Brewer's Pick

Why an Iconic Czech Pilsner Is the Ultimate Grail Beer


February 14, 2020 Drinks By Photo by Matt Delamater, Pilsner Urquell

Maine is a state chock full of standout breweries. But you’d be hardpressed to find one that’s got their finger more consistently on the pulse than Oxbow Brewing Company. Founder Tim Adams has dedicated Oxbow “to the pursuit of crafting unique farmhouse ales of distinctively European influence.” His distinct, bright styles have been at the forefront of esteemed trends like Americanized Italian Pilsners (Luppolo) and Farmhouse Ales (Farmhouse Pale Ale). All brewers hold Adams in high regard and his own tastes run the gamut of American classics to iconic European styles. Here’s what Adams is drinking nowadays.

Favorite Everyday Beer: Allagash White

ABV: 5.2%
Beer Style: Witbier
Availability: National, year-round
“My favorite everyday beer is Allagash White. I live in Maine (where Allagash is brewed) and Allagash’s flagship White is available pretty much everywhere. Its ubiquity makes it an easy candidate for an everyday beer and its superb balance of flavor and drinkability make it a pleasure to enjoy day after day.”

Grail Beer: Pilsner Urquell

ABV: 4.4%
Beer Style: Czech Pilsner
Availability: International, year-round
“The best ‘grail’ beer that comes to mind is the unfiltered Pilsner Urquell that is served straight from the barrels in the underground labyrinth of the brewery’s old lagering caves in Pilsen, Czech Republic. I recently traveled to the Czech Republic and had many incredible beers and beer experiences, but the taste (and the setting) of that glass of pilsner was something that I will never forget. The young beer was still cloudy and exploding with classic Saaz hop aroma and flavor atop a doughy yeast character and soft carbonation from the cask conditioning. That’s my kind of hoppy hazy beer!”

Best Beer You Drank Recently: Threes Brewing Voluntary Exile

ABV: 8.1%
Beer Style: Baltic Porter
Availability: Local, seasonal
“I was in New York City recently and my favorite beer of the trip was Threes Brewing’s Voluntary Exile. This strong black lager is the brewery’s take on a Baltic Porter. The beer has the rich malt character and smooth body that one would hope for in an excellent Baltic Porter, but their version also had a smoky undertone that I was not expecting and made the experience for me that much more enjoyable.”

Beer You’re In Search Of (ISO): Notch Brewing Session Pils

ABV: 4%
Beer Style: Czech Pale Lager
Availability: Local, year-round
“Ever since I returned from my trip to the Czech Republic I’ve been craving a propery-brewed Czech pale lager poured from a side-pour faucet. Many Czech pubs have these special faucets that are mechanically quite different from regular American or European beer taps and they create a unique quality of foam that is extremely dense, drinkable and long-lasting. I’ve been a longtime fan of Notch Brewing in Salem, Massachusetts and I know that they pour their exceptional Czech-style lagers using these taps so I need to get down there and turn this ISO into a glass of beautifully foamy beer!”

Why Coors Banquet Is the Perfect Everyday Beer

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Since 2012, Nick Nunns of TRVE has made beers that aim to go “beyond the pale” (a fancy way of saying it’s not just IPAs), and his own tastes run the spectrum from classic macro-lagers to Belgian-style icons. Here’s what he’s drinking nowadays. Read the Story

Ryan Brower

Ryan Brower serves as a Project Coordinator for Editorial Operations and also writes about beer and surfing for Gear Patrol. He lives in Brooklyn, loves the ocean and almost always has a film camera handy.

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