Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saranac Bohemian Pilsener

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 15, 2010
There’s this notion that dark beers and niche-style beers are “acquired tastes,” meaning that very few people actually enjoy them. I would say this is a completely flawed, illogical rationalization and might almost argue that the opposite is true: that mainstream-style mass-market lagers and pilseners are acquired tastes. Case in point: Saranac’s Bohemian Pilsener.

How exactly this beer is “Bohemian” I could not tell you. And how exactly this otherwise generic beer is any kind of craft product I also could not say. What I do know is I like good beers, but this is not one of them.


Bohemian Pilsener poured extremely smooth likely due to its thin body, and produced a thick layer of bright white, fizzy head which evaporated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body is bright gold and crystal clear with plenty of carbonation evident. The aroma is about as standard as a beer can smell: grainy, with no distinct ingredients detectable.


This beer just fits the classic pilsener description: it taste is mostly grainy and bland but with an over crisp palate. It doesn’t taste bad, per se, but it definitely is not enjoyable to drink. It’s essentially a “lite” beer with a little more character.


At least Bohemian Pilsener is easy to drink, although I think that’s the purpose of beers of this style. Being flavorless is fine if your intention is to accompany the beer with lots of food (or continued servings on the way to inebriation). I’ve had other pilseners that were very difficult to drink, but this one is surprisingly smooth.


Considering the composition, taste and finish would it come as a shock to you to know this beer is extremely light-bodied? Saranac describes the beer as being medium-bodied, but it’s about a light as a beer can come without actually attaching to suffix “lite” as a marketing ploy. At only 4.8% ABV you’ll be able to drink this beer in succession (all two of them in the “12 Beers of Winter” mix pack), without feeling overwhelmed or filled up in the least.


In my experience, every beer that has the basic physical characteristics of Bohemian Pilsener has essentially the same bland taste. I was really hoping the Brewmasters at Saranac would be able to come up with a new take on this ancient style as they did with the India Brown Ale and Season’s Best, but alas, this was not the case.

Grade: 4/10

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