Saturday, May 21, 2016

Czech out Colorado Native pilsner

Posted By on Sat, May 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Two pils enter, one pils leaves. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Two pils enter, one pils leaves.
A bottle of MillerCoors-owned Colorado Native pilsner has been sitting in our office fridge awaiting a review for a little while now. But with the proliferation of other, sexier beer styles, this light-colored lager, first developed in Pilsen in the western Czech Republic, often misses out on the credit it's due, especially with the ubiquitousness of light American pilsners clouding its crystal-clear reputation. Any beer drinker in our relatively well-educated drinking culture knows that there's a difference between macro and craft, that's true. It's still easy to forget just how big the difference is.

So in the interest of appreciating just how far Colorado Native pilsner is from macro — in this case, a bottle of Bud Light I abandoned in the office fridge sometime in February — with a head-to-head test. 
click to enlarge Oddly, the Colorado Native brew drew more condensation on the cup; even water likes it better. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Oddly, the Colorado Native brew drew more condensation on the cup; even water likes it better.
According to an info pamphlet that Colorado Native sent us alongside the brew, their pils is brewed with Moravian barley, house-malted into pale and Munich-style malts. It's hopped to 38 IBUs with three varieties of Colorado-grown takes on classic German noble hops. Tettnang hops are south German, hailing from Baden-Würtemberg in southern Germany. Mt. Hood hops are an American permutation of classic Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, first cultivated in Oregon. They're closely related to Crystal hops, which also appear in this brew. 
click to enlarge A beer that needs no introduction, crystal clear and straw-colored. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • A beer that needs no introduction, crystal clear and straw-colored.
Bud Light is brewed from water, barley malt, rice, yeast and hops. That's all the official Anhauser-Busch InBev website lists.

Taste-wise, there's no comparing. Colorado Native pilsner has some body, filling the mouth and lingering a bit. There's a notable caramel quality in the taste, and the noble hops add a spicy, floral quality to the aroma. Overall, though, none of the flavors are particularly strong — it's balanced and easy-drinking, but it tastes like beer. Bud Light, on the other hand, tastes sweet, lacks any hop character and goes down like water.
click to enlarge Side by side, the difference is pretty clear. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Side by side, the difference is pretty clear.
Credit where it's due, with as little flavor as Bud Light has, if there were any flaws in the brewing process, they would be impossible to hide. And there's certainly some value in doing something simple and doing it perfectly. 

But this is about Colorado Native, and they've done a respectable pilsner — clean, not too bitter, and if the warmer weather holds out, a fine option for craft newbies. 

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