Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Emerson Imperial Pilsner

Emerson is a German Pilsner (although the brewery labels it an Imperial Pilsner) from the Alpine Beer Company from Alpine, California just east of San Diego. Imperial is used as a term to describe larger than normal ABV. In the case of Emerson, a typical German pilsner is between 4.4 and 5.2% ABV. Emerson is 6. Alpine also brews one of my favorite IPAs, Nelson.

I bought this at Pangaea Two Brews Cafe for $18.99 for a 22oz bottle. Yes $18.99. Alpine is a very good brewery, but it does not distribute north of Los Angeles County. So, the owner of Pangaea drives to San Diego and picks up cases himself.

The beer pours a golden blond color with a thick fizzy head that soon dissipates and leaves thin lacings. The aroma is very subtle, it has that pilsner aroma of bready malts, with hints of fruity hops, but nothing powerful. The taste is the sweet bready Pils malt up front, followed by a tropical fruit hops, and finishing like a traditional lager with bready sweet notes. The hops are flavorful and not anymore bitter than the usual Nobel hops used in traditional pilsners. Emerson uses New Zealand hops. The body is light and creamy with good carbonation (its bottled conditioned).

I really like this beer. I don't think I've come across such a skilled combination of a traditional German pilsner, but using an exotic hops - New Zealand. Alpine has done an excellent job of showcasing how these new hops can be used. I have to say this a  Must Have It. 

After the Belgium craze dies down folks will focus on other European traditional beers - German/Czech Lagers and British Ales. I think you will see more experimental lagers like Emerson emerging. So get in on the ground floor and see where this experimentation goes.

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