Tag Archive: Bohemian Pilsner


alphabet-brewing-co-abc-hoi-polloi

Alphabet Brewing Co (ABC): Hoi Polloi (England: Bohemian Pilsner: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain to yellow. Clear inch of a white head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Vanilla custard. Clean hop character. Palma violets. Toffee.

Body: Custard and toffee. Hop resinous character. Dried apricot. Moderate hop character and bitterness. Light lime. Slight sherbety yet thick feel. Kumquat and light greenery. Orange juice.

Finish: Slight muggy bitterness and hop character. Quite high bitterness. Slight charring. Sweet kiwi and key lime pie. Greenery.

Conclusion: My feelings are kind of mixed on this one. I am finding it ok, but considering the various elements I had within it, I would normally expect to enjoy it a lot more than I am. Please let me explain.

It is a lager, pilsner to be exact, with a good thick texture and a sweet backing from the malt. A solid start, not too fizzy – always good, too fizzy makes me feel crappy after drinking – and so a good base to work from. First box ticked then.

There is a solid resinous body, good but moderate hop bitterness up to the finish, where suddenly leads into a short sharp shock of hop punch to the mouth. I’m a fan of well used hops, and this, while more bitter than even the normally good bitterness pilsner style is still used well. So – good bitterness use. Check box 2 as good.

Finally there is subtle fruit there, woven into the vanilla custard sweetness – a gentle backing so it doesn’t dominate. It lets the more lager and especially European lager style hop feel take the fore. So, check box 3. Doing well so far.

So why am I mixed in my thoughts on this? Well it is that final hop kick. It is impressive, but it means that as the beer goes on it lingers longer and longer into the next sip. So instead of being a refreshing punch at the end it dominates the whole beer and a lot of the subtlety is lost.

It never ruins the beer, but it makes it a more beer to have one and be done – I can’t imaging having a run of these as the hop bitterness would get wearing soon. Still, as one is a bitter lager with a nice sweet base that unfortunately does get a bit dull by the end. Not the best but not bad.

Background: Yep, I bought this because of the name – Hoi Polloi – aka the masses. Yep, us lot. Though normally it is meant as an insult I think. Anyway, between the name and the nice cartoony image on the can I decided to give it a go. Grabbed from the Beer Emporium in Bristol – not hit them for a while, they are a nice bar and a decent bottle shop as well. The street it is on is packed with awesome bars. This is their pilsner – not a style I tend to use as an introduction to a brewery, but when you get a good one, you tend to get a great one.

Velikonoční
Svatý Norbert: Specialni pivo: Velikonoční 13° (Czech Republic: Bohemian Pilsner: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Clear light yellow. Large creamy yellow to white head.

Nose: Light hop oils. Crisp hops. Light ginger. Wheaty. Lemon.

Body: Malt yet crisp. Nettles feel. Slight sugar eggs. Light banana. Slight toffee. Palma violets. Lots of hop feel. Light barley. Sweet apricot. Light custard.

Finish: Malty. Digestives. Lemon touch. Harsh bitter and hop oils. Ground up hops and greenery.

Conclusion: Two days, two Czech pilsners drunk and reviewed. I’m making up for shunning them in the early days of the Prague visit. Also two very different takes. This puts the hop oils and rougher use of the unfiltered feel right up front. A harsher introduction, and then only as you get used to that does the soft fruitiness and Easter sweetness come out and start putting the more complex notes in the background.

This means that you get a slightly sweet main body, but still goes out into a very robustly bitter and Palma violets finish. It is like you have that soft banana and apricot just seeping in until you realise your tongue is still covered by the hop oils you felt initially, and they are ready to party.

In fact it uses the Czech hop character very well indeed, and it is that that reminds me very much of the traditional Czech Pilsners, rather than the more easy drinking beer from Pražský Most U Valsů. However this still has that sweeter side, one that actually reminds me slightly of Belgian Easter beers. Lighter of course, but still those same notes. Combined together these make for a very unusual mix of heavy bitterness and easy going sweetness. Very much an excellent beer, and if you end up in the right place at the right time to try it, then definitely try it.

I’ve always said lagers can be complex and this one definitely is.

Background: This was the brewpub I was looking for when I found the Pivovar Matuska beers in the pub next door. This was literally just up the stairs. We were so close! Still, it ended up with me trying more good beers, so all is well that ended well. I nearly missed this beer as well, it is, in fact the 4th highest rated light Czech pilsner on Rate Beer. Not realising Velikonoční means “Easter” I nearly didn’t realise the Specialni was in fact the beer I had been hunting for. I am an idiot some days. Also, it meant it was very lucky we were visiting just after Easter. Some days I am far luckier than I have any right to be. This is again, unfiltered baby!

Bar Taps

Pražský Most U Valsů Svetlý 12°

Pražský Most U Valsů: Svetlý 12° (Czech Republic: Bohemian Pilsner: 5% ABV (aprox))

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Lace leaving very large white head.

Nose: Jiff lemon. Light bitterness. Fluffy popcorn.

Body: Lemon. Meringue. Hop oils. Clean bitterness. Palma violets. Orange zest. Cream.

