It’s Christmas Day and it’s time for a traditional Christmas tipple. OK, it’s a bit of a stretch but here goes – Weihenstephan has always been one of my favourite breweries and their beers are never far from my fridge. The history of the brewery is linked with the story of Good King Wenceslas who looked out ‘on the feast of Stephen’ (Weihenstephan means ‘Sacred Stephen’) and granted the brewery the first commercial brewing licence back in 1040. I always have a few Weihenstephans at Christmas.
The Hefeweizens may be the beers for which the brewery is best known, but I can assure you that the Helles and the Pilsner are just as popular with locals and tourists at the brewery and around Munich and these styles are ideally suited to our summer climate. Plus and also and in addition to; I just reckon Pilsners get short shrift in these here parts and I’m going to champion their subtle charms.
The Hawthorn Brewing Co has been around since 2008, crafting beers that mirror the best styles from around the globe and 2014 has been something of a watershed year for the lads. Their Pale Ale picked up a Bronze for Best International Pale and the IPA a Silver in fields where more than a few stunning examples were represented. Then, in August, Hawthorn Golden Ale took home a Gold medal at the International Beer Challenge (IBC) in London with the Pale Ale, IPA and Amber Ale taking out Silver. The IBC is the largest packaged beer awards in Europe with some 500 entires from 30 countries.
Not satisfied with that, they then capped off a great year by winning recognition as the ‘Oceania Brewer of the Year’ and then Supreme Champion Brewer of the Year at the IBC in London. All that hard work deserves a nice beer. Have a Plisner.
The Hawthorn website declares;
“Hawthorn Pilsner draws inspiration from the famous lager regions of Europe. With Pilsner Malt as the base and just a hint of light Crystal Malt, it pours a crystal clear gold colour. Cool fermentation with an imported yeast strain and a lengthy cold storage ensures a very clean & crisp palate, while the use of noble German hops mid-way through the boil introduces a delectable floral flavour. Finally we dry hop a fresh Czech variety for a delicate spicy aroma. Highly refreshing and light to medium in body, Hawthorn Pilsner is the perfect easy drinking beer.”
James Smith at The Crafty Pint says;
“One of very few pilsners found in any Aussie micros year round range, Hawthorn’s Pilsner first appeared as a seasonal before its popularity demanded it stuck around. A regular winner of People’s Choice for best lager whenever Hawthorn pop up at beer festivals, it’s another beer that stays true to the European beers upon which it’s based. It has a distinct traditional pilsner aroma: herbaceous, lightly spicy, with a touch of lemon, straw and mild sweetness from the pilsner malt. It pours a lightly hazy pale yellow with a white head atop its smooth, almost creamy body, with a suitably cleansing bitterness coming in at the end.”
Whilst on the thoughts of James, the Hawthorn Pilsner took the number 7 spot in the first ‘official’ Crafty Blind Tasting in a field of 18 local and international pilsners. The full write-up (including such journalistic gems as; “tastes of arse in a bottle” – not Hawthorn!) is well worth a visit and can be found here.
Back of the Ferry is a terrific blog for those after informed and sometimes just whimsical musings on many different beers. Here’s their take on this beer;
“BotF snaffled a couple of newbies and the first tried was the Hawthorn Pilsner. Note the spelling – no “e” between the “s” and “n”. Pilsner comes from Plzen in the Czech Republic. Most Orstrayan pilseners are spelt with the extra “e”. Not sure if this reflects our phonetic pronunciation or if only Pilsner from Plzen can spell it Pilsner. No matter, the humorous lads from the Hawthorn Brewing Co have done everything right with this fine example of a pils(e)ner. Tart and crisp – just lovely on a hot day.”
Fun Fact! While Hawthorn Brewing Co have no stainless steel of their own, they have always been upfront about their decision to brew Hamish Reed’s recipes under contract. They began at Mildura before shifting to Southern Bay and now to Brewpack.