Buxton/Omnipollo Original Popsicle Ice Cream Pils

Total Score: 8.4/10 PapayaMango1Vanilla1Flowers1Tulipglass1

Brewed in collaboration with Buxton Brewery in England, I have in front of me yet another ice cream beer. I’m hooked on these ice cream beers – just seeing them triggers a Pavlovian response, I must try them all! This time Buxton/Omnipollo state: “An icecreamification of a pilsner and attempt to bend your mind. Brewed with mango, milk sugar and our favourite hops.” I’m really not sure what mad-science goes on in those breweries to produce such insane beers, but whatever they’re doing it’s working – I’m hooked and want more (even ended up buying a couple more bottles of the Original Ice Cream Pale after reviewing it)… I’ve got goose bumps pouring this Popsicle Pils into my Duvel tulip, yes, I need to get a life.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Nice Jonquil-coloured cloudy body with a thin white head that quickly drops back to lace splotches on top. That colour is great – that light cloudy yellow is so appealing for some reason. 8/10.

S: Freaking nailed it! What a smashing aroma: sweet/creamy vanilla with hints of mango, jack-fruit and floral notes. Is this a Pilsner in any sense of the word? Not really no. Do I care in the slightest? Hell no! This is the Buxton/Omnipollo Ice Cream beer collaboration at it’s greatest: a total disregard of beer styles for the sake of an awesome dessert brew, and I love it. 10/10.

T: Intriguingly not as crazy as I was expecting (or as Original Ice Cream Pale was) with a prominent mango note upfront, less sweet/creamy vanilla than expected, potpourri character, a slight grainy wisp, a touch of herbal character, and a long dry finish with hints of bitterness. Much less sweet than the aroma (and my prior experience of Omnipollo as a brewer) would leave me to believe. Still it’s an interesting brew, and it gets better as it warms, I was just expecting a bit more of that ice cream sweetness – more dessert, less refreshing crispness. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a fairly creamy carbonation and a bit of fizz. 8/10.

D: Not the best in this series, but nonetheless a decent brew. I thought Original Ice Cream Pale was a bit one of a kind and this proves it to some extent. Makes me wonder if the difference between Ales and Lagers is at play here – Ales are generally more sweet and full flavoured, was the yeast the reason for Popsicle not popping with me? Only Buxton and Omnipollo know… 8/10.

Food match: Chicken dishes with thyme and lemon spring to mind.


Prancing Pony Indie Kid Pilsener

Total Score: 6.7/10 Lemon1GreenApple1Barley1Stein1

The latest brew from Prancing Pony is a celebration of their continued independence. Which is something quite apt when recently both 4 Pines and Feral were bought out by AB InBev and Coca Cola respectively. These days it seems like it’s only a matter of time before all the independent craft brewers are bought out by macros, which makes me sad (not so much about 4 Pines as they lost their touch a while back, but Feral being bought out is a massive hit to me). So what’s this Indie Kid all about? The label explains: “Daringly brewed with non-traditional hops, a blend of old and new world. Subtle citrus, fruity and herbal aromas. Something new, the Indie Kid we’ve all been rooting for.” Huh, sounds a’iight.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Slight hazed, yellow-gold coloured body with a decent inch high white head that eventually drops back to a thin lace blanket. Certainly looks like a Pilsner (oh yeah I spell it Pilsner, which is the original historical spelling – sorry Prancing Pony). 7/10.

S: Lemony, with a grainy note and some slight crisp green apple overtones. Smells like the classic Aussie take on a Pilsner, which involves being ultra-crisp, wheaty, watery and bland – unlike a proper decent Euro Pilsner (at least the stuff coming from brewers like Weihenstephan and Kozel). 5/10.

T: Thankfully tastes alright though… very lemony, but I guess that was what they were going for. Other noted flavours are: Crisp green apple, grain, dry cracker and a touch of a herbal note towards the finish, which is dry and medium bitter given the style. There is a bit of cloying in the aftertaste too – surprising for an Aussie Pilsner – it’s not nearly as crisp as other Aussie Pilsners, it is quite the mix of old and new world then [shock/horror – a beer that actually does some of what the label describes!]. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, decent amount of body for a 4.8% ABV Aussie Lager (please continue this trend Aussie Lager brewers!) with a medium carbonation… so a little bit gassy, not OTT though. 8/10.

D: Bit of a pleasant surprise here – when I whiffed it I thought “not another crappy Aussie take on a Pilsner” however this one came up trumps in the end. It’s lemony, and the sweet/bitter balance is well handled. It’s not that exciting though, and we all know Prancing Pony have better cards up their sleeves, but it’s also not bad by any stretch of the imagination, maybe a touch prosaic. 7/10.

Food match: Fried haloumi with a lamb souvlaki wrap.


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.


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.


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!


Mac’s Hop Rocker Pilsener

Total Score: 7.85/10 Nut1 Earth1 Coriander1 Stein1


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 😉


James Squire Original Pilsener

Total Score: 7.2/10 Malt1 Grapefruit1 CutGrass1 Stein1


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.