Finish: Palma violets. Hop oils. Clean bitterness. Floral rising air in the mouth. Light orange juice. Digestives. Just slightly sharp.

Conclusion: This is a very fresh beer indeed. Lots of lemon zest and flavour notes that remind me of wheat beer in some ways, but delivered with the perfect crisp pilsner character in feel. It is very easy drinking, and refreshing on a hot day, and the hop oil character and hop bitterness are both delivered very cleanly – slipping down very nicely.

The flavour comes in like lemon curd on meringue, but with none of the heavy texture that you would expect with curd characteristics. Behind that you have the floral character and palma violets that I often seem to associate with the bohemian noble hops, especially notable at the end of the beer. This is backed by a touch of sharpness, just at the end, which makes for a final impression of alcoholic lemon juice.

It is a beer that is well worth having, it shows the benefits of the unfiltered delivery very well – adding a very slightly grainy, yet somehow still smooth feel that makes the mouthfeel as much important as the flavour. It is a very fine grain feel, but is that bit extra that makes it feel like you are drinking something special.

A lovely example of a pilsner, a bit different while still keeping the important integral characteristics, and shows how to keep full drinkablility without losing character. If you are in Prague you should not miss this.

Background: Oh yeah, Czech Pilsner! I promised they were coming. This was the first beer drunk as part of an organized beer tour of Prague (one of many in Prague). Very kindly when I couldn’t find the pub again the next day, the booking room for the tour provided me with a beer map and direction to find it again. This beer is brewed on site at Pražský Most U Valsů bar and is served unpasturised and unfiltered. As good lager should be. It was a good nights drinking, I was lucky to have a great group of people to drink with from all around the world on that night’s tour. I put aprox on the abv as it only listed the 12°, doing the old divide by 2.5 method gives 4.8% abv, so I was guessing an abv of between that and 5%. While they were pouring I took a close up photo of the wrong tap handle it turns out, so instead I have provided the general pouring photo below for reference. Frankly if you ask for a Světlý or light beer, they will know what you mean. Due to being during a tour my notes were a tad more haphazard than normal, but I figured I had enough to put a review together.

Pražský Most U Valsů Bar

Unfiltered Fake Lager

Brewdog: Unfiltered Fake Lager (Scotland: Bohemian Pilsner: 4.7% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy apricot gold. Off white bubbles for a head.

Nose: Crushed hop oils. Spicy hops. Apricot. Menthol fresh.

Body: Frothy texture. Nice bitterness and greenery grip. Slight gritty feel at times. Grapefruit tartness. Pineapple. Spicy hops. Apricot. Toffee malt backing.

Finish: Some gritty hops and hop oil bitterness. Grapes. Slightly sour – elderberry. Goes into a very dry feel. Dried apricot. Greenery. Prickled nettles hop.

Conclusion: I wasn’t going to review this originally as I had already reviewed fake lager, but several people had been commenting on it being significantly better that the filtered version so I thought I had best give it a go.

The mouthfeel is definitely better here, benefiting from the unfiltered character, it is thicker and delivers the hop oils and spicy hop character better. In Fake Lager the flavour was initially too light, here that isn’t a problem, the flavour delivers the slight sourness and fruit early and often and builds up to a decent level that never overpowers the lager style and freshness.

The only bit that doesn’t improve is the finish, here the bigger grip means that the prickling hops are a bit more granite like and dry. Not terrible, but not as refreshing as a lager should be.

So generally an improvement, but as an unfiltered lager it is now competing with beersel lager and De Molens Bohemian Pilsner and it really isn’t in that league. Not bad, but not up their with the best.

Background: So, fake lager again. The once seemingly April fools joke that was in fact an actual beer. I’ve covered most of the detail in the standard review, all there is to add is that this is the unfiltered version, and in my experience unfiltered lagers are usually better. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. Due to the beer being basically a small variant of Fake Lager I’ve kept this review short to mainly concentrate on the differences.

Fake Lager

Brewdog: Fake Lager (Scotland: Bohemian Pilsner: 4.7% ABV)

Visual: Grain to gold. Low carbonation. Thin white bubbled head.

Nose: Mild malt. Lightly musty. Slightly green hoppy character. Slight resin dryness.

Body: Malt. Light resinous and hops. Lemon sherbet undertones. Slight tart apple. Dried fruit. Slight custard sweetness late on. White wine dry middle.

Finish: Slick hop oils and bitter. Good hop character and resinous dryness. White wine. Popcorn feel. Bombay mix.

Conclusion:  Seriously. Free beer. There are few better words in the English language.

So, to begin with I was a bit nervous. I don’t like looking the gift horse in the mouth, but I don’t lie on my reviews. Which is a long winded way of saying that initially I wasn’t very impressed.  The aroma doesn’t have much to it, and the body, while nicely bitter and resinous, didn’t give much character.

Then I realized that I was taking quite small sips, treating it like one of Brewdog’s heavier beers. So I relaxed a bit and took a more easy drinking method of larger mouthfuls. While this, of course, didn’t help the aroma it did bring a nice fresh slightly green hop and more resinous character and then tart flavours stared playing over a more robust malt body.

