The most common misconception among non-beer drinkers is that lighter beers taste less "like beer." This is good for Bud Light, but not for the people drinking it. Often, these folk only have beer socially and try to minimize the impact of drinking something they don't like. The problem with this approach is that beer is counterintuitive. The darker and richer the brew, the more likely non-beer drinkers will become beer fans. In the summer, non-beer drinkers should be reaching for ambers, wheats, or even a sour. Non-beer drinkers should stop reading and move on to the next article.
Since a man can't live on ale alone, Paulina Lake Pilsner from Cascade Lakes Brewing Company is an excellent choice to scratch that lager itch. This German-style pilsner is proof that lighter beer doesn't mean less beer-like. Not for the faint-hearted, the first pour brings a strong sulfur aroma.
Yes, sulfur. Rarely acceptable in other styles, this is common for German-style pilsner. It does not carry those strong pine or citrus hop aromas so common in local ales.
Though not marketed as such and despite many brewers pushing boundaries on the term "session," Paulina Lake Pilsner falls squarely into the guidelines proposed by The Session Beer Project (a blog that serves as the de facto moderator for this genre of beers). This light-body and low alcohol drink (4.5% ABV) makes for a nice repeat drinker. The price is reasonable, and the flavors are interesting enough to think about during lulls in conversation.
This pilsner has a crisp, tight finish. Its carbonation is also tight, with prickly effervescence. Most pleasing is its subtle, apple-like acidity, which is refreshing, not sour. All these characteristics make for a great lawn mowing beer.
When pairing this beer with food, keep it light. Fish dishes or salads would be great. Heavy dressings or sauces should be avoided. Anything too fatty or too sweet will cover up all the nuance of this beer, leaving little more than a Bud Light experience. Both this beer and its drinker deserve better.