Vigilante Brewing Company – Pretentious Hopster update

There is a chance I’m making too many presumptions, but I trust everyone remembers that Vigilante Brewing Co is my own name for my very new homebrewing company I started just a little while ago.  Maybe there will come a time when I don’t feel the need to tell everyone who Vigilante is, but I really don’t foresee that time coming very soon.  So far I have only really brewed one complete beer: Happy Amber Anniversary.  However, I am currently a little ways into getting my second concoction into bottles.  Even though I’ve gone through this process once, I realized approaching bottling time that I have a few questions regarding some of the things I will need to do when bottling this one.  I’m hoping I can get a good idea of how I should go about finishing off this brew.

Question 1: What is the best way to filter the beer when moving it from the secondary to the bottling bucket?  This is really the biggest question I have.  This beer has more sediment in it than my previous bottle.  Plus, I had to dry hop this one, so it contains even more hops floating around in the secondary.  I’m trying to figure how best to make sure all of that junk doesn’t get into the bottles.  I was thinking of making some type of filter at the end of the tube with cheesecloth or something, but I’m not sure if that is the best way to go about it.  I’m also concerned about getting to much air in the beer when trying to filter it.  What are some methods that have worked well for some other people before?  I just want to produce the best beer possible.

Question 2: What is the best way to clean used bottles?  The bottles I used last time had never had liquid in them.  Therefore, I used the dishwashing machine, without soap, to sanitize them.  I read somewhere that the heat cycle can be used to sanitize the bottles.  This time, however, I’m concerned that I need to also clean out all of the garbage that may still be in the bottles.  I rinsed the bottles after using them, but I am sure that are still things in there that need to get cleaned out.  How do I make sure I get everything out?  Also, along the same lines, how do I best get the labels off the bottle?  I have some ideas for this one, but I want to see if there is something I haven’t thought of.

Questions 3: Why do I have to add a second batch of yeast three days before I bottle?  The previous batch I made sent you all of the ingredients and you just pieced them together.  This time I’m following a recipe and buying all the ingredients myself.  It’s really essentially the same thing, but there are different instructions to follow that I didn’t need to do the last time.  Is there anything I should keep in mind adding a second batch of yeast, and should I be concerned about any additional stuff to filter out adding the second batch?  I’m not sure why I’m a little worried about screwing this batch up.  I think it’s because I paid for all of these ingredients this time, and I feel like it’s kind of more my baby!

I think this covers all the questions I have about my upcoming brew.  I want to make sure it’s amazing, and I’m most worried about getting a lot of sediment in the bottles. Any advice you have for me will be appreciated, so I hope I get some good feedback. Help Vigilante Brewing Co become the next best thing in Washington DC!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co – Hoptimum Imperial IPA

I really debated doing this review today.  I was thinking of saving this beer for Friday all week, but I was beat to the punch earlier this week by another beer blogger.  While variety is the spice of life, I can also say I don’t want to step on any toes while doing my review either.  Plus, I always do my tasting for the Friday review on Wednesday, which means I already knew he had tasted and reviewed it before I ever even got the beer out of the fridge.  So, I must say that if you want a second opinion on this brew, you need to go check out my fellow comrades review of it as well.  He inserts far more humor anyway which some of you may appreciate.

Anyway, I have a little confession to make with this beer.  I thought I would love it before ever buying it.  I probably broke some unwritten rule of beer geekdome last year when I bought a sweatshirt bearing the image from this bottle without ever having actually tasted it before.  I was just getting into my blog here, and I wanted to pick up some nice glassware.  So, I started checking out different brewer’s sites.  Eventually I bought a cheap tulip glass from Sierra Nevada, but I couldn’t only order that.  I also ended up throwing in a Hoptimum sweatshirt.  Thus, I have been patiently waiting for the release of this beer this year.  I always feel like a copout when I wear a beer paraphernalia that I haven’t actually ever had.  I can’t exactly answer people’s questions if I’ve never had it.  I just tell people it’s good and they should try it.

