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Judge's Review: 80 Rating - Oyster Bay Pilsner by Oyster Bay Brewing Co.

April, 2018
Judges Rating: 
19 / 24
4 / 6
33 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

This Pilsner from Oyster Bay Brewing Co is a German Pilsner, or category 5d in the BJCP guidelines. What we are looking for according to the guidelines is for this beer to be “a light-bodied, highly attenuated, gold-colored, bottom fermented bitter German beer showing excellent head retention and an elegant, floral hop aroma. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, a German Pils showcases the finest quality German malt and hops.”

As usual, the first thing I do when I get the glass is get a good whiff of the aroma. What I pick up here is not a typical aroma that I get in a German Pils. I get quite a bit of fruit in the aroma -- mostly apple and a little bit of peach, which are not normal in a Pils. The hop profile is fair, as it’s moderate and showcases a spicy and herbal quality. The malt is also very good, crisp and grainy with a slight hint of honey. When I look at the appearance our sample has a bit more haze than you want to see in a crystal clear pilsner. But the head was white and fizzy, though it dissipated quickly. The color was a light gold, as it should have been.

Turning my attention to the flavor, I noticed the malt was a bit on the sweeter side, and not as crisp as I was hoping. There was still some redeeming graininess, which was very welcome. I did get a bit more of the apple and peach esters in the flavor, but they were low. Still, you don’t really want those in a lager. The best part of the flavor by far was the hop flavor. It was bitter, and helped pull back some of that sweetness. The hop profile was spicy and herbal, just as I was hoping for. Not over the top, but enough to take notice. The beer was a bit more full-bodied than I expected in a pilsner, but not by much. It should be medium-light and I perceived it as medium.

When all is said and done I may not have thought it fit the style of a German Pilsner quite so well, but the beer itself was tasty. So that is one thing to take note of when judging to style, is because a beer misses the mark on style, that does not mean it’s not good. It just misses some major style markers. This beer seemed to be one of those. Would I drink it again? Yes, without a doubt. Would I say it’s a world-class German Pils? Sadly, no.