4.7% European Pilsner
In recent weeks this column has been something of a champion for some of the milder styled brews available and today is no exception. And proudly so. More than a few times in the past month I’ve found myself chatting with drinkers about the pleasure of a well-brewed, subtly-flavoured and lightly-hopped golden, summer ale, lager, Helles or Pilsner.
This week’s beer of the week is one for which I have great respect and which, in recent times, has been elevated even further in my estimations. The original, inspired by real memories of rewarding beer after a long days toil, has had its recipe upgraded by the man whose name appears on the label, chef, restauranteur and bon vivant, Stefano Di Pieri.
The beer evokes memories for Stefano of long hard days toiling in the fields in Northern Italy which finished with the serenade of minstrels and a small glass of pilsner beneath the shade of a tree. This beer is as honest an homage to that memory and as strong a narrative as any beer could be or have.
And yet…. The beer has little love from many within the beer community. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the Mildura range which is often criticised as being ‘safe’ or ‘pedestrian’ or maybe it’s a general ‘meh’ directed at the pilsner/lager style by those who are less able to see the skill of the brewer in a clean and uncompromised beer.
And to the beer;
The Mildura Brewery website says;
Brewed with a blend of Australian Pilsner and German specialty malts and generously hopped with the noble Czech aroma variety, Saaz, this very pale lager demonstrates the finest elements of this classic European style of beer that are expressed through elegant yet uncomplicated malt and hop characters.
Fermentation is carried out under cool conditions proceeded by a long period of lagering conducted over several weeks at a very low temperature leading to the development of the delightfully mellow aroma and flavours found in this beer. The crisp malt body is balanced by a moderately high, yet clean, slightly lingering bitterness accompanied by a gentle spiciness.
James Smith at The Crafty Pint says;
The latest addition to the Mildura arsenal is a tribute to the beers from Stefano de Pieri’s Italian heritage, a recreation of the beers his forebears would have enjoyed in Europe. Brewed with a blend of Australian Pilsner and German specialty malts then generously hopped with the noble Czech aroma variety, Saaz, it sets out to achieve an elegant blend of soft malt and subtle hop characteristics with a reasonably firm bitterness. This is aided by a fermentation carried out under cool conditions proceeded by a long period of lagering conducted over several weeks at a very low temperature.
Mason Hellcat at his blog likes Stefano’s inspiration for the beer and hopes it will be taken further;
For all you parents, teachers, politicians, neighbourhood stick-in-the-muds reading this here blog, take a lesson from Stefano – under age drinking is a good thing. It teaches respect for elders, respect for a hard day’s slog, and respect for good, cold beer. Take your alco pop tax and raise it as high as you like. For it is beer that is the future for our youth. Drink up, kids.
Richard Ogley in a Bloke’s Beer reviews may be speaking of a previous release when he muses;
Mildura brewery has nicked a pilsner off a bloke in the street and put it in a bottle. How rude! Or, Stefano enjoyed his time in Italy so much he gave his name to a beer which is ‘uncomplicated yet elegant’. Just like the Fiat Multipla then. Now look who’s being rude – back to the beer. Looks good, nice and uncomplicated in the glass. Fine yet small head and not too carbonated. Just right for an easy drinking beer. No aroma to talk about, it just sits there. There aren’t any strong hoppy aromas, or malts, this sits around being, well, simple. Nice.”
As for The Critics’ Choice, the beer has been on the ‘nominated beers’ ladder every year but has never found enough high-level votes to make the top 100. Maybe this review will tempt those who have crossed it from their list to revisit the beer and see if it’s just me who believes the beer now carries those memories of days gone by and that the beer is a very fine example of an oft-neglected style. I’m reminded of another beer’s tagline which sums it up perfectly (and the reprinting of which I’m sure they’ll approve);
“Sometimes, less is more.”