Has it been eight weeks already? Is anyone still reading this? Hello? Don’t worry, we’ll be switching things up next week, but until then … welcome to the final beer in our exploration of Lakefront Brewery’s variety eight-pack from Milwaukee, WI. This week: Klisch Pilsner Beer, named after Lakefront’s president and founder, Russ Klisch, who described this beer as “a meat-and-potatoes beer,” in that it’s full and filling despite its lightness.
The birth of Pilsner (Pils) can be traced back to the mid-1800s. Its namesake is the ancient city of Plzeň (or Pilsen), situated in the western half of the Czech Republic in what was once Czechoslovakia. Today, the Pils has been bastardized a bit, resulting in widely held and not-so-favorable opinions of domestic examples; but brewing a good Pilsner is actually more difficult than brewing most beer styles. Why? You can hide flaws and inexperience in an overpowering hop bomb, but in a delicate Pilsner, you simply can’t—it’s all about subtlety, balance and perfection.
Klisch is brewed as a German version of a Pils, which is similar to Czech examples but (in our opinion) tends to be a bit cleaner with a pronounced hoppy edge. It’s an all-malt brew with domestic malts and imported Saaz hops. The beer also undergoes a two-hour boil, which aids in caramelizing sugars and providing more depth of malt character all around. Sounds tasty.
This beer is pale, with golden hues and a touch of haze. Carbonation is very active, maintaining a good one-third inch of foam lacing on top with a bit of stick. Aroma is soft, herbal, minty and pleasant. Very smooth, with a consistent malty feel on the palate, which is interrupted by a sharp carbonation bite and followed by a lemony smack of noble hops along with a unique underlying minty leaf flavor. The sweetness on this beer is low, which is good; there’s also some graininess in the back. We tasted thin citric rinds toward the finish, with a drying, lingering semi-husky grain.
It’s just an OK Pils—it’s not as clean as we’d like, and it lacks that anticipated crispness. The minty hop character seems a bit contrived and out of place, and the beer should be bright rather than hazed. It’s worth trying if you’re a fan of the brewery or style, but not worth going out of your way to try. Klisch Pilsner Beer is 5.42 percent alcohol by volume.
All in all, the Lakefront eight-pack was a good experience, with some hits and misses; but it does offer a wide variety that should appeal to most craft-beer drinkers and many crossover macro beer drinkers.