Hoptimum is an interesting beer for a number of different reasons.  First of all it is supposedly a 100 IBU beer.  If you really don’t know about IBUs at all, I can tell you that it is supposed to be really bitter.  Secondly, it is considered a whole-cone imperial IPA.  Most of the time, with hops, you get these little pellets that are essentially the hops broken down into a bitter little pill.  Whole-cone is using the entire hop itself in the process.  If you look at the label you’ll get an idea of what a whole-cone would look like.  Apparently, torpedoing a beer means you are able to  harness the essential oils and resins in hops without really pulling out the big bitterness that lies in there as well.  I’m thinking this is where the ample tang comes from.  From what I’ve read, it works like a hop espresso machine.  This is essentially another step they take in the dry-hopping process.

This beer pours out a really nice looking orangey amber color.  There is definitely some amble amount of fluffy white head that develops on top of the beer as well.  The beer has some amazing clarity to it.  I’m pretty jealous because I’m worried my beer won’t be quite so clear in the end.  You do see some really light carbonation in the beer for sure.  I always find it interesting how you can see one little strand of carbonation in the beer.  Although there is really light carbonation in the beer, you really don’t see much lacing on the side of the glass.  You get a little bit of sticky residue on the side, but you really don’t see a whole lot on the glass at all.

The beer has some really deep hop earthiness to it for sure.  While the hops definitely dominate the aroma of the beer, but you certainly get a lot of the sweet malts in there as well.  Interestingly, it doesn’t say that there is honey in the brew at all, but I feel like I get some similar sweetness to the Hopslam that I enjoy so much.  There is obviously a lot of grapefruit and citrus in there as well.  The grapefruit is huge here.  The tangy quality is pretty apparent on the smell as well, and you get a little slight spicy quality in there as well.

I’m really hoping my imperial IPA has these big hop flavors, but that it ends up being as well-balanced as this one is as well.  You get a lot of really quick sweet malts.  The malts have a very short period of time to flourish before the hops come in.  The hops have some huge pine flavor at the start, but they eventually start to move to a lot of tangy flavoring.  I love tang in a good imperial IPA for sure.  The tang manages to combine with a lot of grapefruit.  There is a slight bitter bite from the hops after the tang that manage to combine with the a little bit of light spiciness.  I did have some horseradish for dinner, but I don’t think that’s where the spice came from.  The beer ends with a lot of hops, some light pine, and a little sticky sweetness.

The carbonation is definitely present at the start of the taste; however, it dissipates pretty quickly as the beer is given the ability to warm. Thus, the beer ends up with some ample syrup quality overall on the mouthfeel.  The tang makes the beer feel slightly thicker than it really is; however, the ample amount of hops keep it somewhat fresh.  This beer is definitely not for those who don’t like hops.

Ultimately I love this particular beer from Sierra Nevada.  Maybe I’m just taking it easy on them, but it meets all of the needs I have for an imperial IPA. Sierra Nevada ends up in that kind of craft beer brewer category that Sam Adams fits into as well.  I’ve always loved the big hop qualities you get out of Sierra Nevada.  I’m just glad they put something together for the beer geeks.

Teacher Grade: A

Top 5 Breweries

A little while ago I saw a few different beer bloggers talk about their go-to list of breweries.  These were breweries they were guaranteed to buy from or look at every time they went to the beer store.  I’m not sure why, but I never ended up doing my own list of go-to breweries at that time. So, since I don’t have a music review ready for today (which is what I typically try to get done for most Thursdays), I figured I’d give you a little info on the breweries I am guaranteed to look at when I head to the store on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.  As I’ve said before, I get weekly updates on all of the new things that are coming into the store.  Of course, I love to fill my basket, and yes I do at times walk around with a basket to fill, full of new and exciting beers.  However, I can’t help looking at what is available from my top five.  I don’t always pick up something from these breweries every week.  Sometimes I can go weeks without drinking anything from them, but I always seem to be most interested in them.

These breweries have done one thing to earn a special place in the brewery section of my heart: they are consistent.  I wouldn’t say I’ve never had a bad beer or beer I didn’t like from them, but I would say they get it right nine times out of ten.  For most of these breweries, I have tried just about everything in their regular line-up, and I have enjoy most if not all of the beers you can get standard from them.  They release interesting and enticing special brews that keep me consistently interested in what they are doing.  Plus, I know I can always turn to them on a slow release week.

