Friday, March 11, 2022

Of Bohemia and Bavaria, with a Taste of Austria

It is sometimes difficult to imagine more iconic beer, specifically lager, brewing regions of the world than Bohemia and Bavaria. Likewise difficult to imagine is a more iconic type of lager from Bohemia and Bavaria than the pilsner. Further, is there a more recognisably Austrian family than the Von Trapps?

Von Trapp Brewing up in Vermont currently have a special release of their Bavarian Style Pilsner, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to do a little side by side tasting of that and their core Bohemian Pilsner...first up, Bavaria.

  • Sight - golden, beautifully clear, good inch of white foam that persists nicely
  • Smell - floral hops, lightly toasted grain, lemon oil, graham crackers
  • Taste - rustic, crusty, bread, some lemony bitterness, very subtle spiciness in the finish
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Bitter - 3/5

An absolutely lovely beer, and more than justifying the fact that I bought a couple of cases when it finally made its way to Beer Run. It was this beer I had in mind when I tweeted something along the lines of the best beers those that you can drink a few ounces of to write your tasting notes, and then just sit back and enjoy the beer, making the occasional note as thoughts come to you. It has a really nicely rounded mouthfeel that complements the medium body perfectly. The lemony hop bite in the finish is just perfection in my mind, and the finish is not overly dry, but definitely clean and sharp. There are times I wish this were a core part of the Von Trapp range, not in the sense that it should replace any of their other wonderful beers, but be added to them.

Onwards them to Bohemia.

  • Sight - paler than the Bavarian, dark straw, 3/4" of white persistent foam
  • Smell - spicy hops, some herbal notes, nice note of fresh hay, slightly grainy
  • Taste - crackers, sweet grass, really solid hop bitterness, almost pithy
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 3/5
Using the method of working out starting gravity in Plato by multiplying abv by 2.5, this is a 13.5° Plato lager, making it under Czech classification a světlý speciál. It is perhaps a tad strong for an all nighter, but it hits every flavour and character note absolutely spot on, which can almost trick you into drinking way more of it than is perhaps wise. Sure, the use of Perle is not really "traditional" in Bohemian beers but it is one of my favourites in my own brewing, so I am ok with seeing it here, lending the beer its tempered spiciness that I find works well with later additions of Saaz.

Two absolutely corking pale lagers that serve to highlight the familial relationship between Bavarian and Bohemian pilsners, while being noticeably distinct, almost like fraternal twins. I plan to enjoy the Bavarian style while it is available, and of course the Bohemian is a very regular sight in my beer fridge. 

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