recent years I’ve become more impressed with American breweries making
traditional, to-spec Czech and German-style pilsners. These aren’t easy
brews to make, especially without “Americanizing” them, so a good one is
much appreciated by me. That’s why I really enjoyed Firestone Walker
Pivo Hoppy Pils, which, despite the name, is not an IPL or especially
hoppy for the style. Spicy, dry, clean and refreshing – that’s what I
want in a pilsner.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass. It was bottled on 4/13/15 and cost $2.85 ($0.24 per ounce).
Appearance: Pale lemon-skin yellow hue with slight cloudiness. Pours to a
small, bright white, foamy head which laces and retains very well.
Spastic carbonation is always visible.
Smell: Spicy/slight skunky Noble hops though pilsner malt is quite prominent and creates for a graham cracker-like scent too.
Taste: There’s essentially just two flavor combinations happening in
this palette: raw pilsner maltiness up front and spicy hops with dry
bitterness up on the backend. It simple and repetitive, yes, but because
these flavors are so enjoyable I never get tired of them. The malt
character is classic, cracker-like in nature (a combination of wheat and
graham crackers if that makes sense) with the Noble hops imparting a
strong spicy sensation on the finish. I detect a hint of lemon lollipop,
though that could be due to the fact this bottle is rather “old” at
nearly 3 months (oxidation). Though the hops don’t seem to have faded at
all – I really like the zesty flavor they create. Overall, this is a
more-than-solid pilsner palette that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Drinkability: What makes for a good pilsner isn’t just the flavor, but
also the easy drinkability. Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils is exactly
what you want in the style: a crisp, well-carbonated mouthfeel that’s in
no way thin or abrasive. Refreshing while in the mouth, it does leave a
bit of a spicy/starchy aftertaste, though it fades rather quickly and
is tolerable anyway. Perhaps a bit “big” at 5.3% ABV since that’s a bit
too heavy to be considered a session beer by most drinkers. Still, no
one is going to have a problem throwing back a few of these on a hot
day. The fact it’s also available in cans is a great selling point.