Balter Pilsner

Total Score: 8.05/10 GreenApple1Bread1CutGrass1Stein1

Next up from Balter is their latest brew from brewmaster Scott Hargrave, which I believe is a core release beer, and a Pilsner to boot. As I noted in my last Balter review (of their Alt-Brown) it had “all the elements in place to be a great beer but it’s just far too laidback and surfy for my tastes… dude”. Hopefully this is a decent German Pilsner, not some layabout surfy chillax bro-man-dude idea of a Pilsner – Pilsners as noted by the mighty Hargrave: “… are technically challenging. It comes down to great ingredients and process, because every part of making a Pilsner has to be as good as you can do it … It’s a beer that has to stand alone because it’s good – plain and simple.” I agree with you wholeheartedly Scott.

Poured from a 375ml can into a stein.

A: Crystal clear golden body and a sea foam white head that started out rather well with a nice German 2 centimetres, but before I even finished typing this it was a disappointing wafer-thin patchwork. 6/10.

S: Nice mix of bready and dry cracker notes upfront, a tiny hit of spicy hops in the background and lingering crisp apple rounds out a fairly decent Pilsner aroma – it’s got the legs of a fine dry/moreish Lager, which is rarer than it should be in the Aussie craft scene. 7/10.

T: Yep! This is definitely one of the best Aussie craft Lagers I’ve come across: Bready/dry cracker, light grainy note, hint of green apple, light spicy finish with a bit of a cut grass tinge. Balance leans slightly towards malt but is overall quite BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto] and unexpected from Balter after Alt-Brown (I wasn’t expecting a BIG tasty German Pilsner tap dancing all over my tongue but here we are!). Kinda reminds me (in all the good ways) of an amped-up Löwenbräu Original. This also has hints of dry vermouth ethanol. 9/10.

M: Mid to light (leaning towards medium) bodied with an almost flat/dense carbonation. 7/10.

D: Top-bloody-notch effort for an Aussie brewer to make a real German Pilsner that… err, actually tastes like a German Pilsner. You can tell from the first sip that Hargrave has gone as traditional and natural in his methods with this beer than most others – like he noted above with the making of Pilsners: “… every part of making a Pilsner has to be as good as you can do it”, exactly! This guy: Nailed it. 8/10.

Food match: If it’s German/Aussie, and sausage of the grilled variety it is on like DK!

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Bitburger Premium Pils

Total Score: 7/10 Bread1Honeycomb1Lemon1Stein1

Can’t believe I haven’t touched this one yet (review-wise) as I’ve drunk it at least a dozen times, in and out of Germany, anyway Bitburger (referring to the Pils, their most popular beer) is Germany’s no. 1 draft beer, and I can attest to seeing it at very nearly every pub I entered in Deutschland. Their main slogan “Bitte ein Bit” works both in English “Please a Bit” as a clever pun and German, which wins them my most coveted “bilingual gold star of pun goodygoodness-ness” and also puts them in decent stead as my “German Pilsner of this very evening award” which is awarded every night I drink a German Pilsner [Tuesdays mostly].

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Clear golden body with a nice 2 centimetre white head which loiters around for a while, as it should with a German macro Lager dammit, not much else to add – the lace is good in the glass – better than average looking macro then. 7/10.

S: Bready notes upfront, a bit of light honey as well, something vegetal and vomit-like to the aroma (not good, but nonetheless expected in a macro Lager). Overall the nose is clean, bready and dry – typical German Pils territory, and apart from that slight spew overtone nothing to worry about (smell the floor of your local pub if you need a sense of what I mean). 6/10.

T: Flavour is really mellow and bready with honey tones and a dry finish, quite a spot on German Pils – nothing out of the ordinary, in fact it’s pretty decent given this is a macro Lager. Hops present as a light lemon and a hint of medicinal herbs towards the finish but overall it’s a Helles dry affair here. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, slightly more viscous than expected, with a light carbonation. It all works well as a German Pils package – though I recall my previous German draft Bitburger experiences to be a bit more lively. 7/10.

D: Standard quality German Pilsners don’t get more standard quality than this – Bit is right up there with the König’s, Warsteiner’s and the Jever’s in the classic German Pils stakes. Though I will rate this as a close second to König – König beats it on aroma and price – Bitburger is still a decent enough brew to chug when you need a quick fix of the old GP, or if you’re in Germania and you don’t like the look of certain other beers on tap (I’m thinking about a certain Queen of beers*). 8/10.

Food match: The classic trinity of weißwurst mit senf und brezeln.

*Warsteiner’s slogan: “Eine Königin unter den Bieren” or “A Queen amongst beers”.

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