Friday, May 2, 2014

Left Hand Polestar Pilsner


3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1091) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 2, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass. It had a best by date of 5/4/14 and cost $2.85 ($0.24 per ounce).

Appearance: Pale straw yellow hue. Crystal clear with plenty of effervescent carbonation visible. Pours to a small, bright white, foamy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Initially a light skunk scent, but the base maltiness quickly overshadows it. Lightly sweet and lemony.

Taste: Finding a by-the-book pilsner being made year-round by a major American craft brewery is actually a rarity these days. I sometimes forget how good these seemingly simple beers can be. Though Left Hand Polestar Pilsner is probably one of the better examples (even the BJCP agrees for style 2A). Not complex, but still quite satisfying – and that’s what matters.

The beer is brewed only with Pilsner malt and 2-row, so it’s no surprise that a pale maltiness would dominate the palette. A slightly sweet lemon lollipop character is present throughout, though this might actually be a sign of aging as the bottle is only a few days away from its expiration date. The American hops are also quite prominent. They impart a dry, slightly spicy/slightly starchy bitterness, especially on the second half. It’s a constant back-and-forth battle between the hops and malts, but they complement each other well. Repetitive, yes, but never boring.

Drinkability: If I’m going to drink a pilsner, it’d better be not only easy to drink, but fun. Left Hand Polestar Pilsner definitely does that with a light-er body (but not light per se), and a distinct crispness (but not fizzy). Some mineral flavor and residual hop bitterness linger, though the beer is extremely refreshing while in the mouth. For 5.5% ABV it’s got the right amount of flavor. Technically, this is too big to session, but it’s quite tempting to do just that. 
Grade: 8/10