By Iron Chef Leftovers
Bridgeport Brewing, out of Portland, Oregon, makes some very solid and occasionally spectacular beers. You can never go wrong with picking up a Hop Czar or Blue Heron – they won’t blow you away, but they are beers that you will enjoy drinking. In 2012, Bridgeport decided to try a fresh hop beer – a pilsner. I personally thought that was a gutsy move – pilsner is an under-represented style in the Northwest and because it is more delicate, it can be easily overwhelmed by hops if the balance is not just right. Of course, seeing the beer available in 22 oz. bottles, I had to pick one up.
According to their press release, the beer comes in at 8% ABV and 44 IBU. The beer uses Oregon Tettnang and Austrian Aurora hops to give it is complexity.
The beer pours golden yellow in color with a white head, exactly what you would expect from a Pilsner. A complex nose is dominated by lots of grain and sugar with plenty of green hops in the background, a wonderful balance of the two – lets you know you are drinking a pilsner, but this one has some legs to it. The initial taste is very crisp and dry with pleasant grain and a very quick grassy hop finish. The beer is not overly floral and is balanced with a hint of sweetness at the very end that comes out when the beer warms a bit. For an 8% alcohol beer that is on the lighter end of the spectrum, the alcohol is well hidden and I would not have guessed the ABV in that range.
The Fresh Hop Pilsner is not the most hop forward beer that you will ever drink but it had a good balance between grain and hops and would be a pleasant enough to drink it you wanted to experience a fresh hop beer without going toward the pale ale/IPA hop bomb end of the spectrum.
Although not a style I tend to prefer, Fresh Hop was a pleasant drinking experience and I would love to see Bridgeport bring it back in 2013.
Bridgeport Fresh Hop Pilsner crosses over with a respectable 3 suspension bridges out of 5.