Got Beer? Pounding Pilsners

I’ve been on a real pilsner kick lately. The oft-neglected and rejected style is still seen as somewhat of a pariah around the snobbiest of beer snobs. It’s not the pilsner’s fault that it’s become the default style of the macro American lager crowd. You don’t see the entire culinary community snubbing cheeseburgers just because of McDonald’s, or chicken because of KFC, or avocado because of millennial hipsters.

Heavy Seas Pounder PilsSo here’s a pilsner to restore your faith. Heavy Seas Pounder Pils is exactly what it promises in two words, but delivers with far more gusto than others trying the same. Light, sessionable, crisp and pleasantly unpretentious, it’s not trying to redefine anything. It’s a simple, tasty pilsner that proves the legitimacy of craft beer even with such a maligned style. I’ve tasted better pilsners, but only a few, and there are probably dozens of worse pilsners that people guzzle by the case every day. Consider this to be another of those wonderful crossover beers to bring to your macro-loyal friends to show them that craft beer isn’t all hops and rich dark stouts.

Our next featured brew comes from the distant land of Hartford, Connecticut, which is on the other side of the planet if you’re a Rhode Islander planning a day trip. Hanging Hills Brewing Company has made this double IPA, and within a quick pop of the top, I can tell I’m in for a treat.

I’ve said before that every IPA is different, and the fingerprint of this one is decidedly that of a floral and fruity brew. Boasting mosaic and citra hops, it comes off with an aroma reminiscent of apricots. This actually gives the beer itself an uncharacteristically sweet taste. How sweet? Well, given the lightness of the beer and the very relaxed tropical-fruit vibe of the hops, one might be tempted to think this was a session IPA. It is not a session IPA. This baby clocks in at 8.4%, so it’s a fussy baby. But the only hint you get of its ABV, aside from the can label, is the slight hint of a hot flavor on the tail end of the sip. There’s a pleasant effervescence in this brew that can easily mislead you into thinking that it doesn’t have twice the ABV of a Bud Light. It’s like being punched with a silk glove, and I’m sure there’s a FetLife page dedicated to that.

It actually brings an interesting question to mind. Since the sweetness here is at least partially from the hops, then at what point does the bittering agent turn around and become its own worst enemy? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a trend in hops that lead to innovative and interesting new flavors, but hops are starting to literally work against their original intention, which was as a bittering agent and preservative. It’s like watching one of those movies where the protagonist is sent to fight against a small rebel force, but befriends certain locals and begins sympathizing with their cause only to turn against the men who sent him. I’m referencing, of course, that landmark Disney film Atlantis.

What? Don’t look at me like that. Joss Whedon wrote some of that, so shut up.

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