Port City Brewing Company is located a few miles from me in the neighboring city Alexandria, Virginia. They are one a handful of fairly new breweries in the Washington, DC area along side of DC Brau, Lost Rhino, and Chocolate City (3 Stars coming soon!). Port City has established themselves as a solid brewery with a tasty lineup of core beers and so far some impressive seasonal releases. So when I stumbled upon their seasonal pilsner release while browsing my local beer store, there was no way I was leaving without a six-pack. Apparently Downright Pilsner is so highly classified, they brewery doesn’t even list it on their website. However, I have been able to dig up a little information on this beer to give you a quick description. Pilsner Malts (surprise) and Saaz Hops were used to brew this German style pilsner which weighs in at 4.8% ABV. Saaz hops are one of the five Noble hops which are traditionally used in pilsners and you may be familiar with the phase “noble hops” from the Sam Adams Noble Pils commercials. One of the more common pilsners you may know using this hop is Pilsner Urquell.
Alright, let’s pour the bottle and see what this beer is all about. I pour the 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass and it flows into the glass settling with a nice brushed gold color and thick frothy head. The head begins to recede slowly as the carbonation races to meet it at the top of the slender pilsner glass. I do not get much in terms of smell, primarily grainy and a slight spice from the Saaz hops. As I take my first taste I am immediately greeted with a well-balanced taste of malt and hops. The grains I could smell come through in the taste along with a very slight bite of citrus. The mouth feel is medium weight with heavy carbonation while the finish is quite hoppy and bitter. I am a fan of bitter (and not to mention hoppy) beers, so this is really up my alley. I would stack the Downright Pilsner up next to the best of them. This beer reminds me of Victory’s Prima Pils which is definitely a compliment. I am going to have to rate this 4 out 5 on the Draft Note Mug scale due to the well-balanced, yet bold taste in a low ABV beer. My only issue with this beer, and Port City, is the fact that this is only a seasonal release!
Although I have tasted the majority of Port City’s beers, I plan to head down to the brewery in the next month to complete Draft Notes first brewery tour and tasting review. You just can’t beat beer straight from the brewery. Please look out for this upcoming post.
For more information on Port City Brewing Company, visit http://portcitybrewing.com/. Also, look out for a very limited release of Derecho Common in bars this weekend (or so says their Facebook page). This beer is the result of the brewery losing power a month or so ago for about a week. The brewers saved a batch of beer by converting it to a California Common or Steam beer. Basically it is a beer which ferments at a higher temperature (think back to the California gold rush and the lack of refrigeration – you couldn’t go without beer, so of course you adapt) which is what occurred during the multi day power outage at the brewery. If I can get ahold of some I will give a more in depth review and description.
PS. Support your local breweries.