This summer (go ahead and use your best Don LaFontaine voice), the Florida Beer Co. is looking to introduce a pilsner beer to its lineup: Sunshine State Pils.
This pilsner will join the family of lagered beers from FBC, including Florida Lager, and beers of the Key West and Hurricane Reef lines. In other words, they have the experience and patience to deal with creating a craft pilsner.
Why would a brewery need patience?
The simple fact of brewing a lager has something to do with it: This cold-fermenting style of beer takes up to three times as long as an ale, the category of top fermenting beers.
"Regarding pilsner, most brewers recognize that a pilsner can truly showcase a brewer and brewery's talent," Florida Beer's beer alchemist, Bobby Gordash, told us. "They are a very delicate and unforgiving [style]. So we thought it was a great way to showcase our new state-of-the-art brewery and the talents of our new head brewer, Luke Erdody."
Luckily for us, we got to preview this upcoming brew and can share what drinkers can expect when it hits local accounts this summer.
It pours a superclear light-yellow straw color with a decent white crown of foam that shows off a lot of grassy noble hop character (probably German Hallertau). The flavor is also a showcase for those low alpha acid hops and finishes off pretty dry -- it reminds me of an aromatic Asahi or similar Japanese rice lager.
Gordash and his team worked on a recipe that aimed for sessionability and a lot of flavor for the style. "Although [we are] brewing a traditional German pilsner, we wanted to do what craft brewers do best, and that was to be crafty without being gimmicky. So we added a twist and used a newer hop that we all fell in love with."
That hop is the Saphir. It's a relatively new varietal that's been around for a couple of years now as an alternative to Hallertauer Mittlefrüh. The flavors it imparts are marked as "Refined, sweet, mild clean citrus, hint of tangerine" with an alpha acid range of 2.5 to 4.5 percent.
"We feel things tend to go around full circle," Gordash says, "and a refreshingly dry crisp pilsner could be the next big thing in craft beer."
Could be just the thing to get your friends off of macrobrews.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.