Sierra Nevada Nooner Pilsner

Total Score: 9.05/10 Bread1Orange1Pear1Stein1

I always get a bit excited when I come across a Sierra Nevada beer I’ve yet to review, especially if it’s on the amber spectrum of colour – these guys don’t do dark beers nearly as well as their amber brews, so when I saw this 5.2% ABV Pilsner on a sunny Queensland afternoon my brain was instantly like “f__k yeah!”. Another thing it’s all about the little touches with SN, such as spelling ‘Pilsner’ correctly rather than the frankly stupid Anglicised ‘Pilsener’… SN know what they’re doing, you’re in safe hands now friend 😉

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a stein.

A: I’m already hooked: cloudy pale orange/yellow (sunburst, yeah sunburst) body with a nice dense white 1 cm head which impressively sticks around for a while. Last time I saw a Lager style this remarkable was 1983, and I was toddler at the time! 10/10 (deduct a point or 2 if you think Pilsners should be filtered, evil bastard).

S: Nice bready notes upfront with a bit of sweetness, brioche would probably sum it up the best, with some (very!) light pepper spice towards the back and a fruity hop character somewhere between orange, apple and banana (??? maybe I need to get my olfactory senses checked – should not be getting banana in a Pilsner). 8/10.

T: Those brioche tones upfront give way to a light smattering of fruity hops (more orange/apple/pear than anything) the teensiest-tiniest hit of pepper and a crisp/dry/bitter finish. The balance between everything is right on the money, although Lager drinkers will definitely find this beer too hoppy and American IPA drinkers would possibly find this beer too malty, but stuff their opinions I think it’s ace! 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a nice creamy light carbonation – if your knowledge on German Pilsners is up to scratch then you will know this is spot on right for the style. 9/10.

D: Although it is not a perfect German Pilsner – too cloudy, hops not German as far as I can tell [let’s not be discriminatory towards non-German hops Doc, isn’t that something the Nazis did?], this is by far my new favourite Pilsner – the balance is just there and it’s tasty to boot! Yep, I’m getting this every summer from now until my unfortunate demise at the ripe old age of 153 (good genes + medical science = w00t!). 10/10.

Food match: Why did I have to think of German food, specifically: Schwenker mit bratkartoffeln und spätzle? Because this beer is so damn good, that’s why.

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Little Creatures Original Pilsner

Total Score: 6.3/10 Bread1 Barley1 Coriander1 Stein1

How did this one slip under the radar?! Little Creatures is still one of my favourite Aussie craft brewers – even if their recent Export Stout Return Of The Dread was a tad average, I still love ‘em. Now we come to their Pilsner (the spelling of which would suggest it is done in the vein of the Czech not the German style) which I have indeed tried before on a whim, though I never really thought much of it, time to put digits to keyboard to word processor and review this puppy (which isn’t really a puppy).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Stein (DAB branded).

A: Presents with a typical clear pale golden body, excellent clarity which is a hallmark of the style, and a 1 cm foamy white head which dies down to a thin lace covering. Good looking Pilsner. 8/10.

S: The aroma is much more German than Czech with overbearing bread dough notes, a crisp dry cracker background and hints of malt grains… perhaps they should have left the first “e” in Pilsner (the German spelling). Other than that it doesn’t have much going for it, certainly missing that spicy Saaz hop note that one expects from a Czech Pilsner… maybe it’s just hiding in the flavour? 6/10.

T: Coming from Little Creatures this is a surprise – there’s no hops to be noted! Overall flavours are: Bread dough, sweet grainy mid palate and a dry cracker finish with a hint of herbal bitterness to assist cutting through the sweet/dry characters. Aftertaste is a bit doughy but at the same time refreshing. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a sharp carbonation, smack dab in Pilsner territory here, good. 8/10.

D: It’s OK as far as a Lager goes, but OK just doesn’t cut it when it comes to Little Creatures – it has to be excellent, and this is not. You can’t help but get the feeling that Little Creatures could have packed this to the gills with spicy Saaz hops and produced a Pilsner that sits alongside their Pale Ale as a big tasty and complex example of a brilliant brew, however they seem content settling for a lighter more boring Pilsner that may bring macro Lager drinkers to their fold. Stuff them – I want a big tasty Pilsner Little Creatures – I’m your target demographic, not the unwashed VB-drinking masses… *ahem* err, yes, that was the beginning of a solid rant, I’ll leave it there. 6/10.

