Brew Review – Jails and Churches by Sideward Brewing

First, Orlando’s Sideward Brewing keeps releasing some amazing beers. It’s a shame I don’t live in Orange County anymore, or else I would be there on a regular basis.

Second of all, producer Steve was so happy when he found a four pack of this and brought it to a recent party that we were at, which should explain the odd glassware that you see in the picture below of Jails and Churches (Czech Pilsner, 5.4% ABV).

What’s interesting about this pilsner, and what I know Steve was really interested in in, was a good portion of the malt bill devoted not just to wheat, but wheat that had been smoked over pecan wood.

Smoked beers seem to be the black sheep of the craft beer industry. It’s the one beer that everybody loves to make and nobody loves to buy and it’s something that I continue to promote and talk about on the Florida beer podcast. This is mostly because an expertly crafted smoked beer is a thing of beauty.

With Jails and Churches, the smoke, especially some sweetness coming from the pecan wood smoking, really doesn’t come through unless you let the beer warm up a little bit. I would suggest pouring it and letting it sit for a few, because that’s really going to bring out a lot more flavor in the beer.

It’s got a light and crisp pilsner malt bill in addition to that wheat, and for the most part that’s what carries the bulk of the beer. In true pilsner fashion, there is a bit of a bitter hoppiness. Something standard and floral, not very sweet and citrusy.

Once the beer is warmed up enough to where you can get that pecan smoke flavor to come through, it really does transform the beer and brings the beer from good to great. It’s gentle, something that could be easily overpowered especially if pairing it with a strongly flavored food, so this is more something to sit and let enjoy on its own for what it is.

I’m looking forward to more Sideward Brewing beers, though. There’s so much good stuff coming out of there, and a beer like this means I need to get there as soon as I can.

Drink Florida Craft,


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