A long, long time ago, in the galaxy called the Milky Way, there was an encounter between a certain Beer Maven named Gail and yours truly. It occurred at a highly acclaimed, world renowned beer store we now know as the MBS, the Morris Beer Store. At that time I had only about a dozen brew reviews under my belt and at the checkout counter, Gail gave me a rather large beer glass for free. It was shaped like a very large pub pint glass and it had the Pilsner Urquell logo emblazoned on it. As a matter of fact, it’s the exact same glass we used during the Black & Tan/Half & Half video we made last year.
Many times after that day, during my daily Internet cruises, I’d stumble upon a reference to Pilsner Urquell. Last Thursday, I stumbled upon it again, up close and personal. It was on display at the MBS. This week, I picked up a 12-pack of Pilsner Urquell just to see what all the hoopla was about. After relinquishing $13.99 for the lot I bid the MBS folks adieu and was out the door.
After a rather busy Saturday in wonderfully delightful 60° weather, time passed so quickly that beer time was now. I ambled over to fridge and grabbed the first bottle of P.U. It would be ironic if the beer smelled like its initials. Hmm. Another beer in green bottles. If it was any consolation, they were packed in an enclosed cardboard container. Let’s see how good this beer really is.
I slowly poured the beer into the pilsner glass and watched as the head came up to a nice 1-inch firmness. The color of the beer surprised me with its rich golden yellow color. Micro-bubbles percolated from below. There was hardly any aroma to be had but I couldn’t wait to dive into this rich looking pool of beer. Curious. The carbonation bubbles dwindled off to a few trickles like street traffic at 3 a.m.
The first sip attacked my taste buds with meaning. Full flavor, a nice middle and a crisp ending similar to the crack of a bullwhip. This is definitely a European beer. The flavor is what I’d imagine Old World beer would taste like. The taste is a bit sharper than what I remember Bitburger to be, but this is good drinking nonetheless. The hoppiness of this brew is obviously its trademark. It’s not too much to put you off, but it does make its presence clear right from the beginning.
By the second bottle, the tastes settled down and played nice. A bit of sweetness stepped forward. The hoppiness went from a whipcrack to rough butt pinch. My mouth wanted another sip strictly due to the flavor. The hops demanded that I reply, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”
The taste of this beer is most probably at extreme end of the hoppiness scale that my taste buds could tolerate. Hoppier than a lager, but much less so than an IPA. Not one sip caused me to wrinkle my brow with distaste, but each sip did take whack at my uvula on the way down. In my opinion, this would be a good beer right after a meal of meat. A thick juicy steak and some P.U. would probably hit it off pretty well together.
If you’re shopping for a good tasting beer, pass this one by. Some guys are hopheads who love the punishment of these hoppy beers. Others, like me, want some good taste without paying another price for the same beer.
Taste: C > It will rock your mouth house from the floor to the roof.
Smoothness: C > Like a fetish mullet; all business in front and an S&M party in back.
Drinkability: C- > Do hops have teeth?
Bang for the buck: C+ > A dollar seventeen per lash.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sip) Oh! Oh, oh… it’s… I don’t like it. (sip) It’s bitter, no way, bitter bad. It’s a no no. (I seriously thought she was going to hit me, but she just ran away.)