Life

These Crisp Pilsners Capture The Essence Of The Season

Recent trends in the craft brewing world seem to signal two paths, each leading in completely different directions. The first path began with the West Coast IPA and has slowly wound its way into the world of New England-style IPAs, milkshake IPAs, and fruit-filled, tangy sour beers. These over-the-top, ingredients-packed brews appeal to one segment of the beer-drinking population. The other path — which originated with classic, European-style lagers and pilsners — has led to a resurgence of crisp, bright, easy-drinking, minimal ingredient craft brews.

There’s a place for both types of beer, as you can quickly tell when visiting any craft brewery or perusing the aisles of your local beer store. But while we enjoy a hazy, juicy IPA most any time of year and we’re definitely champions of the tart, tangy fruit-forward goses, today we want to celebrate the perfection that is the crisp, light, thirst-quenching, easy to drink pilsner.

Below, you’ll find ten of our favorite pilsners to capture the feel of spring. Of course, there’s never a wrong time to enjoy a classic, subtle, full-bodied pilsner, either. So feel free to carry these picks on to Summer, too.

Victory Prima Pils

Victory

ABV: 5.3%

Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

If you didn’t know it, “prima!” is a German exclamation. This beer is so named because taking a sip of this German-style pilsner — with its German malts and European hops — will make you very happy. It’s light, sweet, and very refreshing.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of fresh grass, sweet malts, and slight caramel. The palate is filled with sweet corn, cereal, and subtly floral notes. The finish is subtly herbal, bright, and incredibly crisp.

Bottom Line:

While you can’t go wrong with any of the beers on this list, Victory’s flagship beer is the perfect starting point — light but filled with refreshing flavor.

Live Oak Pilz

Live Oak

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $8 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This sessionable Bohemian-style pilsner is brewed with Moravian malts and Saaz hops. The result is a complex, thirst-quenching ale highlighting a nice combination of sweet malts and subtly bitter, spicy hops.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to breathe in the aromas of noble hops, juicy pear, and citrus peels. With one sip you’ll be transported to a world of light grass, sweet corn, and rich grains. It all ends with a nice, subtle, spicy hop backbone that ties the brew together.

Bottom Line:

Austin is a beer-lovers dream come true and Live Oak’s Pilz is one of the best, freshest-tasting beers in the city.

Jack’s Abby Post Shift

Jack

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

If you’re a fan of lagers and pilsner, you’re probably already a fan of Jack’s Abby. If somehow you haven’t tried it yet, Jack’s Abby Post Shift Pilsner is brewed using only Bavarian-grown hops and malts. The result is a vibrant, easy-to-drink beer well-suited for equally crisp spring nights.

Tasting Notes:

Give this beer a good nosing and you’ll find scents of citrus zest, aromatic noble hops, and just a hint of bready malt sweetness. On the palate, you’ll find flavors of biscuit cookies, sweet malts, and corn. The final flourish is subtly bitter, with a pleasant floral hops presence.

Bottom Line:

We can’t think of a more aptly-named beer. If you’re looking for a low-ABV, post-shift brew, you can’t do any better than this offering from Jack’s Abby.

Creature Comforts Bibo

Creature Comforts

ABV: 4.9%

Average Price: $9 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Named after Albert Einstein’s parrot, this year-round offering from Athens, Georgia’s Creature Comforts is a Noble hop-based pilsner well-known for its clean, dry profile. Made in the German-style, it’s complex, classic, and full-flavored.

Tasting Notes:

This beer’s aroma is a symphony of sweet grains, toasted caramel, and floral hops. Every sip is bursting with rich malts, corn sweetness, and warm bready notes. The last gulp is gentle, subtly bitter, and filled with spicy hops.

Bottom Line:

Bibo is the kind of beer we like to drink after an afternoon in the sun, mowing the lawn, or simply sitting in a lawn chair in the middle of our yards.

