Add Lakewood's Zomer Pils To Your Backyard Barbecue Shopping List.
Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on, and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!
This week, we sipped on Lakewood Brewing Company's Zomer Pils.
Fast Facts on Lakewood's Zomer Pils.
â€¢ Style: Czech Pilsner.
â€¢ ABV: 4.8 percent.
â€¢ IBUs: 34 International Bittering Units.
â€¢ Color: Pale Straw.
â€¢ Malts: Belgian Pilsner.
â€¢ Hops: Noble hops.
â€¢ Availability: Summer seasonal.
Beer is a beverage that elicits many emotional responses from its drinkers. Passion. Enthusiasm. Enjoyment. Disgust.
But love? Love is generally a touch too strong for those who partake in the swilling of malted beverages. But love is exactly the emotion I found myself experiencing for Czech Pilsners after drinking my way through Prague in the Czech Republic last year. The Pilsners of Prague were unlike any I had ever experienced stateside. There were flavors! There was depth! There were multiple varieties! I was falling for Bohemian suds and knew I would never be the same.
Since that time, I've been on what seems like a never-ending quest to find a brew that could stand in for my Czech loves. Alas, I've had no luck. Enter Lakewood Brewing Company's Zomer Pils. Considering that it's billed as a Czech Pilsner, I hoped that this new beer would be the fill-in I have been seeking.
A Primer on Bohemian Pilsners.
Technically, when someone talks about Czech Pilsners, they're really talking Bohemian Pilsners. Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic where the modern Pilsner beer was first brewed — in about 1842 in the city of Plzen. Last week, I reviewed Community's Texas Pils, a German Pilsner. German Pilsners actually owe their history to Bohemian Pilsners, turns out. That entire German beer style got it start when Germans originally attempted to brew their own version of the Bohemian Pilsner, which was revered for its clarity and pale color. But the Germans were unable to replicate that method at the time.
A Bohemian Pilsner will feature a rich and pleasant maltiness while showcasing the spicy, floral aroma and earthy flavors of its noble hops (frequently of the Saaz variety). Bohemian Pilsners are crisp and clear with a medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Expect a beer that pours pale straw or gold, with a dense and long lasting head.
For a commercial comparison, think Pilsner Urquell.
Zomer Pils mostly looks the part of a classic Czech-style Pilsner. It pours pale straw with an initial thick white head, which dissipates to a thin covering layer after a few minutes. I was disappointed when I noticed the slight chill haze present in the beer, but that faded once the beer warmed a bit. Still, though that haze doesn't affect the flavor, it's not an element that should be present in the classic representation of this style.
With Zomer Pils, an earthy, slightly spicy aroma dominates — clear noble hop attributes. This is backed by faint notes of cereal and grain. Dig a little deeper, and you may be able to pull out a faint sweetness.
It's crisp and clean, as you might expect. Unlike the sweetness experienced with Community's Texas Pils, there's almost none present here. The beer finishes strongly bitter, but not before you notice some floral and citrus notes. While the bitterness helps make the beer more refreshing, it feels a bit heavy-handed for the style. And it tastes almost as if too much attention was placed on the bittering hop addition and not enough on the flavor or aroma additions. To fall a bit more in line with the style guidelines, I wonder if the brewer could have tweaked the recipe to bring out more of a malt backbone, which would better balance the use of bittering hops.
Zomer Pils had a medium mouthfeel with a refreshing level of carbonation.
Reading this review, you'd probably get the impression that I didn't like Zomer Pils. The opposite is true, actually. I quite enjoyed it. This beer is crisp and clean, and it boasts a hop bitterness that I frequently look for in my beer. But it doesn't come close to what I remember experiencing with the Pilsners I sampled in Prague, and when compared to the style guidelines, it has a few flaws. Because of this, I'm taking off a few points. But don't let that discourage you from sampling a Zomer Pils. Seek it out and sample it for yourself. You won;t regret it. This beer makes for a fine accompaniment to your final summer cookouts and pool outings. At the end of the day, a good Pilsner is difficult to pull off. But Lakewood has done an admirable job here.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Zomer Pils a 7.5.
What's happening in the area beer scene this week? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
â€¢ Friday, August 16. Community Beer Company tap room hours. Starts at 5 p.m.
â€¢ Friday, August 16. Cedar Creek Brewery tap room hours Starts at 4 p.m.
â€¢ Saturday, August 17. Franconia Brewing's Five-Year Anniversary bash at Kelly's at the Village. Starts at 2 p.m.
â€¢ Saturday, August 17. Four Corners Brewing Co.'s Local Flavor Showcase. Starts at 6 p.m.
â€¢ Monday, August 19, through Friday, August 23. Holy Grail Pub Anniversary Week.