Monday, February 13, 2006

Wo ist das gute amerikanische Pilsner, bitte?

The wife brought home a bottle of Left Hand Polestar Pilsner (link is a pdf), which was nice, because I was in a pilsner-drinking mood.

It's not exactly a complex feast for the senses, but it was an attractive (pale straw with excellent head retention all the way down the glass), clean, grainy, easy-drinking pils, with a nice grassy aroma and mild Saaz bitterness. Which is to say, exactly like a good German pilsner.

This got me thinking that I don't know of very many American beers that would fall into this category. I'm a huge fan of the style, and tend to buy quite a lot of the more reasonably-priced German imports in the spring, especially. But I'd rather give my business to American brewers, if the product is just as good. (Nothing against the Germans, mind you, but I don't think their brewers really need my help.)

I figure I might not be that familiar with the American-produced, German-style pilsner scene for any number of reasons, among them:

1) I've just been lazy, and going straight for the German imports.
2) Microbreweries in the US (and especially in the west) are definitely more geared towards producing ales than there might not actually be that many easily available in these parts.
3) American micros might not bother so much with lagers, because the American market is already so saturated with mass-produced lagers (never mind that these tend to be incredibly inferior products)...i.e., micro ales are in less direct competetion with macro lagers.

Anyway, all of the above (well, with the exception of #1) is pure speculation on my part. Any opinions (or better yet, information) on these would be welcome.

More welcome are suggestions of good German-style pilsners made in the U.S.A. Polestar will definitely be going into my regular rotation, but I'm always happy to find more.


  • At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    has a couple of american pilsners listed,



  • At 5:57 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    Yeah...I looked around BA a bit after posting. It actually mostly confirmed what I thought: there aren't a lot of American examples of the style that are sold around here. Most of them seem to come from Pennsylvania (which makes sense, given the historical German influence there).

    I'd forgotten about Tumer, which is made in Berkley, and available here. Not bad, but not great. I like the Left Hand better.

    Some others, as has been noted on BA, like Brooklyn Pilsner and Blue Paddle from New Belgium, are decent, but aren't quite as impressive as the German brews...especially in the head retention department, which I find has a lot to do with enhancing the sublties of the hop aroma.

  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    Um, Trumer, that is...and even that is actually an Austrian brewery that also has an operation in California.


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