Like most American craft beer drinkers, I’m addicted to IPAs. The juicer and hoppier the better. But I recently spent a week in the Czech Republic drinking a lot of pilsners. A lot. The frothy, crisp Czech style pilsner was ubiquitous everywhere I went, so I found myself in the midst of a full on pilsner immersion. The process gave me a deeper appreciation of the style, which had previously been pigeonholed to the “lawnmower beer” category in my mind. When I got back from that trip, I received a box of pilsners brewed in Oregon, a state better known for its IPAs. I figured this box of Old World pilsners from the New World was the final step in my style immersion. So, I drank them. And it’s safe to say, Oregon’s breweries have got this Czech pilsner thing nailed. Check out the gallery for a mix pack of Oregon’s finest summer friendly pilsners.
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Occidental Brewing Pilsner
Gotta love a pilsner in a big-boy, 16-ounce tall boy can. It's an easy-drinking, Bohemian style pilsner with a bit if corn sweetness. It's on the malty side of things, but gets a crisp kick from the Czech sass hops.
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Buoy Beer Company Czech Style Pilsner
Buoy, based in Astoria, has a soft spot for lagers, and their Czech style pilsner hits all the style highlights. It's super carbonated has a thick head that lingers for days, making it the kind of beer you have to pour in phases, which is exactly the way they do it in the Czech Republic.
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Breakside Liquid Sunshine
Breakside is probably best known for their IPAs, but they also brew this year-round pilsner, which lacks the head you often find in the style, but picks up something vaguely lemony from the hops.
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Hood River-based pFriem gets its inspiration from Belgium, but typically filters that influence through a Pacific Northwest lens. Their Pilsner is grassy, zesty and bright with an almost spicy finish. It also won silver at the 2015 GABF.
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Ecliptic Brewing Spectra Hoppy Pilsner
Things go a little off book with the spectra. The beer has some of the crispness of a pilsner but, also a mouthful of juicy hops before finishing really, really dry. In a blind tasting, I wouldn't have any trouble mistaking this for a straight up IPA.
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Widmer Brothers PDX Pils
This is also a hoppy pilsner from Portland's Widmer Brothers that was originally brewed as a small batch beer for the Widmer Brothers pub. Now it's joining the brewery's year-round lineup. The hoppiness is more restrained than Ecliptic's Spectra, taking a more classic approach with just a layer of floral, bitter hops.