Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Live Oak Pilz

So far this year I have been to Texas twice, first to Austin and most recently to San Antonio. Both trips were for conferences related to work stuff, and in both cases I found myself drinking plenty of pilsner style lager.

I have been on a major pale lager kick of late, literally to the detriment of almost every other beer style. The highlight of said kick though was a beer brewed in Austin but which I drank in San Antonio, as I hadn't seen it available in any of the watering holes of its home city when I was there.


Live Oak Brewing are based out near Austin's international airport, hence I didn't get to them during my visit to the city back in March. Sat in a pub in San Antonio, I spied the magic word "pilz" and figured that at $3 for a 12 oz can it was worth a stab. It poured a slightly hazy straw colour, with a healthy looking inch or so of bright white foam that simply would not disappear, I was duly intrigued. The smell was on the money as well, all that classic Saaz goodness, subtle spice, floral notes, and a delicate lemony citrus note lingering in the background. With the first mouthful I knew what I was going to drink for the rest of the night, this is a Bohemian style pale lager as a pale lager should be, clean, zingy, crisp, and absolutely snapping with hoppiness, anyone that thinks hoppiness and pilsners are mutually exclusive is a muppet.


Looking up the beer on the old interwebs due to a lack of information in the pub beer list I learnt that this particular blonde delight has a 12° Plato starting gravity, which ferments out to give it a very respectable 4.7% ABV, all playing nicely with the 36 IBU of pure Saaz. Apparently the brewery uses a decoction mash on the Moravian malt, making this one of the most authentic iterations of the style I have had in the ten years since I left Prague for the New World. I wish it was available in Virginia as it would be a regular in the fridge.

As I said, I knew at first mouthful what my evening's drinking would be, and when I left there was but a single can remaining in the fridge, there had been 12 when I started. Yes it was that good, and every mouthful was savoured. What we have here is an early front runner for at least the best US pale beer of 2019.