But wait, the Italians made beer? At least beer other than Peroni?
Yes, craft beer is basically everywhere. But it is rare that a particular region gets to claim a beer style that doesn’t have ‘India Pale Ale’ at the end of it.
Enter the Italian pilsner.
Charting it’s rise in Italy in the mid-90s, championed in the United States over on the west coast, Italian pilsners distinguish themselves from the traditional Czech or German pilsner through a little touch of dry hopping at the end.
The style is well known for hoppiness, most pilsners tend to be (with the exception of some Germans), but the Italian pilsner tends to be more forthcoming with a floral hop character giving way to a slight fruitiness at the end.
And it’s been gaining a fairly solid amount of traction in the craft beer industry for about a year or so now. It’s still an underdog, decidedly so, but it’s got a interesting flavor of profile that is a fresh new take on hops. It remains crisp and clean, but not juicy or fruity.
One of the more widely distributed varieties here in Florida is the adequately named Italian Style Pilz (Italian Pilsner, 5% ABV) from Ology Brewing in Tallahassee.
This beer, packaged and distributed in their preferred 16 oz. tall boys, pours the light straw haziness that all pilsners are known, and frankly expected, to have.
The aroma it has an interesting amount of fruit flavors to it. There’s great honeydew and cantaloupe notes that really do explode from the glass.
The taste is very different. This almost feels like the old Brut IPAs that came around a couple years ago, with a little more bone dry floral hop essence. It’s very dry, very heavy with the floral bitterness notes, and only faintly ends with a lemony fruitiness. Add that to a light pilsner malt background, and what you get is a sun-drenched Italian countryside summer day in a glass.
Will this dethrone IPAs for most drinkers? Probably not, I fear those IPA drinkers are in love with the citrus juiciness too much. But this is a fresh new take on exploring hops and it’s a welcome change from some of the other hoppy beers that I consume.
I’m not sure I would go seeking beer if I were to travel to Italy, but if this fell into my lap I wouldn’t complain.
Drink Florida Craft,
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