Saturday, August 11, 2012

038. Konig Pilsner

In the past I've often told a joke that is sure to yield at least a few chuckles from people (and a few hearty guffaws from military-minded guys): "I'm of German-Irish decent, so sometimes I get the almost-irresistible urge to invade a country and take their beer."

A four-pack of imported goodness.
A slight exaggeration, but most true. I am of German and Irish decent and I do enjoy trying foreign beers, particularly the German and Irish varieties. For some reason I just expect more from them. And they usually don't let me down.

Unfortunately, that's not the case with this week's offering: König Pilsener (or as we say here stateside, Konig Pilsner). Now don't get me wrong, this is a pretty good beer for a pilsner, but I was just expecting more because it comes from a really reputable brewery in Germany that was established in 1516 (at least that's what I think the German can is telling me).

A Man And A Can
I'd had a hard week and I wanted to kick back with more than one beer tonight while I caught up on the second season of The Walking Dead, so I opened the 4-pack and got out a can. It was the light, thin aluminium that you would expect from an import (gotta save moolah on shipping, you know). Opening the can didn't release much aroma so I wound up taking my first good sniff from the glass (you know the one -- it's in the photo). And then I took another sniff... and another...

To be honest, I didn't find much of an aroma. I actually had to let the beer breath a little in order to get the faint hint of hops, malt and a tantalizing hint of citrus.

This is a good, solid pilsner, but it's unremarkable. I think I picked this up in The Woodlands (a nearby upscale Master Community), but I don't recall for sure. Or I could have gotten it downtown at Spec's Liquor.  I recall paying under $10 for a 4-pack of tall cans: 1 pint 9 ounces (or 500 ml for you Euro types). It was tightly wrapped in plastic (kind of reminded me of Laura Palmer).

Whatever the case, it was one of the clearest yellows of any beer I've ever seen. (UPDATE: After doing some post-review reading, I read that several people described this as "straw colored." That's a pretty interesting description that does an admirable job of evoking the high-altitude florals that are a subtle undercurrent in the aroma and taste of this beer.

The taste, you see, was very understated. It was clear and crisp -- without a doubt it's one of the crispest beers I've had in ages. There was also a clarity to the flavor; the slightly grassy hops were in perfect balance with the pleasantly robust malts. I think the individual flavors were good, but there was so much harmony that no single note rose above and laid claim to this beer. In short, it was pleasant and unremarkable.

Now, I don't want to make this a bad thing. I really don't have anything bad to say about this beer. Aroma, color, lace... everything is good. But there's nothing great. If this beer were in the German army, he'd make it to Captain in a respectable amount of time but never have hope of advancing in rank.

This is just a good pilsner that I would enjoy drinking in the summer. Something I wouldn't ever consider refusing, but nothing I'd ever go out of my way to order. It's just average.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:

Type: Pilsner
Color: Clear yellow
Aroma: Almost none - a tease of floral hops and a rumor of citrus
Hops: Hiding like a girly-man
Malt: I think it's hiding with the hops, but in balance with the hops
Head: White, light and leaves quickly
Lace: Surprising good considering the alcohol content
Carbonation: Light
Temprature Sweet Spot: Serve it cold (under 40 degrees)
Temperature Bitter Spot: Let it warm above 55 degrees and you'll get more hops
ABV: 4.9%
My Rating: 5 out of 10

Other Reviews Worth a Sip:
It looks like the fine fellas over at seem to agree with me. Some guys say this is just what a pilsner should be, but others don't really get it. In short, the average reviews come out dead-set in the middle like I did. Not bad at all, but not great in any single way. All in all, they seem to think it's just good.

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