer visiting Denmark, Belgium, Germany, England and 35 other countries. The noteworthy beer related accomplishments of which Don is most proud include: 1975 Bruxelles, Belgium – Discovering an affinity for Lambic Beers; 1979 Surrey, England – Becoming a CAMRA supporter; 2009 & 2010 Whole Foods Market Coral Gables – Breaking every global sales metric as beer buyer two years running; 2013 Munich, Germany – Being the only American to represent the United States in the World Championship for Beer Sommeliers and achieving second place in the competition (with the help of Art Campbell); 2016 Hallertau, Germany on a hop farm where Jim Koch, owner of Sam Adams, personally sources his hops. He was asked by the Polish migrant farm hands, veterans of more 25 years of training young hop bines and with whom he shared accommodations and worked eight days and more than 81 hours, to return next spring for hop training. Hop training is arguably one of the world’s most arduous and physically tormenting jobs.
For more on German hops and Don’s most recent experience see Don's article next month.
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If you have checked the items above and are still having trouble receiving emails, please the First Mate, Michelle Otero Valdes for assistance.
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