Thursday, August 8, 2013

Going for Gold

There is perhaps no higher expression of beer as the working man's refreshment than session beer. Sure you can have your gorilla snot infused, bourbon barrel aged, imperial pale Belgo-India stout porter, but giving me several pints of something with an ABV well south of 4.5%, and hopping to match, makes me a happy camper.

One such tradition of the working man's refreshment can be found in the mountains of Bohemia. In a town called Harrachov, tucked away on the Czech-Polish border, is a brewery and glass works called Novosad and Sons. The brewery makes a beer called Huťské světlé výčepní, which is an 8° Plato lager made as hydration for the glass blowers.

Sadly I never made it up to the brewery in Harrachov, though I visited the town before I discovered the beery joys of Bohemia beyond the generic Gambrinus and Staropramen. You can imagine then my intrigue and delight when Jason Oliver down at Devils Backbone told me they were coming out with an 8° Plato beer, made with just floor malted Bohemian pilsner malt and hopped exclusively with Saaz. The beer though would be warm fermented using a Kölsch yeast strain, and earned the nickname 'Pilsch', though the actual name is Old Virginia Gold.

When I popped into Beer Run on Tuesday night to have dinner with Mrs V and some friends, I saw it on the menu and knew I needed a pint, a proper pint that is. Old Virginia Gold is what you can see in the picture, beautiful golden, cracker dry and crisp, delicate Saaz grassiness, hints of lemon and a body that belies it's 'meagre' 3.1% abv.

Old Virginia Gold could quite easily be the best session beer I will drink this year, and one that I wish would be regular part of the Devils Backbone lineup, though I'd be happy enough with it being available every summer.

Who needs gimmicks, flavours, and funky shit when beer can be this good?


  1. Agree 100%; will be getting a growler or two this weekend!

  2. I like the "beer style" Pilsch :)

  3. I brewed a Pilsch inspired by this post for a friend's wedding. It turned out really well and assuming the beers are similar, I can understand what you were talking about! Thanks for the idea.