New Beer: Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils


[Photo: Firestone Walker]

The most-buzzed-about releases from breweries are so often the big guns: Imperial Smoked Barrel-Aged Porters, Extreme-Wild-Sour-Belgians, big bottles that you'll need to share with a friend. But more often, what I want to drink doesn't come in a bomber bottle. Like the sixpacks from Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, California. I love the resiny Firestone Pale 31 and their grainy, rich English-style Double Barrel Ale: these aren't beers meant to knock your palate off, they're beers meant for drinking, not just tasting.

Add a new one to the list: FW's recently released Pivo Hoppy Pils, which Brewmaster Matt Brynildson says was influenced by Czech and German pilsners, but was actually inspired by a dry-hopped pils from Birrifico Italiano in Northern Italy. The new Firestone Walker beer is dry hopped with German Saphir hops, which add a floral and citrusy side (Brynildson says they add 'a touch of bergamot zest and lemongrass.")

If you're expecting a chuggable bottle, though, you might be surprised: this is weighty stuff, quite rich and creamy, and it's an excellent match for food. (We enjoyed it with a buttery cow's milk cheese from Jasper Hill in Vermont, but it would also be just the thing with bratwurst served with mashed potatoes or spaetzle.) The beer's body helps it stand up to richer dishes. It says 'hoppy pils' on the label, but the hops are aromatic, floral and zesty, not aggressively bitter. They cleanse the palate, but don't knock it out. Which is good, because you've got five bottles left to drink and a long day ahead of you.

About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks. She lives in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.

Sample provided for review consideration.