Review: Pilsner, Redhook Ale Brewery

Redhook Ale Brewery — Woodinville, WA

  • Style:  Pilsner
  • Bitterness:  25 IBU
  • ABV:  5.3%
  • Malts:   Pale, Carapils, Caramel, and Munich
  • Hops:  Saaz
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)
  • Price:  $7.99 (six-pack) at supermarket

Description:   "We are excited to see Pilsner return in our year-round lineup. The beer is fermented with a yeast strain rooting back to the Czech Republic, and is aged at a temperature close to freezing for four to six weeks prior to finishing and packaging for a clean, crisp finish. We also use a healthy dose of Saaz hops and unique specialty malts to ensure the style is as authentic as possible.” — Redhook Ale Brewery 

Random thoughts:   This was formally known as Rope Swing Summer Pilsner.  It's being re-launched as a year-round beer.  Redhook has made some big changes recently.  First, they're rolling out a new retro bottle design.  Second, they're de-emphasizing names like "Rope Swing" in favor of the beer style name.  Third, they tweaked their logo and now refer to the brewery as "he".  For more details, check out recent posts from The Daily Pull and Beervana.  Widmer Brothers also made similar labeling and branding changes recently.  

The tasting:  Golden straw color (crystal clear) with a white head that dissipated slowly, leaving lacing on the glass.  Lots of champagne-like effervescence rapidly rise to the top.  Aroma of bready and cereal malt, yeast, and spicy hops.   I first noticed a touch of sweetness, followed by biscuit-like malt.  The hops are spicy and earthy in flavor and provide a nice (medium) level of bitterness. Pilsner is light bodied and the high carbonation leaves a tingly, effervescent mouth feel.  It's dry, finishes crisp, and is very drinkable.

Rating:  3 star.  Good.  I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.   Readers of this blog know I have been forever scarred by industrial pilsner lagers.  As a result, I tend to be fairly closed minded to beers of a similar style.  However, I liked Redhook's Pilsner.  What made it stand out for me, was the use of hops which gave Pilsner a pronounced spicy bitterness.  While this style still isn't my favorite, I've found one I'd drink.  Maybe the old nightmares will now go away...

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1 comment:

  1. Pilsner lager is my favorite beer style, a beer suitable to the warm climes of my youth and the majority of my life.

    I appreciate pilsner's crisp, clean, refreshing, thirst quenching, inviting, accessible, soul-lifting qualities.

    I maintain a ranked leaderboard of my personal preference. In Portland, you can very likely find all of my top 10: HUB, Bayern, Heater Allen, Baron, SOB, Lagunitas, Oskar Blue, Caldera, Victory, Albita.

    Good craft pilsner is difficult to find. I will default to a known good IPA or Pale Ale if I can not find a good or untested pilsner.

    I noticed several of my lesser ranked pilsners demand ~50 deg_F serving temperature to exhibit a satisfying taste and body.

    I will go back and give Red Hook another trial, if I can find it.


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