We’ve encountered a little problem with our reviews lately. They’ve been almost uniformly very positive. And unlike the early days, we don’t pick too many beers at random any more. The problem is that we drink so much now that we have an idea of what we’re getting in for before we write the review. We don’t really like to waste our time with beer we know is going to be rough-going and, as a result, the average review score has moved from 3.13 for the first six months of the blog, up to 3.25 at the end of 2013, creeping up to 3.29 today. 3.29 out of 5 is not very average.
So when I spied the Moo Brew Pilsner on a quick visit to Craft Red Hill, I figured of that particular brand’s range (of which I am a big fan), the pilsner was the least likely to appeal to me, so I grabbed the distinctive bell shaped bottle and had it rung up. I’m going to try and manage the average review score down.
As usual, Moo Brew have deviated a little from the standard fare:
This iconoclastic Pilsner style beer has a noble hop aroma and delicate malt flavour. Departing from tradition, this Pilsner uses only German Spalt hops to achieve its unique aroma and lingering bitterness.
We begin with its light yellow colour, with the merest of turbidity to cloud the otherwise transparent beer, capped with a white foamy head. You can watch the medium sized bubbles racing up through the beer, which leave behind some nice lacing on the side of the glass. The aroma is that of a clean, maybe a touch soapy, lager with a tiny hint of hoppy spiciness.
Most would probably be aware that pilsner is typically made with Saaz hops, noted for its earthy and herbal overtones, so the selection of the Spalt hops is interesting. It leaves less of an earthy taste in one’s mouth and moves more into the direction of spicy and bitter greenery. While I doubt I’d be able to pick the difference between Saaz and Spalt in a blind tasting, it is marginally different – not necessarily improved – on what I was expecting.
In terms of malt, there’s only the mildest of caramel flavour to distinguishes itself against a background of more typical pilsner malt, leading to a clean, dry, very lagery experience.
The lingering aftertaste, however, is less pleasant. I find myself reminded of industrial lager. It’s the mix of dry, bitter breadiness that doesn’t sit well. While it’s not as bad as cracking a stubbie of XXXX, I probably would have preferred something with a little more residual sweetness. That said, with a clean beer like this, there are few places to hide faults and I cannot detect anything that would suggest anything less than impeccable brewing.
Moo Brew get bonus points for super-sessionable-ness. I could drink this all day and if it holds its character well in aluminium, then I think the obvious opportunity presents itself to be the classiest canned beer in all the land. Bear in mind that, when summer comes around again, this pilsner comes into its own at a temperature a bit higher than straight out of the fridge can offer but is still refreshing nonetheless.
It’s worth reiterating that my expectations were low, so I was a bit blown away on the first tasting. I had a bottle with lunch but with a second bottle at home, the novelty had worn off, so my overall impression is a little less exuberant than I originally thought it would be but the Moo Brew Pilsner remains a very drinkable beer.
- Genre: Lager
- Regionality: Berriedale, TAS
- Strength: 5.0%
- Rating: 1.5 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3 / 5
- Plus: Goes down easily
- Minus: Aftertaste is not to my taste