Stone Brewing Company – I don’t think I’m putting these in any particular order, but I want to start with Stone because I seem to always have something from them in my fridge.  I love their regular line-up.  They have some great in your face IPAs, and they manage to head in the completely other direction with rich malts and coffee flavors as well.  My favorite beer from last year was their 15 year release.  I actually still have a bottle that I think I’ll be opening this weekend, and I have been thinking about it all week.  They are collaborating machines as well.  It’s quite impressive how they consistently collaborate with breweries from all over the country.  I think I check them out every week because I manage to forget how amazing some of their regular releases are.  I spend so much time picking up their collaborations that I forget their line-up is still awesome.  Plus I’m paying homage to them with my next release: Pretentious Hopster.

Founders Brewing Company – If you have read my blog before, you’ll know I end up reviewing a lot of different beers out of Founders.  I think they tend to be one of my favorite because they have some of the biggest and most flavorful beers that are out there.  There is one beer that put me over the top on them.  I of course enjoy their stouts.  Imperial, Breakfast, Canadian Breakfast, and Kentucky Breakfast are awesome beers; however, it was the Devil Dancer that really caught my eye.  While I love big coffee and roasted notes, I will always come back to big hops in the end.  Devil Dancer is a big triple IPA, and it will have you wondering how they managed to get the beer to smell and taste so herbal.  Unlike Stone, I don’t really remember consuming a lot of their standard line-up.  I think I instead manage to consume most of their specials most of the time.

Dogfish Head Brewing Company – I know people who have read my reviews will be confused here.  Doesn’t he talk smack about Dogfish all the time?  It is always done out of love!  I want to love everything I get from them.  Before succumbing to my inner beer geek, Dogfish was my bread and butter.  Then, after fully investing myself in analyzing and brewing beer, I have found myself frustrated by them so many times.  They push boundaries!  No one is going to deny that; however, I can’t give them props for a lot of what they do.  They use ingredients I don’t care about, and they focus on things that just don’t matter to me.  Read beer gimmicks from earlier this week.  In the end, I love a lot of the standard brews they do, and they do produce some good specialty brews once in a while too.  I mean, if I appreciate Stone for producing so many new and specialty brews, then I definitely need to give a big thumbs up to Dogfish for their ability to always try new things too.

Mikkeller Brewing Company – Mikkeller is a newer addition to this list, but they are quickly becoming one of biggest favorites.  They are sure to surpass one of these breweries above them if I keep trying different amazing beers from them.  There is more of a combination reason why I love this brewery.  They produce amazing beer, and they have a great way of producing it.  I’ve talked about it before.  They are the gypsies of the beer industry.  They travel all around both Europe and America using other breweries equipment to produce crazy incredible beer.  I can’t say I love their specialty beers or their traditional line-up because it seems like they are always producing something new, and I can only find a handful of their stuff here and there.  But, they got me to enjoy a pilsner, and I always look for their stuff at the store, so they get a place in the line-up.

DC Brau – I have to give the hometown heroes a place on this list.  I know most people on this list won’t have had anything from
this brewery, but I promise you they are a good brewery that I hope you get a chance to try in the future.  They have only been around for a year, and they have managed to produce their three brews in their main line-up and quite a few different collaborations and special releases.  Where I love the other breweries for particular aspects of their brewery or brews, I love just about everything from this brewery.  I love the heart, the passion, the beer, and the drive.  Thankfully they aren’t just a brewery coming out of DC, but they are a great brewery coming out of DC.  They produce great beer, and I can’t wait to see what they have on tap next.

So there you have it!  Some of these breweries are available near you, and I’m sure a few of them are much harder to find.  What are some of your favorite breweries?  I would love to find out about one or two I haven’t even tried yet!

21st Amendment Brewing Co – Allies Win the War!