Food match: Light BBQ fare – hamburgers, sausages (“snags” in the Aussie parlance) and the usual BBQ sides; coleslaw, potato and noodle salads.

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BrewDog 77 Lager

Total Score: 7.4/10 Coriander1 Peppercorns1 CutGrass1 PokalStange1

I’ve been looking forward to a BrewDog for some time now, the allure of a company that touts the strongest beer in the world has been brewing inside me (no pun intended).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a tulip pint.

A: BAZZAM! This beer does not like being kept under 4 degrees in the fridge – it came bursting out of the bottle like it had something to prove before the slightly tan head died down to nothing. Body is a cloudy honey orange. 4/10.

S: Smells like various herbs and cannabis… a party waiting to go down. The grains are bludgeoned to death by the hops in this so-called Lager. There is also a hint of cut grass (grains?). 7/10.

T: The hops dominate with a spicy/herby character that finishes dry and soured. It’s like a challenge thrown down by Brewdog, a gauntlet slapped across the face of US micro-brewers saying “Oi! We Scots can brew complex hop driven beers too”… I like it. There are much stronger beers out there that have much less flavour than this. The only thing that detracts from the taste is that it doesn’t really qualify as a Pilsener in my books – it’s more of an APA in flavour style… bit of false advertising there. 8/10.

M: Maybe as a result of the explosion of foam that came out of the bottle when I opened it but this beer is fairly flat (making it seem even more like an Ale), not that I have a problem with that. 6/10.

D: It does say “Juxtaposition Pilsener” on the bottle – perhaps that’s the juxtaposition (that it doesn’t taste like a Pilsener). Who cares? It’s a decent beer that goes down well, that herbaceous character is at home with my taste buds any day of the week. 8/10.

Food match: I would juxtaposition this brew with a gourmet pizza and be quite satisfied… in fact I will!

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Mac’s Hop Rocker Pilsener

Total Score: 7.85/10 Nut1 Earth1 Coriander1 Stein1

THE GREAT ANZAC PILSNER FACE-OFF!!!

Time for a Pilsner face-off! Two decent Australian (and one Kiwi!) Pilsner’s battle head to head for my admiration: The grand prize being my gracious future consumeration (yes, yes, it’s not a real word, let’s get past all that). The last beer in the face-off is the Kiwi underdog Mac’s Hop Rocker Pilsener.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a 500ml Stein glass.

A: Golden straw hue lends itself well to the body, with a 2cm chalk head that reduced to half a centimetre. Nothing special. 5/10.

S: I could breathe this in all day: nutty malts with strong earthy hops with a herbaceous note… I’m enamoured with its musk for reasons known only to beer drinkers across the globe. 9/10.

T: The flavour is also nutty malts with earthy hops, and a slightly acidic/bitter aftertaste (like wormwood). It’s an interesting combination for a Pilsner and I dig it. It’s not quite as hoppy as you would expect from the name but it does the job well. 8/10.

M: Creamy and medium bodied. A good Pilsner feel. 6/10.

D: It’s a very good effort and I commend the Mac’s brewers for thinking outside the square. It doesn’t taste traditionally Pilsner and you could almost mistake it for a Pale Ale (like I did with the James Squire), but it’s an easy six pack for me. 8/10.

Food match: Spicy chicken with a garden salad… there, I said it! Also could go well with seafood, shell fish or calamari.

Final “GREAT ANZAC PILSNER FACE-OFF” verdict: None of the three beers I reviewed came close to being stylistically like a real Czech Pilsner, and the only one that attempted to be a stylistically Pilsner (Bohemian Pilsner) was my least favourite. Ironically the one furthest from a Pilsner (Hop Rocker) was the best in my buds (taste-buds) proving that it sometimes pays to be different kiddo 😉

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James Squire Original Pilsener

Total Score: 7.2/10 Malt1 Grapefruit1 CutGrass1 Stein1

THE GREAT ANZAC PILSNER FACE-OFF!!!

Time for a Pilsner face-off! Two decent Australian (and one Kiwi!) Pilsner’s battle head to head for my admiration, who will win? The most awesomest of coursest! Second brew to test its due: James Squire Original Pilsener.

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a 500ml Stein glass.

A: Amber body with cascading bubbles leading to a 2cm almond white head, which slowly dissipated to 1cm. I’m liking the colour however it’s not as clear or Pale as the classic Czech Pilsners. 6/10.

