When you ask a craft beer geek what their favourite beer is, you’re likely to get an answer somewhere along the lines of “that juicy, dank northeast IPA” or the “brett barrel aged lambic”, but what you’re unlikely to hear is the word “pilsner.”
Why is that? It’s not that pilsners aren’t a good beer, after all, there’s a reason they are one of the most popular beer styles in the world, but pilsners tend to have the reputation of being limited, uncomplicated and just not interesting. But what if the problem isn’t the beer, but the way you’ve been drinking it?
Pilsners are infinitely better when slow poured. Just like a proper pint of Guinness, a pilsner benefits from the longer time taken to finish. It’s a long standing German technique that softens the beer’s carbonation and opens up its delicate flavours. For breweries that make German-style pilsners, it’s a point of pride to pour the beer this way. But you’ll have to be patient, the slow pour takes up to seven minutes for a proper pint.
If you’re too lazy to watch the video above, which in that case you may be too lazy to slow pour, then here’s the rundown:
Begin by aiming the pour for the center bottom of a pilsner glass glass so the foam bubbles up; it feels counter intuitive to how you would normally be pouring a beer, but let it foam. After a few minutes when the foam has dissipated a bit, pour a second stream of beer into the glass until the foam reaches above the lip of the glass. Ideally, a few more minutes would go by, during which time the foam would settle. Finally, the beer is topped off. This should take anywhere from five to seven minutes, depending on your patience.
The slow pour changes the flavour in a number of ways. One, it warms the beer, so rather than being ice cold it’s served at just over room temperature. Second, By slowing down the process, the foam sits for a couple minutes between each of the top offs, and it dries a little bit becoming more structured and stable.
Overall, it’s a drastically different experience than cracking open a cold one and pounding back a fairly tasteless, but crisp beer. Next time you consider a pilsner an unassuming beer, try a slow pour, I guarantee it will change your mind about this timeless beer style.