Posts Tagged With: Czech Pilsner

TYIB Goes Global: The Germans

Though we did not have a ‘traditional’ Get Blitzed Day, we did have a Get Blitzed Week. Despite the consumption of infinite litres of bier, we attempted to capture as much information on the imbibed beverages. Below is our collection of insights, stories, and reviews of some of the best beers found in Berlin!

WARSTEINER PILSNER

Beer: Pilsner
Brewery: Warsteiner Brauerei
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

We wasted (pun intended) no time getting started, and our first review was on the plane, courtesy of Lufthansa, member of the Star Alliance. We managed to acquire three of these on our transatlantic flight, in order to truly appreciate this “premium German beer” (well, to truly appreciate how generous the Lufthansa flight attendants are with booze). While perhaps not the best German Pilsner we have tried this month, Warsteiner puts forth a wholly drinkable, well-carbonated beer, with the expected Euro lager yeast and graininess of a German Pilsner. Certainly worthy of trying up on an eight-hour flight.

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AIRBRÄU JETSTREAM

Beer: Jetstream
Brewery: Airbräu Munchen
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

TYIB tip #43: If you have a layover in Munich (which is likely if you fly anywhere on Lufthansa–I once had a layover in Munich when trying to get to Madrid), find Airbräu, the brewery/biergarten in the Flughafen München Franz Josef Strauß. Not only do they brew their own beer on site (in the airport), they have a full menu of Bavarian treats and a stellar line-up of beers on tap. The Jetstream, the first beer we tried, is an unfiltered German Pilsner. It had a gorgeous straw body, and was refreshing and crisp, with a robust citrusy hop and grain flavor. This Airport Pilsner was one of the best German Pilsners this month.

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AIRBRÄU KUMULUS

Beer: Kumulus
Brewery: Airbräu Munchen
Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.4%

On a mission to try the entire run of Airbräu beers during the extent of our meager layover, the Kumulus, a hefeweizen (wheat beer), was next on the docket. In a rush to drink as much as possible (we do not recommend this tactic before you know what gate you have to run to), we had to drink it on the fly without a photograph or a full review. However, our image-negligence is not indicative of the quality of this beer. The Kumulus is as light, creamy, and fluffy as its namesake, with a clove and banana/bubble-gum presence generally found in hefeweizens.

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AIRBRÄU MAYDAY

Beer: Mayday
Brewery: Airbräu Munchen
Style: Dunkelweizen
ABV: likely 5-6%

We sadly had to put this one down pretty quickly, but it was sehr easy! The Mayday, a dunkelweizen (dark wheat) is one of Airbräu’s seasonsal brews, appropriately tapped on May 1st. Brewed with dark barley malt, the taste is a little bit spicy and a lot of bit banana/malts, kind of like a fruity cereal. The medium, low-carbonated feel accentuates this flavor profile. If you find yourself in Munich in the early summer, celebrate May Day with a Mayday. And if you’re not, look out for Airbräu’s other seasonals: Aviator (Doppelbock), Festbier (Oktoberfest), and Krampus (Winter beer).

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AUGUSTINER LAGERBIER HELL

Beer: Helles
Brewery: Augustiner Bräu
Style:
Helles
ABV: 5.2%

Whenever I go to Germany, my Nummer Eins  priority is to find the Augustiner Lagerbier Hell IMMEDIATELY. This is one of my favorite German beers of all time, as evidenced by the above photo. In fact, this is one of the highest rated/regarded helles beers in the world. Augustiner is the oldest brewery in Munich (1328!), and has been upholding the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot (“Purity Law”) of 1516 with every beer produced. The Lagerbier Hell is the sublime balance of its three ingredients…water, hops, and barley malt. It’s perfectly carbonated, perfectly balanced, and perfectly incredible. There’s a reason why there are many Yahoo! Answers entries asking, WHO WILL SHIP ME THE LAGERBIER HELL. The answer? No one. Go to Germany.

(After a little research, there appears to be one bar in Philadelphia (St. Steven’s Green) that has it in bottles. Here are the directions: DIRECTIONS TO LAGERBIER.)

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AUGUSTINER EDELSTOFF

Beer: Edelstoff
Brewery: Augustiner Bräu
Style: Helles
ABV: 5.6%

A wee more sweet than the Lagerbier, the Edelstoff is what Augustiner calls an ‘exportbier’ and is expectedly slightly more alcoholic as well (as beers labeled ‘EXPORT’ generally are). Brewed with the “nobelest materials,” the Edelstoff is nearly as amazing as its brother, Lagerbier. The additional sweetness throws the perfect balance, though. Nevertheless, it’s crisp, with a sweet malt and floral hop flavor,  and just a little bit of spice. If you want a taste of Augustiner’s second best, take a trip out to Brooklyn for a bottle, or Valhalla in Hell’s Kitchen for an exceedingly overpriced one.

