Sharing my hard work in learning about, brewing and even drinking beer.

I am a beer nerd, homebrewer and hopefully future beer competion judge. I am working my way through sampling, learning about and hopefully brewing all eighty current BJCP beer styles. It's hard work, but somebody has to do it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2A: German Pilsner

Even though Pilsner originated in the Czech Republic (in the city of Plzen), for some reason the Germans are 2A and not the Bohemians. Must be some kind of conspiracy. Today's sampling was of two German Pilsners, Bitburger and Warsteiner and an American German Pilsner, Brooklyn Pilsner. The style guidelines for the pilsner style are very narrow, so there is not a lot of wiggle room within with to express yourself. Pilsner is also the original style that most light-flavored lagers are (however loosely) based upon.

Pilsners are supposed to have a grainy/bready malt character with floral or spicy noble hops. They should be clean, crisp and easy-drinking.

Starting with the Bitburger, the first thing that I noticed was the lack of a head. This style should have a "creamy, long-lasting white head". I got none of that with either the Bitburger or Warsteiner. I'm going to guess that this is more of a handling issue, since these are both imports. There was definitely a light, floral hop aroma to this beer. Interestingly, since I did my research and read the style guideline before tasting, it said that there may be a graham-cracker aroma. Whether that was just stuck in my mind, or it is indicative of the style, I noticed it in all three beers, with Bitburger being the strongest.

Overall, the Warsteiner was the best with a nice floral/herbal hop aroma meshing well with the sweet grainy malt. It also had the cleanest finish. Unfortunately Brooklyn Pilsner did not hold up to its German counterparts. While the floral hop aroma was stronger, the finish was a little too bitter and sulfury. All of these beers would go well at a summer picnic or sporting event, and none were bad, but I would definitely not recommend the Brooklyn Pilsner if the other two were available, especially since they were the same price at my local 6-pack shop.

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