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CBN Pilsner Blind Tasting

CBN Blind Tasting Panel
• Jay R. Brooks, Tasting Panel Director, Cranky Oldster, CBN
• Bob Coleman, Reporter, CBN
• Tom Dalldorf, Editor/Publisher, CBN
• Vic Kralj, Owner, The Bistro, Hayward, Calif.
• Paul Marshall, Beer Judge
• Special thanks to Mike Long, BTP Tasting coordinator/head steward

This is our second tasting of pilsners in as many years. Among American craft brewers, it’s a growing style. It is by far the most popular style of beer consumed worldwide today. Pilsners were first brewed in 1842 in the town of Plzen in Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). That original pilsner style is now often referred to as Bohemian pilsner to differentiate it from a number of distinct variations that have become popular in their own right, usually in specific regions where local ingredients such as hops and water were different. In addition to Bohemian, the Great American Beer Festival recognizes German-style, European-style (aka Continental) and American-style pilsners. While all of these types have distinct differences, in general all pilsners are lagers sharing a gravity very close to 12 degrees Plato, with soft malt character and assertive hops (around 25–45 IBUs). Many pilsners are made with Saaz hops (or, in the case of German pilsners, Hallertau) and are often dry-hopped to give the beer its characteristic balanced dryness.

Lagunitas Czech Style Pils
Lagunitas Brewing Co., California

Light nose of toasty biscuits. Golden color and a light tan head. Rich, spicy hop character with good malt balance and a lingering finish.

Laurelwood Pils
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, Oregon

Rich floral hop aromas and dark golden color. A complex beer with big, chewy malt flavors and major bittering. Creamy, with a long, lingering finish.

Pikeland Pils
Sly Fox Brewing Co., Pennsylvania

Light nose with hints of spice and citrusy fruit. Creamy malt flavors, crisp hop character and good conditioning. Finishes clean, with a nice, warming quality.

Pilsner Urquell
Plzensky Prazdroj, Czech Republic

Clean Saaz hop aromas and bright gold color. Excellent balance, with great classic pilsner character. Very refreshing and delicious. An archetypal pilsner.

Radeberger Pilsner
Radeberger Exportbierbrauerei, Germany

Pleasant pilsner nose with rich malt aromas and herbal hop character. Bright straw-gold color and a white head. Tart, clean flavors with great balance and a clean finish.

Small Craft Warning Uber Pils (Heavy Seas)
Clipper City Brewing Co., Maryland

Strong citrusy hop aromas, bright gold color and a thick, white head. Creamy, rich sweet malt and big hop flavor. Nicely balanced with a long, rich finish.

Spring Brew Specialty Lager
Old Dominion Brewing Co., Virginia

Sweet herbal nose and golden-amber color. Creamy, sweet malt up front with a big, bitter hop bite and a long, lingering finish that fades slowly.

Trumer Pils
Trumer Brauerei Berkeley, California

Signature Saaz nose with hints of spices. Golden straw color. Creamy, crisp and tart with excellent balance throughout and a clean finish.

Veltins Pilsener
Brauerei C & A Veltins, Germany

Sweet malt aromas with good herbal notes. Yellow-gold straw color. Creamy, with great tart hop flavor and a long, rich finish. Well balanced.

Czech Out Time Imperial Pils
Firehouse Brewing Co., California

Hoppy herbal nose and golden-orange color. A simple beer of big, bitter hops and rich, full malt flavors, with strong alcohol evident throughout.

Czechvar Premium Czech Lager
Brewery B.B.N.P., Czech Republic

Sweet notes with good hop aromas. Bright golden color. Soft and uncomplicated with sweet malt flavors and a clean finish.

New Glarus Brewing Co., Wisconsin

Lightly sweet malt nose and dark gold color. Soft, sweet flavors and good balance with subtle hop character and a clean finish.

Huntsman's Lager
Jack Russell Brewing Co., California

Clean, lightly hopped nose. Golden-yellow color and pillowy white head. Well-hopped, with clean flavors and a sweet finish.

Prima Pils
Victory Brewing Co., Pennsylvania

Alpha hop nose with spicy notes. Bright gold color. Creamy, with good mouthfeel and big hop character mid-taste that continues through the long, lingering finish.

Scrimshaw Pilsner Style Beer
North Coast Brewing Co., California

Light malt nose with a hint of orange blossom. Bright golden color. Creamy and delicious with a rich mouthfeel. "The chardonnay of pilsners," said one taster.

Special Pilsner
Capital Brewery, Wisconsin

Clean herbal nose and golden-yellow color. Creamy, with medium body, a little sweetness, good balance and a clean finish.

Stoudt's Pils
Stoudt’s Brewing Co., Pennsylvania

Modest pilsner nose with hints of citrus and smoke. Light straw color. Delicate malt flavors and good bittering hop character. Some creaminess and a very tart, bitter finish.

Sudwerk Pilsner
Privatbrauerei Sudwerk Hübsch, California

Clean pilsner aromas with sweet, herbal notes. Bright yellow color. Creamy and well-balanced, with tart bittering and a clean, sweet finish.

Tinkov Russian Pilsner
Tinkov & Co., Russia

Light nose with floral notes and hints of vanilla and nuts. Dark golden color with a thick, white head. Creamy flavors, medium hop character and a lingering, dry finish.

Zatec Pilsner
Drake’s Brewing Co., California

Sweet malt aromas with herbal notes. Light straw color. Creamy and tart but well balanced with hot, spicy notes and a clean, dry finish.

Legend Pilsner
Legend Brewing Co., Virginia

Sweet malt nose with herbal notes. Dark golden color. Rich, sweet malt character with a good mouthfeel and lingering finish.

Organic Ur Pils
Brauerei Pinkus Müller, Germany

Light, clean nose and cloudy gold color. Fruity and herbal with ciderlike characteristics. Clean taste, but ultimately a little hollow.


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