Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I am sure I have said this many a time before, but I have a soft spot for Samuel Adams, despite their various beers that simply don't do it for me, such as Samuel Adams Light. So when I was in Walmart on Sunday morning (best time to go, seriously, if you value your marriage), and saw the latest Spring seasonal from Boston, I just knew it had to be tried, in the hopes that finally there was an American Pilsner worthy of that illustrious name.
According to the waffle on the label, Noble Pils is made with all 5 of the noble hop types, Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt, Hersbrucker and Saaz, as well as a portion of Czech Pilsner Malt. Knowing that the Boston Lager uses a double decoction mash in the process, I expect that Noble Pils uses the same basic process, more of which later. As you can see from the picture, the beer pours a golden straw colour and is topped with a fluffy white head, so far so good. As ever I was using my Lovibond's half pint glass because it is the perfect size for American beer bottles.
Straight from the fridge, the beer smells of lemons, grass and a subtle spiciness, however, as it warms up it begins to smell of a brewery - you know that boiling wort smell. Taste wise, it is very grainy, with a kind of toasty background and a weird soapiness going on (not helped by the smell of lemons), after a while it just becomes dull, almost as though something is not right, once again I am disappointed by an American Pilsner (a contradiction in terms as Plzen is in the Czech Republic).
So the journey continues, the search for a decent pilsner style lager made in America - sure there are lagers made here that I love, Boston Lager for one, Blue Mountain Lager for another, but where is the genuine article? Where is the American made pilsner that is made from Czech Pilsner malt only, with only Saaz hops, in a place with very soft water? Where is the American made pilsner made with a triple decoction mash and lagered for at least 30 days? In talking with a brewer I was told that most American lagers are infusion mashed because they don't need to be decocted, but are they getting enough Maillard reactions?
Perhaps though I should give up drinking beers with the words Pils or Pilsner on the label which don't actually come from Plzen? Perhaps I should focus on the many great ales that are made over here, and save up all my Pilsner drinking for the next time I am back in Prague, sat in Bruska, enjoying tankova Pilsner Urquell?