Fresh Stuffed! Pilsner
Name: Fresh Stuffed! Centennial Pilsner
Style: Fresh Hop Pilsner
ABV: Less than 0.5% ABV
Quantity: 4pack/16oz. cans
Description: In a deviation of what is normal, our head brewer Aaron was hopeful to take this earlier-picked hop, with a goal in mind of lagering it. So, the concept of a fresh hop pilsner was born. Possibly a fairly modern American / European rooted pilsner. European pilsner makers wouldn’t necessarily brew with American hops. But when in Rome (or Washington--you get the point).
Anyway, on the heels of our fantastic Bohemian Brew release, Aaron had a vision of using sparce amounts Saaz again to keep it anchored in tradition. Some process-driven hop farms are producing a hop-filtered product essentially--they take pellets (Saaz in this instance), force them into a tank with often liquid co2, temperature and pressure and lessen the leafy matter load and refine bitterness and quantity needed. Saaz being an old world noble hop doesn’t have a lot of bittering potential in its oil composition. Aaron wanted the flavor but just some top notes, and this allows the use of less, but enables getting more flavor out of them. We were about to put One hundred and Forty pounds of whole leaf Centennial hops into the brewhouse, so we thought we could cut back on some extra leaf material from hop pellets.
Everything else in the process was hinged upon what will make fantastic Pilsner. Knowing it would be enjoyable no matter what, it just needed to jump out at us and say "This is a pilsner, its different from our fresh hop IPA's." We used a blend of two malts from Skagit Valley Malting, offering a little more nuance than just using a single malt. With of course a small specifically German malt addition done in faint quantity for specialty. Everything just sort of has to come together and feel balanced to let some hops pop just right. The hop profile has hints of savory characters playing with the underlying minerality of the sculpted brewing water. Aaron describes this as soft fruits like nectarines but also a faint orange mint character. Using Oregon-grown Centennial from Crosby Hop Farm was very intentional. They tend to have such a clean flavor profile, and we were hoping to keep the hop flavors from feeling too angular.
Fresh hops are already a feat of rarity in the beer production space. Anything brave enough to not be an IPA is rewarded by the long-time industry fans, production employees and bar staff. When Aaron started brewing professionally 10+years ago, one in four pints poured in Seattle market were IPA. This is something else. Embrace it. He's hoping to bring along more hop fanatics into "Lager is Life" space. Cheers!