Saturday, July 2, 2011

Comparing Colorado pilseners

Thanks to W.J. Doyle Wine & Spirits, a new Durango liquor store that lets customers mix six-packs, I recently had the chance to compare two tasty Colorado pilseners side by side.

Pilseners are light lagers, originally from the Czech Republic and later Germany, with substantial hopping and a crisp finish.

The pilseners both come from northern Colorado breweries with good track records of producing high-quality craft beer: Left Hand Brewing Co. of Longmont and Avery Brewing Co. of Boulder.

Left Hand's Polestar Pilsner comes in at 5.5 percent ABV and 33 IBUs, using Magnum, Mt. Hood and Sterling hops along with Weyerman pilsner and pale two-row malt. It's distributed in 12-ounce bottles.

Avery's Joe's Premium American Pilsner is less boozy but more hoppy, at 4.7 percent ABV and 42 IBUs. It's brewed with Magnum and Hersbrucker hops and unspecified two-row malt, and distributed in 12-ounce cans featuring the image of a gangster-looking dude.

Both beers pour a pale yellow with an off-white head. The pilseners taste differently, though. The Left Hand pils is funkier and yeastier, with moderate hopping. The Avery pils is cleaner but much more aggressively hopped.

Both are good beers. I slightly prefer Left Hand's funky complexity to Avery's big hop taste, but to each their own. You can't go wrong with pilsener, a fantastic style for summer.

The Fourth of July tends to be an industrial lager holiday. I'm sure the liquor stores will sell plenty of Coors and Budweiser. But if you want to keep it craft, and you should, pilsener is an excellent option.


  1. Amazingly enough, it's been a long time since I had a pilsner. Other craft beer styles have dominated my choice. During the heat this last week, it's been Kolsch and Berliner Weiss that has filled my glass. Perhaps it's time to put a pilsner back on my shopping list. I'm probably with you, I'd prefer a bit less hoppy taste in my pilsner.

  2. Not apropos, but check out the new liquor store at College Plaza, W.J. Doyle- unique beer pricing where he buys beer by the case instead of in 6-packs and sells them all singly at a little less than 1/6th of normal 6'er price. Sorta cool- make your own 6er with no price premium.

  3. I had Breckenridge's pilsener in their downtown restaurant yesterday, and it was the best I've had in recent memory.

  4. Thanks for the comments.

    @the liberaltarian: Indeed, W.J. Doyle is mentioned at the top of the post.