Let’s say a middle-aged dude ran a chainsaw for a few hours building a new mountain bike trail. Hypothetically. Let’s say that same guy worked on bridges at the same trail a few days later. Maybe he (let’s call him “Derek”) doesn’t want an exotic craft beer. Maybe he’s just tired and thirsty. Maybe Derek wants a straightforward Pilsener lager. Bent Paddle Brewing has just the thing with one of their flagship beers: Venture Pils.
It has a light gold color and a dense head. It smells sweet and has a crisp mouth feel. Right away, I tasted hops but it balanced out with a clean, full flavor. I poked around and learned that ales use top-fermented yeast and lagers are bottom-fermented with more straightforward notes. Pilsener means it’s in the style of beer made in the town of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. That beer is known for the Saaz hops grown nearby and for the soft water used to make it. Bent Paddle uses Saaz hops in their Venture Pils. They also use Lake Superior water, which is famously soft. They’re staying true to the original.
Supposedly, the first batch of Pilsener lager ever made came out on October 5, 1842. Derek’s wife made him a German meal of schnitzel and cabbage to go with his Venture Pils within a week of the anniversary. She inadvertently threw a 174th birthday party for the beer. Derek was grateful.
By Eric Chandler