Schönramer Pilsner: A Beer For All-Day Drinking

Schonramer Pilsner is my favorite beer.

I'm tempted to say it's the best Pilsner that exists but since I haven't, and will not, taste every single one, let's just go with my favorite. It's crisp and delicious. It goes with food. All food. Some as well as any wine pair option. It's not only fresh with a clean invigorating aspect but refreshing. It makes watching the NY Giants possible. But why, you ask? What makes it better? It looks like most other Pilsners. The answer is both simple and not, as beer brewing is defined by overarching practices and nuanced application of those practices.

The town of Schonram is located in the foothills of the Alps. It is a small town with no tourist attractions. The brewery itself is small and does not make much beer. 90% of what it does make is consumed locally. They make home deliveries, like milk in a way. Their 55 employees get a regular salary AND beer. A good amount of beer. 56 6-packs a month. Being subalpine the town gets plenty of pure spring water, the base ingredient of all beer. What makes their Pilsner unique in my eyes is the perfect balance and clarity of flavors. It's bitter and malty and citrusy and floral in a fashion where each flavor attribute is perceptible but only as part of a whole. This does not come easy. Nor can each brew cycle be duplicated by rote. Four local nobel hops are used in the brew. They are chosen for their flavor characteristics rather than their pure bitterness. As hops are flowers that reflect the local growing conditions of a particular year there can never be an exact recipe for their amount and type of blend. In great hop years the brewery buys extra to hedge against bad ones. The barley malt is unmodified and comes from small German malt houses. Open-top fermenters let the beer release volatile compounds leading to a cleaner tasting beer. It's lagered (aged so it naturally clarifies) for 6-7 weeks.

That's it. 

That's not it actually. Brewing is complicated. It's a marriage of art and science. And specificity. Time, temperatures, ingredients, varieties and curiosity. And I dare say love. Like all great artisans the brewer at Schonramer loves his work. That would not matter if the beer was meh. But it's good. Very good. My dad (not a beer drinker) would always talk about some prototypical beer he would drink in his younger days. A beer that tastes like beer he would say. He could never find what he was looking for. Until one day he did.