The Czechs are known for a few things: Prague, soft contact lenses, Martina Navratilova, the 1989 revolt against communism with their friends Slovakia using furniture fabric. I think we can all agree it’s main contribution to the world’s culture has been pilsener.
At the risk of losing all credibility as a human being, let alone some who claims to enjoy beer, I *deep breath* amnotafanofpilsener. Did I say it too fast? Sorry, a bit nervous about admitting it: I’m not a fan of pilsener.
Ouch, I can feel the burning anguish already.
Specifically, my experiences haven’t been positive. I find the style tends to be overly complicated in flavour, to the point you may as well have had a mouthful of raw hops, or overly bitter, to the point you may as well have had a mouthful of raw (bittering) hops.
Nonetheless, I have chosen Grand Ridge’s Brewers Pilsener, more or less at random, as a means of exploring the genre. Grand Ridge, in what surely has to be the most dubious proposition of any beer label (vintage is not a verb and rarely associated with beer), explains that the Brewers Pilsener is:
European style beer, vintages for an extended period of time to create a delicate floral aroma with a delicious finish, using 100% malted barley, saaz hops and cold fermentation.
The hue is a touch darker than #8 and is a straight out and out straw colour. The beer is slightly cloudy, which is a nice change, with a decent head and little bit of webbing left on the glass. The aroma is a heady mix of hops and spice and the bitterness is tangible. The combination is very much reminding me of Flensburger Pils (think cigarette butts in your beer) which is an experience I’d care not to repeat.
I’m bracing myself and I taste it and it’s…surprisingly not bad. The Brewers Pilsener provides an interesting, maybe a little more balanced than normal, mix of flavours and spices but doesn’t relinquish the ultimate bitter, hoppy as hell, pilsener taste that everyone seems to love. It feels good in the mouth, like you’re having a proper beer. Not a meal, like a porter, and not flavoured water, like a pansy pale ale. Just a fucking solid beer. It finishes stronger than it starts and overall, it’s a great drinking experience.
I’m actually going to hand out the second 5-star rating for this blog. That’s not because I’d prefer to drink this over #1, #4 or #5 but I don’t like pilseners as a rule (which I’m considering changing) but I do like this beer. I could drink this beer. A lot of this beer. It is an excellent beer.
(Disclaimer: the neighbours are having a barbecue as I write. It’s clouding my senses with thoughts of meat.)
- Genre: Lager
- Regionality: Gippsland, VIC
- Strength: 4.9%
- Rating: 3 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 5 / 5
- Plus: It’s an incredibly good beer.
- Minus: The only minus is if you don’t like this style of beer