I don’t know how many times a week some beer noob comes in and stares at our menu like he’s trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. After he or she has gotten past the initial couple rounds of confused face contortions, eye-squinting, and head-shaking, said stereotypical customer always says the same thing, “So… have you got anything that’s light?”
Inevitably, a pull of the Pilsner tap is due, and most of the time, a bit of chagrin and regret accompany the action. With all the great beer we have on tap, all the intricate styles and varieties, why would anyone choose a beer based on its lack of flavor?
Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m usually not a fan of whatever the lightest beer we have on tap happens to be. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, not enough microbreweries toy with lagers and the majority that do only try to replicate their macro cousins’ recipes for bland, boring, and yellow. We’re always on the hunt for the best lagers at Bailey’s, but we’re not always successful at finding them.
But this week, we nailed it by bringing back a light beer that I can be proud to pour: Caldera Pilsner.
I sat down with a tray yesterday to catch up on some holes in my Bailey’s beer knowledge and revisited the Caldera, which was on previously many months past. I remembered enjoying it then, but was surprised just how consistent my opinion of it remained after a second helping. It’s certainly a very hoppy Pilsner, but it’s also got this really subtle sweetness behind all its tidy cleanliness and dry character. It manages to be remarkably simple in broad strokes, but subtly complex the more time you spend with it. It’s balanced on a razor’s edge between malt and hops, making it easily one of the best examples of the Pilsner style to be found in this country.
I believe it also surprises a lot of light beer fans by redefining for them what their favorite style can actually taste like… that is, flavorful. And that makes my inner beer snob smile just a little.