For years, big brewers have tried to convince us that their watered-down, fizzy yellow beer (to borrow a phrase from Stone’s Greg Koch) is Pilsener. Thankfully, more American brewers are releasing their own takes on the crisp, satisfying style.
Firestone Walker’s Pivo Hoppy Pils is the first beer I’d hand to any craft-beer lover who “doesn’t drink Pilsener.” Brewer Matt Brynildson drew on inspiration from fresh German Pilseners and Birrificio Italiano’s legendary Tipopils, but used dry-hopping to add an extra level of aroma and flavor. German hops provide the signature floral and grassy character, which are cranked up enough to keep the hopheads happy but not so far to be out of balance with the bready German malt.
Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils. firestonebeer.com. $11-$12 per six-pack of 12-ounce cans or bottles.
If you like this, try another American Pilsener:
Victory Prima Pils or Braumeister Pils : Victory has been a trailblazer in the American Pilsener scene. Prima Pils, first brewed in 1996, was one of the first Pilseners to be aggressively loaded with traditional German hops, and it remains one of the most enjoyable Pilseners on this side of the Atlantic. Draft-only Braumeister is harder to find, but is a choice of connoisseurs, because each batch is made with a single hop variety, like Tettnanger Tettnang or Spalt Select.
Creature Comforts Bibo Pilsner : The Georgia brewery’s take on a New World Pilsener uses Motueka hops from New Zealand to add pineapple to the lemon and cracked-pepper notes of a traditional Pilsener.
Founders PC Pils : The newest seasonal from Founders is packed with flavors you’d expect to find in an IPA, notably pine and grapefruit pith, with the minerality and softer mouthfeel of a Pilsener.