Craft Beer and The Crisper Side
Limited releases are big in the craft beer game. They are a blend of hype, unique ingredients, and maybe even tales of master brewers dipping into the ancient recipe archives. It works though, because fans will flock to a brewery and wait in line for hours just to get first dibs on a one-time batch.
Is it a seasonal creation? A super hazy IPA? Whatever the final product, it favors well with fanatics who are always on the search for an exclusive offering from their favorite brand.
Brooklyn Brewery deeply understands this philosophy and delivers exclusives on a regular basis. With their flagship lineup of lagers and IPA’s serving as the ideal platform, they keep it moving with a deep selection of Seasonals and Brewmaster Reserves. Progressive brewing methods for batches that taste good, as their Post Road Pumpkin Ale (a well-known seasonal), actually tastes like beer and not like biting into a thick slice of pumpkin pie.
And their seasonal Unfiltered Pilsner is the ideal example of branching out into a segment that has long been ignored by craft brewers. In a world filled with hoppy double IPA’s and funky sour ales, where trippy can designs mesh with ingredients like saffron and pineapple, there seems to be more of a need for premium and easy flowing lagers.
Whether for a weekend BBQ or mid-day Champions League action, the crispness of a light lager is pivotal and serves as the ideal backdrop.
After such a focus on heavy bodied and complex beers, the craft beer game is starting to lean a little more towards this ‘classic’ category. A segment long dominated by big corporate brands, with their fizzy, yellow, and almost metallic tasting beers, there is now a resurgence of craft brewers who are in it to make exceptional alternatives. And there’s definitely a market for it, as even the IPA loyalists occasionally wants to trade their hop laced brew for a light, crisp, but well-crafted pilsner.
With a growing demand, craft brewers are putting their own take on the Czech and German classic. Their creations are much more medium-bodied and offer the flavors and aromas of the hops we love, but with little bitterness and low alcohol content. And in regards to Brooklyn, their perennial Pilsner has done this seamlessly over the last few years and now their seasonal Unfiltered Pilsner does it with some extra haze.
Upon pouring the unfiltered version into a pint glass, there is the distinguished golden color and light white head that is synonymous with most pilsners. Yes, since it’s unfiltered, it does appear semi-opaque, but not by that much, so don’t start comparing it with a coriander-infused Belgian Whit.
Once it settles in, and fairly quickly, there are the strong bready or malty notes, but out of nowhere appear these almost pineapple herbal-like flavors, bringing in the elements often missing in the big name lagers. With a solid amount of carbonation, and meant to be enjoyed ice cold, it’s just ideal to pair up with those Persian pistachios.
Now attributes like these are light for the typical craft-influenced palette. A beer like this doesn’t stand out and has no strong flavor notes. But that’s really the point. A light beer should be friendly to the palette. It should pair with a majority of big and small bites while still tasting good enough to be served on its own. Isn’t that the foundation of a primo lager?
In this era, it’s not all about boozy saisons that’ll get you faded after a few rounds. The importance of a good and crisp lager is as relevant as ever, and Brooklyn Brewery’s Unfiltered Pilsner is a symbol of the craft beer industry’s transition to the crisper side. No need to pick up an ImBev brand when there are so many better options.
This segment has long been a symbol of commercialized corporate brands who distribute their shitty brew through vast distribution networks. And yes, the craft world for a long time frowned upon these beers and wouldn’t shine any light on them. It’s a new era though, and the iconic pilsner is finally getting elevated to where it should be. And shining bright like gold.
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