Beardslee Public House, Bothell
Style: Czech-style Pilsner
Stats: 5.3 ABV, 35 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery and at John Howie Steak and Seastar restaurants.
My thoughts: The Seahawks missed the playoffs, which turned out to be a blessing for Beardslee head brewer Drew Cluley. With the extra time open in his schedule, Cluley had the opportunity to do something special: create a lagered pilsner that is one of the most drinkable beers I’ve ever had.
Because lagered beers are created using lagered yeast that takes up to six weeks to ferment, it takes valuable time in fermenters to make a lagered beer. Usually Beardslee provides kegs of its blonde and IPA to CenturyLink, but because the Seahawks season ended sooner than expected (sad face emoji), Cluley didn’t need to make extra amounts of those beers to fill the more than 40 taps at CenturyLink Beardslee occupies until the Sounders begin in March.
So, he thought, I’ll make a Czech-style pilsner lager instead.
“It’s a great style,” Cluley said. “The lager yeast allows the malt and hop flavors to really shine through. It’s a crisp, clean beer.”
Cluley used authentic Budvar lager yeast, a yeast that was originally used to brew Budweiser, to bring out the German pilsner malt, and Czechoslovakian Saaz hops and German Tettnanger hops. The beer chilled for six weeks, allowing the bottom-fermented lager yeast to do its magic.
The beer has a very low bitterness and the malt and hop characteristics give the beer slight flavors of bread and pine. The beer has a beautiful golden color and a soft mouthfeel.
Above all, it’s a very drinkable beer and is lighter than the 5-plus ABV belies. Cluley said they’re considering having the pilsner replace the brewery’s blonde ale on tap at CenturyLink. I think it’s a good idea. I could definitely see myself downing a few of these while watching the Seahawks crush the 49ers next year.
To celebrate the beer, Beardslee decided to allow its customers to name it. The pub took suggestions from customers for the first few weeks of January and chose the winner, Ponderosa Pilsner, because of its alliteration and connection to Beardslee’s lumberjack theme. The contest winner, Travis Doyle, was honored Thursday at the pub and given a prize package that included a gift certificate and a growler.
Cluley is taking a pair of beers to this weekend’s Belgianfest in Seattle. He made a version of the brewery’s Magnolia Saison with blood orange puree and an abbey dubbel sour blend. Both beers will be on tap at the brewery in the week following the Belgianfest.
The saison has a subtle flavor of stone fruit before finishing with its trademark spicy finish. The dubbel sour is a blend of two barreled dubbels that Cluley created, one barrel aged for two years in Mark Ryan merlot barrels with mission figs and golden raisins, and the other aged for nearly a year in Elijah Craig bourbon barrels with lactobacillus yeast.
From the brewery: Brewed with Budvar yeast and Saaz hops, this Czech-style pilsner is crisp, light, dry yet refreshing with medium bitterness and pronounced malt and hop flavor.
More new releases
Woolly Mammoth Winter Ale, Sound to Summit Brewing: A big winter beer with a sturdy malty backbone and undertones of dark chocolate and caramel. Greets your nose with a piney hop aroma. Available on tap at the brewery.
Pillowy Graves, Skookum Brewery: A double IPA brewed with spelt and a bit of oats, and hopped with large amounts of Citra, Vic’s Secret and Motueka hops. Pillowy soft body meets tropical aromas of green mango, passion fruit, lime and tangerine. Available on tap at the brewery.
Waiting on the Punchline, Skookum Brewery/Postdoc Brewing: Brewed with Citra, Idaho 7 and Denali hops and grapefruit zest, this experimental IPA was finished on cherry, pineapple and hibiscus. Available on tap at Postdoc and Skookum.