SUMMERFEST FROM SUFFERFEST: Epic Pilsner
There are far too many whale hunters looking for the booziest barleywines, most robust imperial stouts, and the juiciest triple India Pale Ales in the country, sometimes paying several hundred dollars per bottle. It is absurd. Although I can never turn down a whale when the opportunity presents itself, lately I find myself gravitating more towards lower alcohol by volume (ABV) beers.
I find this especially true in the summer, where the last thing anyone wants to be drinking out on the patio with the sun beating down on them is a big-bodied boozy brew. My general rule of thumb is the higher the temperature the lower ABV I prefer my beer to have. Perfect examples of summer styles for me include Berliner weiss, kolsch, and, of course, the almighty pilsner.
Epic Pilsner from Sufferfest Beer Company seemed true to style in every regard until I discovered that it was “crafted to remove gluten.” Upon seeing this on the can I went to their website and I found that all of their beers are void of gluten. I’ve had few gluten free beers that could stand on their own two feet, but this one doesn’t merely stand on its own but runs.
This beer is a crystal clear, pale straw in appearance with a light, fluffy white head. The beer leaves lacing that coats the glass. This pilsner looks like every golden beer you see on TV. Epic Pils has a very subtle nose. There are slight lemon and grass tones. The palate follows the nose almost exactly as the earthy tones of the Saaz hops gently cut through the layers of the sweet biscuit malt. This beer is thin and leaves your mouth dry, begging you to have can after can, and at only 5.1% ABV it is easy to throw back a few without having to worry about getting overly buzzed or trashed.
Epic Pilsner shines through with its subtle complexity. The delicate nose and clean, refreshing qualities pair perfectly with an easy-going summer afternoon on the back patio, the nearest worry miles away.
Do not be turned off by the gluten free warning. Summerfest Epic Pilsner is well worth seeking out!
Ryan Moyer, beer expert, is a graduate of Indiana University.
Note: Sufferfest beers are brewed and canned in San Francisco.