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BERLINER KINDL PILSNER

Beer: Pilsner Klassik
Brewery: Berliner Kindl Brauerei
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.6%

It shouldn’t be a shock to hear that Bavarian beers are superior to a vast majority of non-Bavarian beers. This is further proved by the Berliner Kindl Pils, a pretty subpar Pilsner produced by Berlin brewery Berliner Kindl. Sure, the 1902 brewery is essentially a fetus when compared to the 700-year old Bavarian breweries, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to purchase the Berliner Pils over ANYTHING made by Bavarian brewers. I will add the caveat that we tried the Berliner Pils while watching Eurovision in Prenzlauer Berg, so maybe we mistook the bitterness of the beer for the bitterness we felt when the Buranovskiye Babushki only took second place. Or, it’s just subpar.

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CHIEMSEER HELL

  

Beer: Chiemseer Hell
Brewery: Chiemgauer Brauhaus
Style: Helles
ABV: likely 5.0-5.4%

Chiemgauer Brauhaus is located in the Chiemgau area, which is nestled in the foothills of the Alps and surrounds the Chiemsee lake. Just in case you were wondering, because we were wondering. Anyways, Chiemgauer Brauhaus puts forth a helles to rival the Lagerbier Hell! It’s exceptionally well-carbonated, light, refreshing, and tastes like Germany (i.e., German malts) in a bottle. If I could keep my fridge filled with the Chiemseer Hell, I would. But I can’t, as this might be one of the most obscure Bavarian beers.

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ROTHAUS PILSNER & TANNENZÄPFEL

Beer: Tannenzäpfle Pils
Brewery: Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%

Oh, meine liebe, Rothaus Tannenzäpfle (which means “little fir cones” in German). Rothaus’ Tannenzäpfle Pils is, hands down, the best German Pilsner. Ever. It tastes like biscuit dough, if it was a sweet, zesty, herbed, pine biscuit. It is downright disgusting just how refreshing and put-backable this little 33cl treat is. It is no surprise that there is a cult following surrounding the gold-foiled beer.

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KONIG LUDWIG WEISSBIER

Beer: Weissbier
Brewery: König Ludwig
Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.4%

After walking the depths of the Tiergarten, stumbling upon a small biergarten at the edge of a lake was the perfect context for enjoying König Ludwig’s Hefeweizen. König Ludwig, also known as the “Mad King” and “Fairy Tale King,” is most famously associated today with the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle and the patronage of Wagner. Many associate his madness and creativity with the modern wealth of Bavaria, inadvertently creating a massive tourism industry in the area. Indulge me for a second, but das König also commissioned a partial replica of Versailles, a quirky Wagner-influenced Venus Grotto, and numerous Moroccan and Turkish-themed rooms. Oh! The beer! Yeah, König Ludwig’s Hefeweizen is fit for a mad, whimsical king: it’s rich, creamy, smells like bubble gum, and oozes sweet bananas and cloves. If you’re looking to try it, just look out for a six-pack with an image of The Castle on it.

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ALSTERWASSER (“Oops”)

Beer: Alterwasser
Brewery:
Style: Radler
ABV: –

As most German beers consist of three simple (yet noble) ingredients, we can imagine that beer-drinking life MUST get a little tedious from time to time. Their solution? Dump a number random drinks into your beer. German beer mixed drinks include the Radler (half lager, half “limo” or a Sprite-like beverage), Diesel (half lager, half cola), and a Colaweizen (half hefeweizen, half cola). And then there is what we ordered by accident…the Alsterwasser. Imagine our surprise, thinking we were about to review a fresh German Pilsner. Upon first taste, we almost did one of those comical sip-spit-spray shticks. The Alsterwasser is similar to the Radler, except a Pilsner is used instead of a Lager. Excuse my German, but it was DAS SUCK. Instinctively, I wanted to devise some sort of tourniquet to stop the flow of this sodabeer. But alas, we drank the Alsterwasser anyways, if only to relay just how terrible it was.

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VELTINS PILSENER

Beer: Pilsener
Brewery: Brauerei C. & A. Veltins
Style:
German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

The Veltins Pilsner is a solid non-Bavarian German Pilsner. More on the bitter end of the Pilsner scale, Veltins is an alternative to its sometimes-too-sweet Bavarian counterparts.

