are two prominent styles of pilsner: Czech and German. Though,
according to the BJCP there is a third style: Classic American. Beers of
this type are allowed to use adjuncts and pretty much any hops they
want, but so few breweries actually make them. Cambridge Remain in Light
is a good example of what can be done with the style as it has the
basic makings of a pilsner, but uses different hops and a bit of rice to
change it up a bit. It doesn’t define or re-invent the style, however
it does demonstrate what else can be done with it.
I poured a 12oz can into a pilsner glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.65 ($0.22 per ounce).
Appearance: Pale lemon skin yellow color; mostly clear body with light
fogginess but carbonation is always clearly visible. Pours to a large,
white, soapy head which laces and retains fairly well.
Smell: Spicy European hops are noticeable as it slight graham cracker sweetness; mild overall though.
Taste: A light spicy hop character right away. Not as intense as many
Continental pilsners, though it’s not of modern American citrus or pine
flavor. A bit of a graham cracker sweetness through the middle followed
by a light lemony zest on the finish and sweetness in the aftertaste.
The rice adjunct is not nearly as prominent as in macro brews, though it
does give the palette a bit of a cereal taste. I like the hop selection
(Styrian Goldings; Saaz and Hallertau); though I suspect either this is
an old can or they’re used sparingly as this is not quite as intense as
other pilsners (nor does it live up to the “hoppy pilsner” hyperbole on
the label). This works fine as a standard pale lager or no-frills
American pilsner. Approach it as such and you won’t be disappointed.
Drinkability: The name – “Remain in Light” is both a pun and a marketing
gimmick. Though I don’t think any beer that comes in at 5% ABV can be
considered light by anyone (“sessionable” is another story). This brew
does have the light body and crisp mouthfeel you expect in want in a
“light” beer (whatever that means). Refreshing while in the mouth and
mostly clean aftertaste. It seems to be a little inefficient as it feels
closer to a sub-4.5% weight. Can’t the brewery drop it down to that
without losing anything?