Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Home Town Blonde

New Glarus Brewing Company
New Glarus, WI

Style: Pilsener
ABV: 4.8%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
• Bass
• Brats
• Cod
• Crab
• Lobster
• Oysters
• Salami
• Salmon
• Salsa
• Shrimp
No, this is not bizarro world, hell hasn't frozen over, and armageddon is not yet upon us. Life as we know it continues, but there was a bit of movement on the ol' seismograph as Sir Nigel, King of Ballsy Beer, entered the word "Pilsener" in the beer style section at the top of his review. That's right, I'm reviewing a Pilsener, the beer style made famous by gigantic shit beer producers both home and abroad. Essentially, I'm reviewing Miller Lite's brother. Not only that, I'm rating it FOUR mugs! What the hell am I thinking?

The Pilsener style is native to the Bohemian region of Germany and the Czech Republic, and is perhaps most famously produced by the Czech brewer Pilsner Urquell. Pilsener is a member of the Lager family and is brewed to be light and refreshing, using a variety of Noble hops to create a brew that SHOULD be somewhat spicy, floral, and crisp. A good Pilsener should NOT resemble the shit produced by the major brewers, which tastes like four day old antelope urine. To make a long story short, there is no reason why a properly made Pilsener can't satisfy even the most hardcore Beer Dork, and Nigel is nothing if he isn't hardcore.

So, it was pure respect for the Pilsener style that led to Nigel's selection of New Glarus Home Town Blonde for his latest review, right? Oh, please- that's got nothing to do with it. As you may recall from some of my recent reviews, Nigel became single a few weeks back, and as a blonde-loving Beer Dork, how could I resist a beer from a brewery as fine as New Glarus with "Blonde" written across the bottle in big letters? Now, for entertainment purposes and as a service to you, my dear readers, I will provide a small sample of the thousands of e-mails that have inundated Nigel's inbox following his announcement that he was once again open for business.

The first is from skankyho22 in Teaneck, New Jersey:
"Dearest Nigel: I know nothing about beer, but I was wondering if you would care to visit me at the rest stop off exit 188 on the New Jersey Turnpike and share a bottle of Boone's Farm. I know that its probably too classy for you, what with it being a wine, but I think, you know... I could give you something to write about in your next column"

Dear skankyho22: Thanks, but no thanks. I've seen enough episodes of "The Sopranos" to know what you Jersey girls are all about. Thank you for your interest, and lay off the Boone's Farm- it's been proven to be the number one cause of rectal cancer.

Here's another one from Shelley in Duluth, Minnesota: "Dear Nigel, I dig your style. I would love to get you to Duluth for a night of disco dancing and craft beer drinking. Perhaps we could enjoy a moonlight dip in Lake Superior before nestling in front of the fire outside of my trailer."

Dear Shelley: Thanks for the invite, but everyone knows craft brews won't make it to Duluth for another 30 years. Plus, Nigel likes his manparts far too much to expose them to the icy waters of Lake Superior. Lastly, Shelley is a boy's name, so please stop contacting me, you sicko.

Finally, here's one from Anonymous in Oshkosh, Wisconsin: "Nigel, go f--- yourself. I hate you. Thanks for making me treat you like shit for the past year."

Dear Anonymous: Your welcome, and right back at ya.

Whew! Now that that's out of the way, on to the review. As I stated previously, a true Pilsener uses quality hops that should give it far more flavor than the typical American macro. New Glarus has done a good job of bringing this to fruition, using four types of Noble hops—Tettninger, Saaz, Styrian Golding, and Strisselspalt—to make for one of the tastiest Pilseners I've ever had. While the basic flavor will somewhat remind you of an American or European macro, Home Town Blonde is ultimately far more complex than any of the crap produced by the large-scale brewers. This is the type of beer the inventors of the style likely envisioned when they came up with the original recipe.

Home Town Blonde pours nicely into my pilsener-style glass, which is good since I have a billion of these, but don't use them as I am usually drinking a beer style that doesn't befit this type of glass. A decent foamy head on the pour quickly evaporates, leaving a slight white trace. A nice golden brown color, it's slightly darker and less carbonated than your typical macro Pilsener. The smell is a bit mild, as you would expect, but the hops are detectable, with a bit of a sweet floral aroma and malt making for a nice change of pace when compared to the stench of a macro Pilsener—I was surprised that a Pilsener could have such a pleasant aroma. The taste is very good—perhaps only Victory's Prima Pils can match the quality of New Glarus' take on the style. The Noble hops make for a flavorful brew, a Pilsener in which the hop flavor is actually detectable. Wow, what a concept! Not bitter by any means, but certainly a bit on the spicy side, Home Town Blonde is balanced well with nice bit of sweet caramel malt. Thicker and far more flavorful than one would expect from a typical mass-produced Pilsener, HTB nonetheless maintains that light, crisp, and refreshing flavor that is a trademark of the style. Easily a session brew (this could actually be one of the better session brews out there), it's light to medium bodied, and goes down very smooth. The aftertaste is mild, and this is certainly a brew that is light enough to be enjoyed on a hot summer day, but flavorful enough to be enjoyed as the weather cools.

All in all, this is a true Pilsener, one that can be enjoyed by any Beer Dork out there, regardless of style preference. Now, if Nigel could only find a hot blonde to pour it for him (preferably in a bikini), all would be right with the world.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on June 12, 2007.
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