Russian River STS

Russian River

ABV: 5.35%

Average Price: $5.99 for a 16-ounce can

The Beer:

Russian River is one of the most well-known breweries in the craft beer world, famous for such iconic brews as Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. But the brewery’s STS Pils (named after the 3-letter code for the Sonoma County Airport) is a favorite of ours — presenting a nice mix of classic and contemporary styles.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find notes of sweet yeast, zesty hops, and floral aromas. The sip presents flavors of subtle piney hops, sweet cereal notes, bready malts, and caramel. The finish is pleasingly bitter and dry.

Bottom Line:

If you’ve already tried the other Russian River offerings, grab a bottle of STS. You definitely won’t regret your decision.

Drake’s Flyway Pils

Drake

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Drake’s Flyaway Pils is different from some of the other pilsners on the market. It’s brewed in the style popular in Northern Germany and has higher hop flavors and a very dry finish. While brewed with German pilsner malt, this beer gets extra flavor for the use of flaked maize.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to breathe in the aromas of floral, Noble hops, caramel corn, and subtle spice. On the palate, you’ll find hints of sweet corn, tropical fruits, and toffee. It all ends with a simple, clean, bright, and pleasantly dry finish.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a different take on the classic pilsner style, make sure you find a spot in your fridge for a sixer of Drake’s Flyway Pils.

Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Oskar Blues

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Oskar Blues set out to make a beer that was refreshing, sweet, and easy to drink without needing to use corn or rice. Instead, this Bavarian-style pilsner is brewed with pilsner and honey malt as well as Saaz and Aramis hops.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be greeted with aromas of floral hops, sweet, bready malts, and subtle, herbal fragrances. Notes of roasted malts, fresh bread, sticky toffee, and caramel corn dominate on the palate. A nice mix of sweetness and subtle citrus hops finishes it all off with a flourish.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the most crushable, full-flavored pilsners on the market. Bonus points because you can buy it pretty much everywhere.

pFriem Pilsner

pFriem

ABV: 4.9%

Average Price: $5.99 for a 500ml bottle

The Beer:

While based on the classic, Bohemian-style pilsner, this beer is full-on West Coast in flavor and appearance. Made with Gambrinus & Weyermann German Pilsner, Cara Foam, and Acidulated malts, as well as Perle, Saphir, Tettnang, and Spalt Select, this is a hoppy, fresh, vibrant pilsner that plays by its own rules.

Tasting Notes:

Spend a few moments giving this beer a good nosing and you’ll find aromas of orange peels, fresh-cut grass, and a nice, sweet, floral background. Take a few gulps and you’ll find sweet honey, rich caramel, and bready malts. The finish is crisp, refreshing, with just a hint of spice.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of hoppy, floral pilsners, this is the perfect choice for you. It’s loaded with fresh, aromatic hops.

Threes Vliet

Threes Brewing

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $14 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

Threes is one of the most popular, highly-rated New York City breweries. Its pilsner (Vliet) is brewed to taste like classic, German-style pilsners with its use of German Pilsner malt as well as Spalter and Saaz hops.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be treated to scents of fresh hay, floral hops, and sweet, sugary biscuits. The taste is sweet, biscuity, and full of caramel sweetness. The finish is slight, piney, and pleasantly floral.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to authenticity, Threes has it down to a science. This might be brewed in Brooklyn, but if close your eyes and take a sip, you’ll be transported to the German countryside on a warm evening.

Firestone Walker Pivo

Firestone Walker

ABV: 5.3%

Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

California’s Firestone Walker is known for its industry-changing beers. Its pilsner is no different. It gets its flavor from a cacophony of hops including Spalter Select, Tradition, Saphir, and features dry-hopping with more Saphir hops as well as Pilsner and Carafoam malts.

Tasting Notes:

Before you sip, take a moment to breathe in the aromas of floral hops, roasted malts, and spruce tips. Take a sip and you’ll find fresh cut grass, noble hops, resinous pine, and sweet cereal grains. The finish is mellow, crisp, and subtly dry.

Bottom Line:

Dry-hopping makes this one of the most floral, piney, hop-fueled pilsners on the market. It offers a great bridge for fans of IPAS.

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