Monthly Archives: May 2012

Crooked Line Tilted Smile

Beer: Tilted Smile
Brewery: Unita Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Pilsner
ABV: 9.0%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Imperial glass
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Deep golden, clear body with a dense, billowy beige head.

Smell: Terrific sweet pastry and grapefruit nose. Where’s the Pilsen malt, though? There’s a lingering ethyl alcohol note.

Flavor: It smells much better than it tastes. Flavor is like ethyl alcohol steeped with oranges and wheat bread. Tastes a little medicinal. A very slight floral hop at the end.

Feel: A little oily with great carbonation. The high ABV warms the chest.

Concluding Remark: What is this? The golden malt-to-hop ratio is not only off, but nonexistent. It just tastes bitter, and the alcohol note overpowers all other flavors in Unita Brewing Company’s (of SLC) brew. It reminds me of biting into the rind of an orange…reminiscent of fruit, but ultimately bitter and unpleasant. A European would be really pissed off for classifying this as a Pilsner. If anything, this is more of a strange double IPA than a Pilsner.

I have not been impressed with the Imperial Pilsners I have tried this month. I would much rather have two or three regular ol’ Pilsners than drink one of these. Just sayin’. But! Unita Brewing does employ local artists to design the labels of their Crooked Line, in order to “express their individuality.” Tilted Line is rendered by Leia Bell. And I can get behind that.

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Lagunitas Czech Style PILS

Beer: PILS
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 6.2%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Imperial glass
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Hazy straw body with a frothy white head that dissipates quickly to a small brim of bubbles.

Smell: It smells like…a pretzel. A very salty pretzel. It also smells like warm beer on a beach. Apparently I’m smelling memories today. Slightly metallic, slightly bready, a light citrus.

Flavor: Ummmmm where’s the flavor? It tastes like air. Then it feels bitter, without much of a discernible hop taste. As it sits, the malt profile that develops is quite nice–subtle, and not as sweet as other Pils. The hops leave a slight sour and spice aftertaste, which could’ve absolutely been amped up.

Feel: Thin, a little oily, with nice carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Drinking Lagunitas’ PILS makes me regret giving the Staropramen only a 2.5. But, this is a 6.2% ABV Pils (unheard of), so I’m pretty darned impressed. It is balanced, although the malt/hop choreography I appreciate in a Pils is a little lackluster. But at 6.2%, it’s ever so drinkable and complex enough to keep your palate asking questions with each sip. PILS is not the best Pilsner to be found in our fine world, but a very solid American interpretation of the style nevertheless (finally).

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Staropramen Premium Beer

Beer: Staropramen Premium Beer
Brewery: Pivovar Staropramen
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Tumbler (faux pas, I know)
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear, light amber body with a two inch sticky white head.

Smell: Rich, sweet malt profile…it’s slightly metallic and quite doughy. There’s a faint waft of Saaz hops in the midst of the malt.

Flavor: Initial watery taste that transitions to a bready maltiness, then to a light hop bitterness, and ends with a grassy water flavor.

Feel: Thinnish body with average carbonation.

Concluding Remark: One of the most common beers in the Czech Republic, the Staropramen Pilsner is an authentic Czech Pilsner. However, authentic doesn’t always mean good. It’s heavy on the malt, with a weak hop profile and a cloying sweetness. But, head out to the Astoria Bohemian Beer Hall and give it a try for a little taste of Prague (although I swear it’s better there…) Or better yet, go find Czechvar (Budvar in Czech) instead. Clearly it’s not easy to find, as I have not stumbled upon it this month. But it’s worth keeping an eye out for it, as it’s the good version of Staropramen.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Kelso Pilsner

Beer: Pilsner
Brewery: Kelso Brewing Company
Style: Czech-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.5%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Stone Park Cafe, Park Slope
Primary Consumer: Kerensa
Consumption Companion: Executive Director of the Atlantic Avenue BID

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Bright yellow clear body with thin frothy white head.

Smell: Sweet grains, slight coppery aroma.

Flavor: Bread seltzer, candied fruit and banana, a faint milky taste.

Feel: Thinnish body with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: There is no hops presence here–a defining feature of the Czech Pilsner. It’s enjoyable, nonetheless. A decent springtime brew, support Kelso, a local Brooklyn brewery, next time you’re out in the New York City area.

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Gösser

Beer: Gösser
Brewery: Brauerei Göss
Style: Euro lager
ABV: 5.2%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s Apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Crystal clear maize body with a thinnish ultra-white head.

Smell: Crisp, earthy aroma, with a tinge of metallic.

Flavor: It has a nice, crap-German malt taste, with a pleasant note of apples and melon. Hops are greatly missed.

Feel: Incredible mouthfeel…very dynamic. The feel alone makes me want to drink a hundred of these.

Concluding Remark: For the record, this is not a Pilsner. The nice shopkeeper at Top Hops on Orchard Street was slightly baffled that I was looking for multiple Pilsners (especially when their shelves are filled with delicious foreign beers). I think in order to have me fill a six-pack of Pilsners, he categorized Gösser, Austria’s Budweiser, as a Pilsner. I knew just from smelling it, it was not one. It is the exotic EURO LAGER. But I went forth and reviewed it nonetheless.

For a Euro Lager, this is pretty decent. It has a kind of generic sweetish malt taste, but the mouthfeel is excellent. It would be the perfect six-pack to bring for a picnic, or some social event where you’re trying to please everyone. You won’t, you never will. Someone will give you sass about bring a euro macro lager, someone will give you you sass for not bringing Smirnoff Ice or a Riesling. Whatever. This won’t make you popular, but everyone will drink it.

