Portland's Best Pilsner

Portland’s Best Pilsners According to the Ghost of a Dead Beer Sommelier

Hitting 70 degrees last week for the first time since late last summer, Portland’s population doubled overnight as hordes of jort-sportin’, mayonnaise-skin-flaunting, locals filled all available outside seats at area brewpubs to celebrate the sun. Just as sweat ran down thousands of thirty-something’s reddening brows to be sucked up by vintage sweatbands, I single-sped myself around town to suck up Portland’s best heat wave relief, cold draft pilsners.

With a very brittle and dry, thirst-inspiring, full-page Oregonian beer ad (Brown Derby Pilsner) from the Summer of 1940 as my beer codex, I searched for the best local pint that had the same selling points:

  1. light and lively
  2. sparkling clear
  3. not sweet
  4. not too malty
  5. certainly not bitter

I awarded one to five ghost beer sommeliers wearing vintage sweatbands depending on how many Brown Derby criteria the 21st Century PDX beers met. Here are the results.

1. Upright Brewing’s Jasmine Pils (5.1% ABV)

Upright’s pitch: “Jasmine Pils uses our recipe for the Engelberg Pils but substitutes organic jasmine pearl tea for the late hop additions, creating a delicate floral aroma and slightly earthy tea notes in the flavor. To enhance this character, the beer was formulated to finish extra dry and the finish was softened a bit by adjusting the minerals in the water.”

Ghost of a Dead Beer Sommelier: “What the hell is organic jasmine pearl tea? And what is it doing in beer? Next!”

Ghost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer Sommelier


2. Old Town Brewing’s Union Pilsner (5%)

Old Town’s pitch: “This European style Pilsner is crafted with premium German Pilsner malt and Noble hops grown in the Willamette Valley to create a crisp and refreshing Lager.”

Ghost of a Dead Beer Sommelier: “European style all the way down to the golden yellow hue! The German malt hangs around my tongue a bit too long, though. Which is weird because I don’t have a tongue anymore.”

Ghost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer Sommelier


3. Breakside Brewing Co’s Pilsner (5.2% ABV)

Breakside’s pitch: “Traditional German-style lager with clean bitterness. Very light, crisp and refreshing.”

Ghost of a Dead Beer Sommelier: “My grandma was a traditional German-style grandma; clean and bitter. She didn’t get sarcasm and ended up sending me blood sausages for my birthday ever year… Anyway, this pils is light, not too sweet, malty or bitter like her. I’ll have another please!”

Ghost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer Sommelier


4. Alameda Brewing Co.’s P-Town Pils (4% ABV)

Alameda’s pitch: “This is your quintessential dry, clean, and crisp German Pilsner. Clean and refreshing aroma. Great pilsner malt flavor with a slight hop finish for balance. The perfect beer for the summer heat.”

Ghost Beer Sommelier: “I don’t know what quintessential means but this is it — the Brown Derby of the New Age!”

Ghost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer SommelierGhost of a Dead Beer Sommelier

RM Parish

RM Parish is a mid-thirties-something Northwest native who got messed up in NYC for a bit before coming home to be a social worker/silly dad/artist.
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1 reply
  1. Victor young
    Victor young says:

    I visited lang
    l something langdon farms golf club in Jan Feb of this year and had a glass of vanguard schatzie pilsner draft was the best drink ever (too me) hands down beat corona. And Budwiser

    Reply

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