As a happy home brewer, there are few things more satisfying than pulling the first pint from a freshly tapped keg filled with one’s newest creation. This pint represents the culmination of all the thoughtful planning and research that went into the recipe design, the careful construction and maintenance of the specialized equipment manufactured for this specific task, and the vigilant oversight of all the minuscule details that can either make or break the final result. It represents the blood, sweat, and tears that so many of us sacrifice for our craft; it represents love. The first sip triggers an immediate judgment of everything that went right, and everything that went wrong; it’s the moment when the craftsman turns critic. It’s in this very moment that time stands still as flavour, texture, and aroma combine to bring the entire process around to full circle.
This particular pint—the one before me as I write these words—represents for us a return to home brewing after a 15 year hiatus. The objective was to design a very simple recipe that would allow us to re-establish our home brewing chops while at the same time produce a beer that would appeal to a wide range of palettes. We fully expected to show this one off, like proud parents. As such, we chose to brew a light German pilsner, which we creatively named, “Laurie’s Lager,” after a dear friend who drinks only light ales and lagers, and who will likely put a significant dent in our freshly-tapped keg.
The beer is not perfect, but it’s not bad, either. As I previously mentioned, we made some mistakes. But, all things considered, I think it could have been a lot worse.
The beer pours very clear with a robust, frothy, white, and persistent head. The colour is a straw yellow, but with no visible bubbles below the head. In fact, it’s considerably under carbonated for the style. Saaz hops feature only weakly, both in the nose and on the palette—but they’re noticeably there. In retrospect, an American 2-row base malt was probably a mistake to emulate a true German pilsner because the malt is a bit too prominent and tends to overshadow the hops somewhat. Nevertheless, the beer is refreshing, crisp(ish), and will certainly be welcome during the hot barbecue season, especially served ice cold, and especially among friends.
No, this beer is not perfect; but which beer is? My favourite beer is the one I have right now, and that’s a Laurie’s Lager. I remain on my relentless pursuit of the perfect pint. In retrospect, there are things we could have done differently—such as naming it, “Icebreaker.” And then again, there are some things I wouldn’t change at all. Everything.