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Beer Review: Sufferfest Epic Pilsner

SUMMERFEST FROM SUFFERFEST: Epic Pilsner

sufferfest beers

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.

sufferfest premium beer

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.

sufferfest epic

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.

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Do not be turned off by the gluten free warning.  Summerfest Epic Pilsner is well worth seeking out!

Highly recommended.

Ryan Moyer

Ryan Moyer, beer expert, is a graduate of Indiana University.

Note:  Sufferfest beers are brewed and canned in San Francisco.

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Beer Review: Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock

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Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock

Before I begin sprouting my opinion, I find it necessary to mention that I am very uncultured in the world of bocks; I’ve only had two. The first bock I had was from Shiner. Shiner Bock was one of the first beers I enjoyed drinking, but as I sample it now I do not care for it. The other bock I had was from a brewery I cannot recall, though I do remember not being a fan of it. So I will note that I was a bit apprehensive about trying Gordon Biersch’s Blonde Bock, but I’m always up for experiencing new brews.

The appearance of this beer was quite standard. Most bocks are generally darker in color, but this one was definitely golden blonde in hue. It poured a 1-finger white head that dissipated within a couple of minutes and left next to no lacing on the glass. Again, it was average looking. It just did not seem to have anything going for it. It sits even on the scale at a 2.5/5.

The nose on this beer was incredibly malty right out of the bottle. I popped the cap and my nose was hit with a fresh bready/biscuit aroma. I was also getting small hints of fruit, maybe pears? It was very faint, but was a nice touch. There was almost no hop presence at all on the nose. While the aroma wasn’t a complete knockout, it wasn’t displeasing by any means; just very underwhelming which gives it a 2.75/5.

As with the nose, the taste was definitely bready, which was exemplified as the beer warmed. There wasn’t much of a hop profile to this brew. It was hard to pick out exactly what flavors the hops were trying to produce or enhance. I know bocks are more malt-driven, but you really got only a taste of hops at the back end. I found that my choice to snack on pretzels while drinking this was an excellent decision as the saltiness of the pretzels balanced the sweetness of the malts and provided a nice sweet taste. The taste was fine, but not extraordinary. I’d give it a 3.25/5.

Generally when drinking beers the mouthfeel has a tendency to change throughout the tasting. Blonde Bock, however, maintained a refreshing and crisp feel the entire session. It was so crisp, in fact, that it felt almost brittle. I don’t know if a liquid can be described as brittle, but that was the first word that came to mind when drinking this bock. It does not coat your mouth or throat; it just passes right through and does not sit in a heavy fashion. For me, this was enjoyable. I usually like my beers to feel somewhat thicker, but for its taste I think the feel matched it quite well, earning it a 3.75/5.

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Overall, this was by no means a bad beer, but I probably would not go out of my way to seek it out and would likely pass it by if other options were available. I’m glad to have tried an interesting bock variation, but it was simply not my cup of tea. No doubt this is a fine representation of the style, but it does not fall within my wheelhouse. Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock is alright, but not great. Final score: 3.1/5.

Ryan Moyer

Ryan is a graduate of Indiana University.

Note: Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 7%. Gordon Biersch began its brewing activities in Palo Alto, California. The Gordon Biersch brewery and bottling plant is located in San Jose. Gordon Biersch is now headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado.

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