*Editor's note - one of these months I'll get my Beer Club write up posted in time. July was not the month though.*
When I first started Beer Club, I would have never dreamed about doing a month focusing on pilsners. At the time, I associated pilsners with the yellow fizzy American macro lagers that Beer Club was supposed be leading me and my beer drinking buddies away from.
I'm not sure at what point it was that I drank a really good pilsner that made me re-evaluate what I thought about them but Pilsner Urquell was definitely one of the beers that made me revisit the style.
Somewhere along this beer journey of mine I got too consumed with bigger, badder and bolder beers to the detriment of appreciating and enjoying the more subtle and yet equally well-crafted styles of beers such as pilsners and even pale ales. Some people of influence made me realize the error of my ways. This Beer Club was designed to not only correct that but to illustrate just how far everybody had come in the past 11 months.
I picked out a lineup that did a pretty good job representing local stuff (Schell's) and US breweries from California (Lagunitas, North Coast) to Michigan (Bell's) to Pennsylvania (Victory) and threw in a couple from across the pond like Bitburger and the previously mentioned Pilsner Urquell.
From top to bottom, the beers went over very well with the guys (and girl). I actually thought there were a couple different ways to do the style and I couldn't decide which way I liked better. Beers like Scrimshaw and Pilsner Urquell had a very bakery fresh type of aroma and flavor to them in my opinion and beers like Schell's and Prima Pils had a very nice bitter hops character to them. I felt like a winner no matter which style I drank.
Just for fun, I took a Michelob Golden Draft Light (I believe this is somehow the most popular beer in Minnesota) that I found in the back of the fridge (left by guests no doubt) and had everybody try it in the middle of the lineup. It was pretty funny seeing everybody's reaction.
To me, it just tasted like carbonated water that I spilled an ounce of Schell's into. To others, it turned into a drain pour. This is the beer that half these guys used to stock their fridges at home a year ago and now they didn't even want to finish a 2 oz sample of it. Looks like I'm accomplishing something!
Like I said, everybody seemed to have a different set of favorites for the night. I already knew how good Pilsner Urquell and Schell's and Prima Pils were but the surprise to me was the Scrimshaw. It was a last minute addition when I couldn't find Brau's pilsner but it was damn good. I also think it was the best one in the bunch that could pull a yellow fizzy drinker over from the dark side.
I'm not sure if these beers will catch on for everybody and be the kind that they'd stock at home but now we all have better options when we want something on the lighter side of things than reverting back to Miller Lite or Mich Golden.