It is odd in that it keeps very close to the noble hop style, unlike a lot of my preferred lagers it doesn’t do much to challenge or reinvent the style. It does however give a good bitter hop presence and a freshness of character while being still familiar to more standard lager fans. Reminds me slightly of Barrel Aged 77 Lager, though with nowhere near the complexity.

Nice dried fruit sweetness, a well placed element along the level of resinous character. A refreshment that clings if you will. The aroma never rises above the disappointing. For me the beer is good, if not boundary pushing. As a beer to entice in mass market lager drinkers I can see why they chose it for the event it is a good pick.

Well crafted, takes some time to warm to but it is a nice example of a traditional lager style.  Not the best, but it does the style well enough, if without the unusual flourishes we would expect from Brewdog. So two for two on good lagers from brewdog. Will wonders never cease?

Background: Originally touted as an April Fools joke. Then Brewdog announced, Aha, no they were in fact making it. A move that would be shocking if they hadn’t done the same trick three time in a row now.  They did however do a cool event to pitch it, bring in a bottle or can of crap beer, and trade it for a free half at their bar. So, my workmate Dave Behan, kindly donated a four pack of Morrison’s Lager which I used to exchange for some quality beer. The only cost is that he insisted I had to review at least one can as payment. The result of that will be up later. Thanks Dave. I think.

As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

De Molen: Ramsgate (GADDS): Fresh Hopped Bohemian (Netherlands: Bohemian Pilsener:6.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy amber gold with a massive yellowed thick bubbled head that leaves lace. Fizzy main body.

Nose: Tart. Gooseberries and grapefruit. Pineapple. Very fresh. Banana sweets. Apricot.

Body: Custard and grapefruit. Very fresh still. Peaches. Slight hop character behind.

Finish: Hard pineapple sweets and cream. Elderberry. Peaches. Good bitterness and hop character.

Conclusion: Oh yes. Why is this beer style not more prevalent? The few Boihemian Pilseners I’ve had have been delicious.

This one is tart with a fruity aroma, then takes all that and adds bitterness in main body. The bitterness remains until the last moments with a fresh feel yet stable bitterness.  It’s a beer that balances itself between easy drinking, tart thirst quenching and utterly fresh flavour delivering.

The texture is pretty thick. It gives the flavour grip but that and the abv are the only two elements that keep it from the session beer category.  A category it would otherwise be a very good contender for. I would say it’s a disappointment but you can tell its been designed for a different purpose.

While you would not fill a summers day with it’s drinking you could relax in an evening and contemplate the beer with friends. The beer had a whole orchard of fruit flavours and I can image drinking in a grove of fruit laden trees as the sun goes down. Talking with mates as the shadows roll in.

Of course to do that I would not only need to find a grove of fruit bearing trees, but also find enough bottles of this in limeyville to get enough to share. Maybe I could manage to get enough between this and the equally excellent Beersel Lager.

Any which way a fantastic beer.

Background:  I’ve been meaning to do a De Molens beer for a while and this collaboration between them and the comparatively local Ramsgate Brewery seemed the perfect time to do so.  I’ve had a few Ramsgate beers though I’m fairly sure I never reviewed any.  May have to alter that.  Drunk whilst listening to Spektrmodule 07.  The beer was bought from Corks of Cotham, a shop that’s beer selection is going from strength to strength currently.

Drie Fonteinen: Beersel Lager (Belgium: Bohemian Pilsner: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Very pale. Lightly coloured and hazy, only a slight yellowing to the body. Manages a large frothy ice cream head however.

Nose: Smooth yet zest. Ground lemon peel. Malt. Ice cream Sunday, or maybe cream soda.  Husked corn. Coriander. Strawberry cream centres.

Body: Wheat and cream soda. Lemon meringue. Strawberry cream. Light bitter back and grapefruit.

Finish: Condensed cream. Orange juice. Some bitter and hoppy elements that move into slow growing bitterness. Pineapple.

Conclusion: This is a seriously nice lager. All sweet cream soda and fruity sweet freshness for the first part, then rides into just enough bitterness to bite.

I did take a while to decide if the cream soda styling could be interpreted as a good thing, as it is very distinct and unusual. After realising my disappointment when the glass was empty I could but conclude that yes, it is a good thing indeed.   Better still, this unusual element is but one element of the beer and it has plenty more to keep your interest.

I’ve noticed a lot of craft brewers try to do a take on the various lager styles and try to make it a bit more interesting, most end up losing that which makes lager work in the first place without adding enough to compensate. This on the other hand plays to the style and adds flavour as well as any I have run across.

Easy to drink, fruity sweet, definitely different and with a nice touch of hops.  If only it was easier to get over here I could happily drink it through all the years’ summer days.

Background: Brewed at the De Proef Brouwerij as Drie Fonteinen is set up more for the lambics.  This beer is one I’ve been keeping an eye out for, but only found finally on a visit to Gent. Bohemian Pilsner is a beer style I only found out existed whilst researching the background of this beer, I hope all beers of this style are this nice.

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