Draft Notes

One beer at a time…

Archive for the category “Pilsner”

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Uber Pils

I decided to head up highway 95 for this week’s beer, Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Uber Pils. This is an imperial pilsner brewed in Baltimore, MD by a brewery who has had a few identity issues over the years.

Per the breweries website, they were founded in 1994 as Clipper City Brewing Company. In 1997 they absorbed Oxford Brewing Company and then added the new Heavy Seas brand in 2003. Not until recently, in 2010, did they merge all the products under the single brand of Heavy Seas brand. Heavy Seas maintains 3 series of beers under the names Clipper Fleet, the Pyrate Fleet, and the Mutiny Fleet.Small Craft Warning Label

Now in saying all this, the address on the labels small print still says Clipper City Brewing and they have not done a great job identifying which “fleet” the Uber Pils belongs to on either the website or bottle. The identity crisis continues.

Small Craft Warning contains 7.0%ABV and 35 IBUs. The make-up of this beer includes a whopping 6 types of hops: Warrior, Palisade, French Strisselspalt, Saaz, Simcoe, and Cascade.  Additionally, they have included 2-row, Munich, and Caramalt malts.

The serving I will review will be a 12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Small Craft Warning GlassAppearance is a brilliant orange with minimal head. Recedes quickly leaving minimal to no lacing.

Aromas are Spicy hops, apricot, and honey.

Tastes are heavy in earthy flavors and toast, malt forward with a spicy hop flavor following through. Well balanced, but nothing really jumping out at me. After taste is a bit funky.

Mouth feel: Perfect carbonation for my taste, fairly light body and very clean.

Overall this is a nice pilsner with a bit of kick. All around a solid beer with nothing much to say negative; however, nothing is really jumping out at me to set it apart from others. A very safe pilsner that would keep most beer drinkers satisfied. If you are big on spicy hops, this beer may stand out a little more to you. I will rate Small Craft Warning Uber Pils 3 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale.

Learn more about Clipper City, err… Oxford, err…. Heavy Seas at http://www.hsbeer.com/.


Sixpoint Brewery – The Crisp

The Super Bowl is upon us, so I have decided to take a look at a sessionable beer perfect for the game day celebrations. The beer of the hour is The Crisp; a Pilsner by Sixpoint Brewery. Sixpoint is a craft brewer from Brooklyn, New York who prides themselves on stepping outside the box on traditional styles.Sixpoint Can

The brewery website offers an interesting narrative on the name Sixpoint. Sixpoint has been synonymous with brewing since the 1300’s when it was often seen on barrels of beer and eventually became the official insignia of the European Brewers Guild in the 1500s. Folk law says that the six points of a star represent the six critical elements of the brewing craft: grain, water, hops, yeast, malt, and the brewer.

The Crisp is brewed with Noble hops and weighs in at 5.4% ABV and 42 IBUs. I do not see any detail on whether this is a Bohemian (generally Saaz hops) or German (generally Hallertau hops). Beer Advocate classifies it as German, where Rate beer lists as Bohemian.  Based on the breweries tendencies, maybe it is a combo.Sixpoint Glass

I am consuming a 16oz can poured into a pilsner glass. The beer pours a straw color with a think Ivory head which is in no hurry to dissipate.

Aromas are floral, bready, banana, and citrus. All fairly light as the head seals them in.

Tastes I detect are herbal hops, biscuits, and caramel. There is definitely a bitter aspect to this beer which leads into the crisp, dry, and clean finish.

Mouth feel is light with plenty of carbonation, although the carbonation is not overwhelming. Slightly syrupy for a second, then dries right out.

Overall, despite the out of the box angle taken on many of their beers, this pilsner is pretty true to the style.  My palate is not experienced enough to take on the Bohemia verse German question, but it is experienced enough to say this is a nice beer with generally good malt to hop balance. Maybe a little hoppier than most pilsners, but I prefer hopped up beers so it works well for me. I will rate The Crisp 4 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale. It is all I would like in a sessionable pilsner to go along with an extended drinking session during Super Bowl Sunday or and other sporting event.

Learn more about Sixpoint Brewery here: http://sixpoint.com/ and more detail about the significance of the name Sixpoint here: http://sixpoint.com/about/logo. Cheers!

Port City Downright Pilsner

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.

Port City Downright Pilsner

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.

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