Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saranac Wild Hop Pils

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (910) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 23, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker glass. It had a best before date of 10/31/13. It came as part of a summer seasonal mix pack that cost $13.99 ($1.17 per bottle; $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Standard pilsner appearance of clear, white gold with plenty of visible carbonation. Forms a two-finger, bright white, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well for the style.

Smell: Mixture of European-style spiciness and hints of hoppy citrus. Definitely not your usual fizzy yellow beer smell (thankfully).

Taste: Saranac Wild Hop Pils may technically be a pilsner, but it definitely doesn’t drink like most of the style. Brewed with "wild" Belma hops, it has a distinct spicy and citrusy character and a much overall cleaner taste than I’m used to in American lagers. Saranac has long been chided by craft beer enthusiasts as faux or wannabe craft beer, but they’re constantly experimenting and stepping up their game and this brew is a sign, I think, of good things to come.

The palette starts out with light spicy dryness, not unlike a Czech or German pilsner, and perhaps with a hint of garlic or onion. There’s not generic fizzy yellow beer taste in here whatsoever, which is quite a relief. A bit more bitterness at the apex with significant citrusy hops on the finish. Some floral character as well, which is quite interesting. While not absolutely delicious on a world class scale, this beer is definitely one of the best standard, non-imperial, American lagers I’ve had. They should make this year-round.

Drinkability: As good as the taste is to Saranac Wild Hop Pils, what clinches it for me as a good beer is the fact it’s highly drinkable and a relatively small body. The mouthfeel is pretty familiar as far as lager goes, with a noticeably carbonation presence and a thin, wet texture. It goes down easily and leaves a fairly clean aftertaste. At only 5.2% ABV, it’s quite robust for such a relatively light weight. 
Grade: 8/10

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