Panelists other than this blogger included Rich Higgins, brewmaster at the soon-to-open Social Kitchen and Brewery and a certified cicerone; Tiila Abbitt, beer tasting co-ordinator and FemALEist blogger; and Eric Cripe, beer manager at The Jug Shop and another local cicerone. We sampled the beers ― all widely available for under $2 per bottle ― in this order:
1. Pilsner Urquell (Plzen, Czech Republic)
2. Czechvar (Budweis, Czech Republic)
3. Trumer Pils (Berkeley, Calif., via Salzburg, Austria)
4. Budweiser (St. Louis, Mo., or likely Fairfield, Calif., but really São Paulo, Brazil)
5. Victory Prima Pils (Downington, Penn.)
6. Pabst Blue Ribbon (Woodbridge, Il.)
7. North Coast Scrimshaw (Ft. Bragg, Calif.)
Each beer was scored on a 1 to 10 scale and given a sum total. Only one beer enjoyed a true consensus; the benchmark for this style ― Pilsner Urquell ― stuck the landing with three 8s and a 9 for a total of 33. Higgins loves brewing lagers and gave high marks for its "black pepper and grass" flavors.The two macrobrewed offerings ― PBR and Bud ― landed in the basement with scores of 12 and 15, respectively. Abbitt faulted the former for its artificial sweetness and lack of hoppiness, but Cripe called it "seriously sessionable," meaning he could drink it all day. Meanwhile this blogger amusedly put the latter in the top half of the tasting flight.
The two Bay Area-brewed contestants ― Scrimshaw and Trumer Pils ― tied for second place at 23 points apiece. This blogger enjoyed Scrimshaw's "pleasing malt body and accommodating aftertaste." Higgins loved Trumer's "peppery bitterness" and "bready malt platform."
Finally, in the middle, Czechvar and Prima Pils scored 19s. Cripe noticed of Czechvar ― the original Budweiser ― a "slight bitterness on the finish with light apple character." And the Victory Prima threw everyone for a loop. We wondered if it had issues with age but all agreed on its assertive character.
Tune in next month when a new panel will blindly taste stouts.