S: Toasted biscuit malts provide a base for floral hops and some cut grass. From the aroma you could almost mistake it for an American Pale Ale style… almost. 5/10.

T: What?! This is a Pale Ale surely; toasted malts with a big grapefruit/citrus hop finish (not to mention the mouthfeel of an Ale). The Malt Shovel boys could have called it an Ale and I doubt anyone would have been the wiser. The hops leave a bitterness that feels characteristically out of proportion for Saaz hops (which aren’t nearly as bitter as most other hops). 8/10.

M: Creamy and light on fizz, a medium-heavy body. 7/10.

D: I like it! Don’t know if it really is what it says it is on the bottle (a classic Czech styled Pilsner) but I still like it. If you’re looking for a Pilsner in the classic sense I would look elsewhere, but if (like me) you love a good Ale well I think James Squires Pilsener will be a pleasant surprise for you (I can certainly go for a few more of these!) [PRESENT-TENSE-ME WARNING: This and the other 2 Pilsner reviews were from 3 years ago, and Mr. Squire has rebranded his brews, not sure if this included recipe tweaking and I haven’t had this Pilsner for ages – caveat emptor!]. 8/10.

Food match: Thai, or Chinese, it’s got that “It-would-go-great-with-Asian-food” feel to it.

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Matilda Bay Bohemian Pilsner

Total Score: 6.1/10 Lemon1  CutGrass1 Coriander1 Stein1

THE GREAT ANZAC PILSNER FACE-OFF!!!

Time for a Pilsner face-off! Two decent Australian (and one Kiwi!) Pilsner’s battle head to head for my admiration, and much like the famous Highlander catchphrase: “There can be only one!” First cab off the rank is Matilda Bay Bohemian Pilsner.

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a 500ml Stein glass.

A: Clear gold body with a bone white head that began at 1.5cm and dropped to a 0.5cm covering… standard stuff really (although the head from a real Czech Pilsner would retain much better). 6/10.

S: Cut grass hops power through some light crystal malts with a herbaceous hint of what’s to come. Not bad at all. 7/10.

T: The crystal malts are quite feathery and take a back seat to the citrus/cut grass hops. There is a spicy and bitter back note which leaves you high and dry (literally dry!) in expecting something else. Nothing extraordinary here. 6/10.

M: Standard carbonation for a Pilsner – slightly creamy and medium bodied. 5/10.

D: Yeah it’s not bad on a hot day but today is not that day for me (it’s all rainy and miserable outside, a great day for a Pilsner face-off). I’m not getting anything unique out of this brew, even though Matilda Bay are quite known for their beer capers this is not one of them. 6/10.

Food match: I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Czech food (check!).

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Kozel Premium

Total Score: 6.75/10 Lemon1 Malt1 Coriander1 PokalStange1

Kozel! This takes me back to Praha: where the women are stunning and beer is cheaper than soft drink! Makes me wonder why I ever left…

Anyway, enough reminiscing, this lovely Pilsner was poured from a 500ml bottle into a 500ml Stein [the correct glass is a Pokal which is the cylindrical vessel pictured above].

A: 2cm head dissipates to a half cm froth (remarkable as few beers actually retain their head like this). The head itself is a pleasing bone white, whilst the body is a nice amber. 6/10.

S: Cut grass, with a malty tone thanks to the crystal malts. Not much else to say – if you want a classic Pilsner go to the Czech Republic – they invented the style and they make enough of it to sate a population of beer drinkers (largest per capita beer drinkers in the world and you can see why). 7/10.

T: Sweet, more so than most beers of this style, with citrus overtones and a nice sharp bitterness (from the Saaz hops) in the finish – classic Pilsner flavours here. The malts also dominate, but in a good way. 7/10.

M: Fairly carbonated, but again completely within the boundaries of the style. Not watery, but not sticky either – this is a well-balanced beer with a slightly dry aftertaste. 5/10.

D: Yes please! I can (and did) drink quite a few of these, there’s nothing to really fault for this beer and it ranks among the favourites I had in the Czech Republic (along with Staropramen, Krušovice and the mighty Krakonos!). 7/10.

Food match: Czech food always goes well – roasted pork, dumplings, paprika, goulash and pickles… closer to home; Thai or Indonesian cuisine is my pick.

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