2005 | REVIEWS | BLIND BEER TASTINGS
CBN Pilsner Blind Tasting
CBN Blind Tasting Panel
• Jay R. Brooks, Tasting Panel Director, Cranky Oldster,
• 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
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 & 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.
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,
Legend Brewing Co., Virginia
Sweet malt nose with herbal notes. Dark golden color. Rich,
sweet malt character with a good mouthfeel and lingering finish.
Brauerei Pinkus Müller, Germany
Light, clean nose and cloudy gold color. Fruity and herbal
with ciderlike characteristics. Clean taste, but ultimately
a little hollow.