Yes, summer time is Pilsner time, and I got a chance to drop by another brewer to buy one of their beers for review. This was my first (quick) visit there, even though it’s practically in my neighborhood. It’s tough to get out there when you work evenings or have to take kids around.
More Brewing is a brewpub in downtown west suburban Villa Park, on 126 S. Villa Ave., south of St. Charles Rd. They’ve been making a small run of canned beers, available from a cooler in the room where they sell their T-shirts and other merch. They usually announce a beer or two to go on sale at opening time (11 am) on Friday and, the clerk told me, they usually sell out that day. However, they had just installed a small canning line of their own, so they expect to be able to put more beer on sale behind the counter.
So like most brewers, they put out a lot of hoppy pale ales, but with a weekend of temps in the 90’s looming, I had my sights set on trying their Villa Pils. For most small brewers, lagers by themselves can be a pain, since they need to sit in a chilled fermenters for the same amount of time you could run three ales through the tank. The Pilsener style is even tougher, since its malt and hop bill are so light that any flaws in the beer are instantly apparent. So let’s offer a prop to these guys for making one in the first place.
>The photo might not do it justice, since I’m in the shade on this 90° afternoon. But it pours a bright golden color under a foamy head. The smell has some lightly toasted malts, and just a note of noble hop. If you grew up on the basic yellow lager that was an American standard, this has all the good parts of that in its nose.
The taste comes in with more of that slightly toasty malt. It may be light, but it’s definitely there, sometimes more than I can say for the usual bland beer. A lot of Pilsner have a salty note, probably from the soft water profile of the originating Plzen home base. But this does not have that. It seems to rest a bit toward the Dortmunder “Special Export” kind of lager. But there’s just a note of spice in the hop and slight floral note that says they have more right to call it a Pilsener than a Miller Lite does. Towards the very end, I picked up a slightly floral aftertaste that reminded me of the one time I had a fresh Budvar off the tap, and on the same continent as its source.
Yes, I’ll call it crisp, and there is a bit of a hoppy after taste that I’m, sure the average good beer fans won’t mind at all.