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Sly Fox Pikeland Pils

Beer: Pikeland Pils
Brewery: Sly Fox Brewing Company
Style: German-style Pilsner
ABV: 4.9%

 Serving Style: Can
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: The Old Bay, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Ally
Consumption Companion: Joe from the George St. Co-op

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear straw yellow, with a 1-finger head that recedes rather quickly.

Smell: Sweet, like Gummy Bears, or apple cider, with grassy and metallic notes as well.

Flavor: Not as sweet as it smells.  Mostly the grassy flavor comes through, with a very mild citrus note and a slight hop aftertaste.

Feel: Syrupy mouthfeel.  Low carbonation.

Concluding Remark: I really wanted this Sly Fox Pilsner to taste like a Gummy Bear, but it doesn’t.  Not even a watered-down Gummy Bear.  In fact, it doesn’t really taste like much.  It has maybe a slight taste of cider, but weakly so.  However, as Joe remarked, there’s no strong flavor, but it’s not necessarily offensive.  And it comes in a can, and as the Oskar Blues Brewery tells us, that’s a pretty good thing.

And on second thought, maybe Gummy Bear-flavored beer would be kinda gross.

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Josephsbrau PLZNR

Beer: PLZNR
Brewery: Josephsbrau
Style: Czech-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.4%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s Apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear straw body with a bright white, frothy head.

Smell: Cereal, dry sweetness, sweet light malt scent.

Flavor: Tastes different than it tastes. It’s metallic, and bitter.  Tastes like bad tap water.

Feel: Thin body with okay carbonation.

Concluding Remark: While it’s more complex than an a Bud, the Josephsbrau (TRADER JOE’s) PLZNR is not only missing some vowels, but balance as well. This is definitely not what one should nor would expect from a Czech-style Pilsner. It’s not a good Pilsner, but it’s a good $1 beer.

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Brooklyn Pilsner

Beer: Brooklyn Pilsner
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: German-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%

 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: The Fant Mansion
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear golden yellow, with 1 1/2 finger off-white head that quickly settles to a thin layer of bubbles.

Smell: Yeasty, sweet, and citrusy.

Flavor: Earthy, almost smoky, taste with a bitterness that lingers in the back of the throat.  Some mild sweetness.

Feel: Light mouthfeel and carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Brooklyn’s take on the Pilsner is no frills.  Although the aroma implies a sweet beer, the taste is more bitter and savory.  It’s nothing flashy, but it’s light and enjoyable.  It’d be a good beer to pair with a meal that you don’t want to be overpowered by your alcohol.

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Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Pilsner

Beer: Alpine Glacier Pilsner Lager
Brewery: Tommyknowcker Brewery
Style: German-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s Apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Dark golden body with a two finger iridescent white head with sparkly bubbles.

Smell: Berries, grain, and spicy hops.

Flavor: Sweet cereal taste, with flat hops and water. It tastes like a big glass of tap water with a bit of bitter hops.

Feel: Medium body with lively carbonation.

Concluding RemarksTommyknocker’s Alpine Glacier is deceiving–there is very little “Alpine” in this brew. It’s a true American Pilsner hybrid: it takes the simple yet delicious Pilsner flavor profile and douses it with hops. It actually tastes more like an American Pale Ale (although it’s a lager), likely because there’s no discernible presence of lager yeasts or traditional Pilsner malts (like Munich malts) or Pilsner hops (like Saaz or Noble). While it’s fine and drinkable, this is absolutely NOT a traditional Pilsner. If I wasn’t rating this on the style, I would give it a 2.5.  It’s kind of bitter, definitely watery, but if you’re looking for a new take on a Pilsner, I guess you could try this one.

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Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Beer: Mama’s Little Yella Pils
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
Style: Czech-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.3%

 Serving Style: Can
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: The Fant Mansion
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear dandelion yellow, with a fluffy, white, 1-finger head that settles to about 1/2 a centimeter, with nice lacing and carbonation bubbles throughout.

Smell: Bright, sweet citrus and malts, with maybe a bit of a floral note.

Flavor: The taste is more of hops than malts, but balanced with the sweet citrus found in the aroma, like that of candied orange slices.  There is also a fruit note, along the lines of passionfruit.

Feel: Moderate mouthfeel that’s almost syrupy, with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: This poor Pilsner can easily be misjudged; first of all, it’s a Pilsner, which makes most people think of a Bud, i.e. not good beer.  Secondly, this guy comes in a can, which also makes you think of, well, not good beer.  But Colorado-based brewery Oskar Blues defies the Pilsner stereotype with the Mama’s Little Yella Pils.  It’s a dynamic, well-balanced brew that’s sweeter and more flavorful than what I expect from a Pilsner.  And as for the can, here’s what Oskar Blues has to say about that:

  • Cans keep beer incredibly fresh by fully protecting it from light and oxygen.
  • Cans are highly portable, allowing craft beer lovers to easily enjoy great beer in places where glass bottles are not ideal or allowed: the beach, pool, boats, trails, rivers, slopes, hot tubs, bath tubs, golf courses and so on…
  • Unlike cans of old, the modern aluminum can is lined with a water-based coating so beer and metal never touch, and there is no exchange of metallic flavor.
  • Cans are the most easily and frequently recycled beverage package in the world, free of glass breakage issues, and less fuel-consuming to ship. (Cans enable Oskar Blues to reduce its fuel costs and carbon footprint for shipped beer by 35%.)

So, drink away, friends–this is a perfect, portable summer beer that’s good for the environment, too.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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