It’s actually been a few months since I sat down to do a review of a beer produced by 21st Amendment.  I have probably reviewed most of the items they have in their line-up right now.  I can’t help it!  I have different breweries I tend to gravitate towards when I go to the beer store.  I get an email once a week, and random Facebook updates during the week, of things that will be available at the beer store on Saturday.  The Facebook emails give me an idea of what rare things will be there.  Every time I get suckered into the same breweries.  In a way I feel bad about it.  I don’t want to throw Stone, Dogfish Head, Mikkeller, and other major brewery reviews up here all the time, but I can’t stop myself.  As I speak, I still have a Stone to review and a Dogfish Head collaboration to review.  So, while I try to keep the variety up here, I do tend to repeat a lot of the same breweries.  I guess that bodes well for those breweries.  Even if I don’t adore what they have produced every time, they at least got me to buy a bottle.

While I’m apt to buy certain breweries concoctions pretty often, I am definitely guaranteed to purchase collaborations all the time.  I almost don’t need to know about the breweries at all.  I hear collaboration and I interpret that to mean rare.  This isn’t always true.  I can go to the beer store week in and week out and see the same brews sitting on the shelf that I jumped at right away.  Regardless, they manage to hook me right away.  This particular brewery collaboration is with Ninkasi Brewing Company.  I have become quite frustrated with Ninkasi as of late.  It’s not that they brewed something I didn’t like.  It’s that I can’t find them anywhere in the Washington DC area.  Thankfully, I have a visit from brother this weekend who lives in Astoria Oregon.  He has agreed to check a bag so he can bring me a couple of beers, and I have requested Ninkasi to be on the list.  Fingers crossed!

This beer is considered an English-style strong ale brewed with dates and all Northwestern aroma hops.  The style gets me slightly worried before even consuming it.  I tend to not enjoy English style beers.  If anything, I think I may need to look into giving them a really fair chance.  Regardless, it is the names on the can that got me interested.

This one pours out a dark brown color with a little reddish hue in it as well.  There are lots of nice fluffy brown head that develops on top of the beer.  I didn’t really think it would be quite as ample as it ended up being.  When I think of an English style ale I tend to think of something that is void of carbonation.  Like I said earlier, I think I need to give this style a little bit more of a chance.  When you hold the beer to the light you can actually see through it, so it seems like it has pretty good clarity for a really dark beer.  You also can actually see the carbonation in it as well.  Swirling the glass results in a ton of lacing, but it doesn’t have much sticky residue left over at all.

The beer has a very sweet aroma to it for sure.  You can pull out lot of sweet caramel dark malts.  It has an almost sticky sweet aroma to it overall.  You can definitely smell the rich dark fruits.  There are a lot of fig and raisin aromas that come out of here.  There is a little surprising coffee aroma that I wasn’t quite expecting.  You can also pull out some really slight hops as well.

I was quite pleased with the well-balanced flavors.  The malts definitely overpower the hops in the flavor profile.  You get some really big sweet flavors at the start of the beer.  The malts have a kind of rich caramel and molasses quality to them.  As the malts invade your palate, you get a big surprising hit of a little bit of clove and yeast.  I typically expect to get this more out of Belgian beers, but I like the little spicy addition here.  It’s light, but it is there.  The hops come in closer to the end of the flavor profile.  The fig, dates, and raisin flavor comes in at the end of the tasting.  It is definitely ample, and it mixes with some really soft roasted coffee notes.  Some of these flavors sound a little bizarre to put together, but I promise they somehow blend well.

The mouthfeel is pretty syrupy overall.  You get some big carbonation and yeast in the middle to help mellow out the syrup in the middle, but it comes right back in for the finish.  All of the flavors work really well together, so you don’t really have any lingering off tastes to throw you off.  I also appreciated the slight warming quality it had.  It was nice for the chillier weather we have had lately.

21st Amendment hasn’t really managed to disappoint me yet, and while I do really like this beer, I wouldn’t say it’s at the top of their line-up for me.  I couldn’t imagine having too many of these, but I think one every once in a while is great.  If nothing else, it has inspired me to give some English beers another chance.  I think this collaboration is still available, so you should check it out if you happen to come across it.  You’ll be happy you did.

