Beer photography by Paul Pyne
THIS ISSUE'S TASTING PANEL
Warren Boyer: BJCP Certified home and commercial brewer, and past President of CAMRA Vancouver.
Note: neither What’s Brewing nor Legacy Liquor Store bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.
FROM THE OLD WORLD...
Ah, the angels are calling you to join them in a glass of perfectly fluffy, foamy světlý ležák, which is to say, Czech light lager. It is so fragile to transport that to fully appreciate it, you have to visit the former Bohemia to taste it fresh.
If the lager is from the main brewery in the town of Plzeň, (a town the Germans call”Pilsen”), then it’s in the original (“Urquell”) style created in 1842 by Josef Groll, bittered with the famous hops of Žatec (aka “Saaz”). All drinks called Pilsener or Pilsner are named in direct or indirect homage.
Pilsners came to dominate the world of beer due to their light but rich gold color, full-bodied maltiness yet a distinct bitterness from generous Saaz hopping, generally 30 IBU or more. German varieties, often spelled Pilsener, might be lighter in body and semi-sweet to off-dry. Accept no substitutes.
...TO THE NEW
OK, let’s get real. You have to accept substitutes because you can’t get to the Czech Republic anytime soon, maybe ever. Plus, it’s not 1842 anymore and “Pilsner” means a lot of things in our craft-crazed society. There are Imperial Pilsners, Dry-Hopped Pilsners, Hazy Pilsners… we sense that Josef is Grolling over in his grave.
So be it. It’s a brave New World and BC brewers make a wide range of Pils. Czech out below what the Panel has to say about our six hand-picked BC bevvies. Spoiler alert: our bona fide No-Prize goes to Parkside Brewing’s Dawn Pilsner for high score. Well done Vern & team! Honourable mention to Bomber’s reliable Pils for scoring almost as well.
HOW JUDGING IS DONE
Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating with a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet. One of the great things about this format, as opposed to a simple 5-star blogger rating, is that it forces panellists to put more work into evaluating details of the flavour, balance and overall impression before scoring each category.
Panellists are instructed to give an honest rating, not a sugar-coating. As reflected in their scores, some panelists will love a particular beer and others will truly dislike it. Sometimes that’s influenced by factors that aren’t completely within a brewery’s contrul, such as freshness, or just a bad product sample. This is one of the reasons we have a panel rather than just one reviewer: it helps reduce the impact of factors like packaging flaws and personal tastes.
Appearance: 3 points – Colour, Clarity, Turbidity, Legs.
Aroma: 6 points –
Aroma of fruit, etc.
Palate/Mouthfeel: 3 points –
Mouthfeel, Texture, Carbonation, Astringency
Flavour: 8 points –
Sweetness, Fruitiness, Tartness, etc.
Overall Impression: 10 points – Enjoyment, Flaws.
TOTAL: 30 POINTS
THE FULL RESULTS
A general overview of how these beers did as a group. Notice the bicuity malt, the grassy hop and the general drinkability of these beverages.
BALANCE: MALT VS. HOP
Panel scores include these five categories. For a full list of individual scores, see below.