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ANDECHSER HELL

Beer: Helles
Brewery: Klosterbrauerei Andechs
Style: Helles
ABV: 4.8%

To be honest, this Helles is pretty unmemorable. It has a thin body with great carbonation, but that’s all that we commented on at the time. Apparently it earned itself three pint glasses, though!

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BUDWEISER BUDVAR

Beer: Budweiser Budvar
Brewery: Brewery Budwesier Budvar
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

While Budvar is not technically a German Pilsner (it is in fact a Czech Pilsner), it was sorely overlooked during our Pilsner month and we did drink a number of them while dancing to 1970s disco in a 9′ x 10′ bar in Kreuzberg. Budvar (or, Czechvar in the USA…read about the naming CONTROVERSY here), is considered to be one of the best Pilsners in the world, and we’ll jump on that bandwagon. The highlight of BudCzechvar is the unique hop flavor dervied from Saaz hops–it’s piney, earthy, and spicy. These flavors aren’t overpowering, though, and are balanced by the biscuity, doughy Moravian malt. While always better closer to the source, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you pick up a 6 of Czechvar.

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FLENSBURGER PILSENER

Beer: Pilsener
Brewery: Flensburger Brauerei
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

And last, but not really least, the Flensburger Pilsener. After meine leibe (Rothaus), Flensburger’s Pils is the best German Pilsner this month. It is exceptionally crisp and balanced, with a surprisingly full herbal, grassy hop flavor, tempered with a bready malt taste. While consuming countless Flensburgers didn’t help my ping pong game that night, it did expand my appreciation for German Pilsners.

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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

——–

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

——–

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

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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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

Golden Pheasant

Beer: Golden Pheasant, “The Original Slovak Beer”
Brewery: Pivovar Zlaty Bazant
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

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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: Slightly hazy honey body with a very thin white head.

Smell: Overpowering metallic scent, then sweet cereal and bread. A very faint waft of rose, too.

Flavor: Honey, malt, bread, and water. If you let it sit long enough, a slight floral hop taste develops.

Feel: Surprisingly full body with excellent carbonation. Extremely easy to get down.

Concluding Remark: Nothing remarkable to conclude. While the mouthfeel is pretty freakin’ great,  I wouldn’t pick up this Golden Pheasant, straight from the heart of Slovakia, unless I was in a bar in Bratislava. It might have been a solid beer at one point, but the brewery was bought by Heineken in 1997, and we all know how good Heineken is.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Beer: Summerfest
Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

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

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Hazy straw body of a Czech Pilsner, with a creamy white head that recedes to a foamy brim.

Smell: Lemon. And corn. It actually kind of smells like a better Budweiser.

Flavor: It tastes better than it smells. The characteristic Pilsner malt-to-hops ratio is off, with an emphasis on the malt side. The result is a sweeter, less interesting Pilsner. Oddly, it tastes like cardboard smells. Oddly.

Feel: Thin body, less carbonated than other Pils.

Concluding Remarks: Summerfest, Sierra Nevada’s moniker for their Czech Pilsner, is mediocre. It kind of tastes like watery cardboard malt seltzer (imagine it). Overall,  it’s a fine summer beer, but it’s missing the nuanced spice and hops of a Czech Pils. If Sierra added a little more hops next time, the Summerfest could put the ‘fest’ in…Summerfest.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Great Divide Nomad

Beer: Nomad
Brewery: Great Divide
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.4%

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

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Bright yellow, clear body with a very slight tinge of chartreuse. A  thin head quickly recedes.

Smell: Wet, sticky Saaz hops and Munich malts. Finally some Saaz action!

Flavor: Sweeter than it smells, with a bright, intriguing flavor profile. It’s slightly citrusy, a little floral, and a helluva lot of malts ‘n hops. Saaz hops are pretty much the best thing ever, just saying.

Feel: Thin with full carbonation.

Concluding Remarks: Hot damn, this is incredible. Though it calls itself a Bohemian (i.e., Czech) Pilsner, Great Divide’s Nomad is a sassy offspring of the Bavarian and Bohemian Pils, traversing the geographic beerscape in search of hoppier pastures. It has the rich, almost spicy, taste of a Czech, with the delicious malt profile and distinctive watery aftertaste of a German. This might be one of the most delicious Pils ever. I seriously recommend stocking your fridge with Nomad this summer…if I can find some more. This was the last one at my local beer store, and it is with great sorrow to announce that I have not seen one since. So, if you find some, could you let me know? Thanks.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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