Teacher Grade: B+

Beer Gimmicks

Having worked in retail, I understand you try to find different ways to get people to be interested in your products.  Although some of them are quite useful to people, I also understand that a lot of these things are gimmicks designed to make people feel like they can’t live without it.  The home shopping industry is filled with these types of inventions.  We even have people who become millionaires being pitchmen.  The beer industry is no stranger to this.  They also find ways to get you to believe that their product is the best; however, they also come up with crazy inventions designed to get you believing that your consumption experience will only be heightened through the use of special designed products.  These can be as simple as the beer koozie, or they can move right up to glassware and other specialty items.  Here you’ll find a few examples of things people just can’t live without if you’re going to be a true beer drinker (please sense the sarcasm there)!

Specialty bottles and cans:  This is basically a big one for the big beer industry.  Those involved in the consumption of craft beer understand that you will most likely be pouring the beer into some type of specialty glass (more on that later).  The macro-breweries, however, have attempted to figure out ways to get you to pour beer down your gullet as fast as possible.  Miller Lite has the vortex bottle. As far as I can tell, and yes I have experienced the specialty swirling action, the vortex bottle adds nothing to the actual beer consumption experience.  The beer experiences no benefit from a bottle that probably costs slightly more to produce.  Coors Light may be the biggest culprit of gimmicks.  They have cold activated cans and labels, wide mouth cans, and even vented wide mouth cans.  Evidently, they don’t believe people can tell if a beer is cold through the use of any other sense other than their eyes, and everyone wants the ability to chug a beer in under 3.5 seconds to feel like their life is complete.  While I’m sure these are marketed to a slightly younger crowed, let’s not pretend you don’t have some 40-50 year old rooting through coolers to find blue mountains and wide-mouth vented cans for their slow pitch softball game.  Heineken even makes their beer cans in the shape of kegs.  Perhaps it is a slightly more sophisticated version, but it is still a gimmick none-the-less.

Specialty glasses: Here we have a major culprit of the craft beer industry; although, there are macro-breweries that get in on the act as well.  There is a commercial out right now that shows the way in which a Stella glass is created.  I find it funny how you have hot women blowing the gold rim cool as it exists the production line and straight into the bartender’s hand.  As if Stella couldn’t be enjoyed in a single other glass.  Chimay has their own goblets that make it seem like a sin to enjoy out of any other vessel, and it would seem nearly every brewery stamps their label on some fancy tulip glass to get you to buy it.  I understand the logic.  You’re going to pour the beer into a glass, so why not pour it into one the brewery claims will enhance the flavor.  Most of the time, however, the glass offers very little difference from the typical stemmed tulip or goblet shaped glass you can buy at Ikea or Crate and Barrel.  I think the biggest and most obvious culprit in the specialty glass realm is the Sam Adams Lager Glass.  Maybe it does really work, and Sam Adams managed to corner the market on the patent to produce them; however, I wonder why they are the only ones making it if it’s so good.  Every other brewery puts their label on tulip glasses, so why don’t they produce these horrendous looking things as well?

Randall Jr – Dogfish Head has essentially built their reputation on gimmicks.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of the things they do, but they try to throw obscure ingredients together to create beers you feel like you have to try.  As a lover of beer, I find myself getting sucked in all the time.  It’s always a surprise to see some of the ingredients, and a morbid fascination to know what they taste like.  Half, or more than half of the time, I find out why no one else is using the ingredients, but they got me to buy a bottle because I couldn’t help myself.  Well they are at it again in a different way now.  The Randall Jr. seems to function similar to a french press water bottle.  You pour in your beer, put whatever you want to infuse it with on top, and you drink it straight out of there.  You can add whole leaf hops, lime, espresso beans, or any other ingredient you think would enhance the flavor of the beer.  Dogfish seems to have even accepted the idea that this is a gimmick by creating an infomercial for it.  I’ve included said infomercial below.  I can’t lie!  The morbid fascination is kicking in, and I can’t help but wonder what this will do to particular beers.  However, do I shell out the $19.99 to find out?  I heard about this early last week, and I’ve been pondering ordering one for a week now!

Beer gimmicks are throughout the entire beer industry.  The big beer industry is trying to get people to buy things by making you drink more, and the craft beer industry is trying to entice you with taste.  I’m not sure either one of them are producing these products for the entirely right reason.  I guess at least I would gladly choose taste over mass consumption of bad beer.

