I’ve been drinking Brown’s Tomhannock Pilsner for years now and I notice
a significant difference between the tap (where it’s great) and the
bottle (where it’s just plain good). Since I’m writing this review at
home with the bottle in front of me, this is all I have to go by. Maybe
someday I’ll go to the brewpub with a laptop and write a review of the
Appearance: Extremely pale yellow, lemon skin hue. Somewhat cloudy for
the style but plenty of visible fine carbonation. Forms a large, white,
frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.
Smell: On tap this beer has a citrusy hop smell like a
pale ale, but the bottle is much more grassy. It's closer to a saison with hay
and an almost egg-like smell. There's a subtle lemon fragrance as well, but
it's much more pronounced on draught.
Taste: Brown’s Tomhannock Pilsner is brewed with a rather basic, simple
recipe using only three malts and one hop variety. Yet it has much more
flavor than the vast majority of pilsners and other pale lagers on the
market including the all-malt (adjunct-free) offerings. It’s a lager
without the generic "beer" taste, as this opts for more of an earthiness
to the palate. Saaz hops likely account for the surprisingly strong dry
bitterness and spiciness throughout the palate. There’s a hint of
lemony citrus right as it finishes, although this is much more
pronounced on draught. The pale malts combined with the hops create for a
dry, crisp flavor overall. There’s a hint of a cracker-like starch in
the aftertaste, but for the most part it’s clean and refreshing. I wish
more pilsners tasted like this.
Drinkability: It’s remarkable they got so much flavor out of a 4.75% ABV
brew, yet Brown’s Tomhannock Pilsner never tastes or feels like a light
lager at all. The mouthfeel is not fizzy or thin or watery and it goes
down extremely smooth. A fantastic beer to wash down appetizers while
watching sports or chatting with your friends in a relaxed atmosphere.