Toasting American Craft Beer Week, Virginia Style – Today’s Pick.

(As promised on Wednesday, I’m picking a few beers that we all might toast American Craft Beer Week with, and giving the choices a little homefield advantage – they’re all from my state of Virginia.  Take a look at Wednesday’s post for that day’s choice, Blue Mountain Brewery’s delicious Kolsch 151.)

Pale, golden colored lagers.  They’re all around you, right?  No matter where you sit down to have a beer – restaurant, bar, favorite pub, and most likely the last cookout you attended – you find yourself surrounded by them.  Unfortunately, the list presented to you at these places doesn’t change much.  Just for fun, close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting down at most any restaurant.  The server comes to take your beer order.  You can hear the list, can’t you, as they go down through the draft options – you have it nearly memorized yourself.  It sounds like you’re rattling off the grocery list.  You probably also know how most of them, if not all, taste.

Yellowish to golden colored lagers dominate the world’s beer scene, as the server at your restaurant has attested to.  This rule over the world’s overall beer scene didn’t start that long ago, however, given the total history of beer.  It is a small town called Pilsen, in what is now the Czech Republic, that the beer world owes quite a bit of its history to.  It was in Pilsen that the stars aligned, just about 170 years ago, and the first modern, “pale”, golden hued lager was created.  It was an invention born, like so many good ones are, out of necessity.  In those days, the brewer’s ability to quality control the year round production of ale created a demand for a consistently good beer.  A couple of technological advances gave way to what we now call the Pilsner, or more technically correct, the Pilsener – or “Pils” if you’re needing a more hip term – and the beer world would never be the same.  Aromatic and mildly bitter hops from the region would round out the classic definition of the beer, and later, the Germans, yes, would be brewing their own version.

Today, the “versions”, of Pilseners are indeed numerous.  The style eventually gave birth to many other pale colored lager styles, some of which are quite good.  Unfortunately, over time, many of these styles and their individual beers, well, only pale in comparison to the original.  Finding common ground only in color, and hardly in taste, these beers can’t hold a candle to the grandfather of the light colored lager.  (Did your mind start to go back through your grocery list again?)  The good news is that many American craft brewers create wonderful, tasty, versions of the Pilsener, and we’re lucky that in Virginia, we have a solid example.

So, on American Craft Beer Week, I wonder – how better to toast the week than to seek out a good, quality interpretation of the most original of pale lagers?  Like Wednesday’s “pick”, as promised, this one is also from Virginia.  Cheers!


Hampton Virginia’s St. George Brewing puts out a number of good beers, this one included.  Good crispness means a refreshing beer, which a good pilsner should be, and fresh hop flavor with moderate levels of bitterness, balanced with a toasted, slightly sweet malt layer equals one fine, easy to drink, great on a warm day beer.  This is what a good, crisp lager should be.  And it’s more than enough to make you erase that grocery list of yours from your memory.

St. George Brewing Company, Hampton Va


~ by thebeerroad on May 20, 2011.

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