Upright Brewing Co – Five

Here is another birthday beer I received through the Rare Beer Club my wife got me a two month membership of back in February.  The membership has since expired, which I can’t decide if I am pleased about or not.  Well I suppose I couldn’t say pleased, but I can’t figure out if I’m alright with not having it renewed or disappointed that I didn’t renew it.  I was pretty pleased near the end of every month getting a package with two beers in it I’ve never heard of or seen before.  But, I can’t figure out if I want to spend the extra money on it.  I already spend a lot of money every month on beer, but it is stuff that is somewhat easier to find in this area.  This at least gives me stuff to talk about that not everyone can find.  I’m still throwing some thoughts around on whether I renew or not, but does anyone have any thoughts on whether I should renew or not?

Upright Brewing is a small brewing company out of Portland, Oregon.  So, I guess some of my readers from the West Coast may be more knowledgeable on this brewing company.  Maybe some of you can let me in on a little more info on them.  They’ve only been a brewery for the past three years, so I guess they haven’t had all that much time to up their distribution just yet anyhow.  They specialize in farmhouse ales using homegrown malts and hops.  Using saison yeast and open fermenters, they produce new beer in an old style.  Their name comes from the primary instrument played by Charles Mingus.  He was a jazz musician, bandleader, and civil rights activist who specialized in the upright bass.

This beer is an interesting style over all.  It almost doesn’t really fit into one category really nicely.  It’s a pale ale meets a Saison or Farmhouse Pale Ale.  The brewery brands it as a Farmhouse Pale Ale, which they developed after having a few European beers that incorporated a heavy hand of hops.  They use malts they have specifically grown in their region of Oregon, and they also use willamette, liberty, perle hops which are also local.  Interestingly, nearly all of the beers in their year round line-up are named different numbers.  The numbers aren’t arbitrary; instead, the year-round beers are named after their starting gravity (density, or pre-fermentation sugar content) in Belgian brewing degrees.  This is to pay homage to an old Belgian way of distributing beer.  They were sent out to their local market simply with numbers on the cap to distinguish the difference in the bottles.  The name may not be exciting, but it does have some deeper meaning which I appreciate.

This beer poured a very orangey reddish color.  The most impressive aspect of the pour was the giant white fluffy head that developed on top of it.  This whole aspect has me wanting to go to a saison or something like it next for my own personal brewing.    It took a while for the head to dissipate, so I ended up drinking it through the foam most of the time.  I didn’t want to let it sit too long.  The beer has a really hazy quality to it, but you can see a ton of visible carbonation in it as well.  Interestingly, just like the head, there is tons of lacing; however, it doesn’t result in any sticky residue at all.  Overall, the beer has a great appearance to it.

The smell has a very earthy bready aroma overall.  You can pull out lots of the spicy yeast.  The yeast has a lot of the clove aroma to it for sure, which I personally enjoy quite a bit.  There is some really big citrusy notes in there as well.  The citrus combines with some of the malty sweetness to give the beer a really pleasant backbone.  There is some light hops here, but they are by no means huge.  They complement the yeast without overpowering the aroma at all.

There is a lot of big malty citrus that comes through right at the start of the flavor.  This is really well-balanced without being overpowering at all.  I was slightly worried the citrus could be too overwhelming.  The big clove flavors and active yeast come in to be the most significant aspect of the entire flavor profile.  I really love the clove aspect in these type of beers, so I’m happy to have that present here.  Some very floral hops come in with some very light pine backing them up.  The hops are really mild here, and they combine with the clove, so they seem to get slightly masked by that spicy flavor.  However, I really like the controlled use of hops here.  The taste ends with some very light pine and a lot of residual clove.

There is definitely a ton of carbonation in this beer with only a little hint of syrup on the end.  The ample amount of both carbonation and yeast keep this beer tasting really fresh through out most of it.  There is definitely a really dry finish here which isn’t off-putting, but it is definitely quite noticeable.  There flavors are all great and work really well together.

I’m not sure I’ll ever see a bottle from Upright again, but I guess you can’t say never.  Either way, if I did see one from them, I would definitely pick up another one from them in the future.  I really enjoyed the beer overall, and I looked at what else they offer year round.  There were certainly a few other brews they offer I would be interested in trying.  I have no idea if you can find something from them in your area, but if you do, I would pick it up for sure.  Another good beer from the Rare Beer Club has me wondering if I need to renew my membership!

Teacher Grade: A

Cat wanted some

Mikkeller Brewing Co – Dream Pils

Does anyone else have a style of beer they just have never been able to really enjoy?  For me it is the dreaded pilsner.  I think it may be the mind over matter principle that is keeping me away from it.  How many times have you been watching commercials and heard the advertisement that says, “Triple hops brewed for that great pilsner taste!”?  I know I must have heard it half a million times over the course of a lifetime.  It’s not that there is anything wrong with pilsners overall, but it’s like Pavlov’s dogs.  You hear that saying enough with a bad association, and you all of a sudden can’t seem to drink or order it anymore.  Instead of salivating at the sound of a bell, I think I immediately skip the part of a beer list that says pilsners.  Attempting to be a well-rounded consumer of beer, I wanted to give all forms of beer an honest try.  So, when I saw that Mikkeller had a pilsner at my local store, I decided to pick it up for an honest try.  Of course, when you get something from a far out there brewery like Mikkeller, you rarely get what you’re expecting.

This is my third Mikkeller review in recent months.  I’m not sure if I’m just noticing their stuff more, or if they have actually been able to up their distribution to my area.  Whatever the case may be, I’m glad that I can purchase more from them on a regular basis.  I have one more of theirs in my fridge right now waiting for review as well.  Mikkeller, as I have stated before, is a nomadic brewing company.  They don’t have their own facilities; instead, they travel around to different breweries and brew there.  Some of these end up being a collaboration, while other are specific to Mikkeller.  I’m actually surprised I haven’t heard of more breweries using this idea.

Dream Pils is hard to find any information about.  Evidently it is known as Danish Dream and American Dream other places.  Therefore, I feel like I’m finding a lot of different conflicting information.  In the American market this is sold as a pilsner, but in Europe it would seem this beer is being billed as a lager.  Both of these styles use lager yeast, so I’m guessing that they feel they can bill it as they please.  From what I can tell, the American billing of this beer in Europe is due to its use of American hops.  As I began to drink the beer, it was pretty clear that this could be the real triple hops brewed pilsner.

This one pours out a golden-yellow color with some hints of orange.  There is an ample amount of white fluffy head that develops on top of the beer.  The beer is exceptionally clear which allows you too see its amazing clarity.  There is definitely nearly no haze here at all; however, you can see the ample amount of carbonation that is present instead.  The swirl brings out a little light lacing, but there is ton of sticky residue left over.

I was surprised by the ample amount of hops that come out of the smell of the beer.  It’s a little citrusy overall, and you do get some apple cidery aroma as well.  The beer has a very earthy scent to it.  There is obviously some big sweet malt notes that are pleasantly backing up the hops.  Finally you can pull out a little bit of the bready yeast aroma in there as well.

I was extremely surprised by the flavors I got out of the first sip.  I expect pilsners to be somewhat fresh and crisp tasting with some light malts and not too noticeable hops.  Instead, I got hit in the face with a bunch of hops with this one.  There a little sweet malt intro to start off the beer.  This leads into some very nice well-balanced hops towards the middle of the flavors.  The hops are definitely more piney than I was thinking they would be.  I was thinking the hops would come across more floral than pine.  There is some slightly bready yeast that follows the first hit of those hops which leads to some very strong citrus flavors present towards the end of the tasting.  Some more of the floral and bitter pine hops come in at the end and linger into the aftertaste.

There is lots of refreshing carbonation on the mouthfeel, and you get practically no syrup here at all.  There is a surprising amount of piney hops as well.  Ultimately it reminds me more of a pale ale than a lager or pilsner.  I personally find it quite enjoyable.  I like the ample amount of bitter hops, malts, and citrus that come along with the taste.  It is a really pleasant aftertaste that helps me believe I can give pilsners another chance.

Mikkeller is a brewery to be respected.  They always seem to hit their mark, and I’ve yet to grab a beer from them I outright didn’t like.  If you’re down on pilsners like I am, then I would definitely recommend picking this one up.  I doubt it’s a good representative of most pilsners, but it gives me hope that there are a few of them out there I will like for sure.

Teacher Grade: B+