15 Best Pilsner Beers For All Occasions 2019 | Today Top Reviews Today Top Reviews

15 Best Pilsner Beers For All Occasions

As the holidays approach, beverages that are as light and sparkling as the season lend a beautiful complement to festivities and gatherings of every kind. For those of you that do not find the standard sparkling wine and champagne punch offerings a palatable option, craft beer is usually a favorite go-to. Craft beers have really come into their creative own over the past decade, and one of the lightest, most versatile styles on the market is the pilsner.

Don’t let the style name fool you. Anheuser Busch did not invent pilsner, and true pilsner is not the frothy, flavored water that permeates markets throughout the US. True pilsner-style beer is a craft unto itself.

Pilsner-style brew has its origins back in the 1840s, in the city of Plzen, located in what is now known as the Czech Republic. Josef Groll, a Bavarian brewer, created this beer as a golden lager that uses light, partially malted barley, Legend has it that he actually smuggled the lager yeast out of Germany! Saaz hops and soft water, combined with that same German lager yeast, create its bright golden hue and soft, mellow profile.

Throughout the years, pilsner variations have been developed based upon the original. One of the most widely known being the American Pilsner, which replaces some of the barley with rice to create a lighter color and flavor without reducing the alcohol content.

Most craft brewers would agree though, that the Czech Pilsner is one of the more difficult styles to brew properly. So, this beer style has become a study in challenging creativity for craft breweries worldwide.

How We Reviewed

drinking beer on wine glasses

We decided to put a number of craft pilsners to the test, and rate them on aroma, taste, food pairing options, and bang for the buck. Without further ado, let’s meet the contenders!

The 14 Best Contenders List

2 glasses of beer to quench your thirst of alcohol
  • Sixpoint the Crisp
  • Firestone Walker Pivo Pils
  • Short’s Spruce Pilsner
  • Deschutes Pine Mountain
  • Avery Joe’s Pils
  • Victory Prima Pils
  • New Glarus Edel-Pils
  • Dogfish Head My Antonia
  • Sierra Nevada Nooner
  • Trumer Pils
  • Pikeland Pils
  • Summit Pilsener
  • Take-Two Pils
  • Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Sixpoint the Crisp

Sixpoint the Crisp on cans

​ABV 5.4
IBU 44

About the Beer

The Crisp from Sixpoint Brewery in New York is a pilsner that doesn’t skimp on the legitimate process. Tettnanger and Hallertau hops, imported directly from Germany, paired with its base of Cargill Pilsner Malt give this beer a hoppy floral aroma and a clean, crisp finish on the palette.

Aroma

  • Floral hops
  • Citrus
  • Caramel

Taste

  • Notes of cereal malt
  • Dry sweetness
  • Hoppy bitter finish

Best Pairing Options

The citrus and floral hoppiness will pair well with salads and greens, and the caramel and cereal malt will compliment nutty dishes beautifully.

Price

You can find Sixpoint The Crisp Pilsner for around $ to $$$ depending upon quantity purchased. The price is slightly higher than some other craft beer options but worth the price.

Where to Buy

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

​ABV 5.3
IBU 40

About the Beer

Walker Pivo Pils from Firestone Brewing in Paso Robles, California uses a combination of Hallertau, Spalter Select, and German Saphir hops to create a pilsner that’s floral and spicy with notes of bergamot and lemongrass.

Aroma

  • Grassy hay
  • Floral hops

Taste

  • Pale malts
  • Honey
  • Slight spice

Best Pairing Options

The maltiness and herbal notes will pair well with roasted meats, and the honey tones will compliment crusty bread well.

Price

Prices for Firestone Walker Pivo Pils range from around $ to $$ depending upon quantity purchased. Right in line with most craft brews sold in 6-pack to 24 case form.

Where to Buy

Short’s Spruce Pilsner

Short’s Spruce Pilsner

​ABV 9.3
IBU 85

About the Beer

This pilsner from Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, Michigan is full of spruce in both aroma and flavor. It’s brewed in the American Imperial Pilsner style, which creates a more hops forward taste and a higher alcohol content, but if you’re searching for a winter favorite, is one of the best on the market.

Aroma

  • Spruce tips
  • Berry
  • Caramel

Taste

  • Fresh spruce
  • Malt
  • Medium hoppiness

Best Pairing Options

The aromatic spruce, berry, and caramel will bring out the best in spiced fruit dishes, and the higher level of drying hoppiness with cut through the fat of a steak beautifully.

Price

Prices range from around $ to $$$ depending upon quantity purchased. Slightly higher, but in line with normal craft beer pricing.

Where to Buy

Deschutes Pine Mountain

Deschutes Pine Mountain

​ABV 5.2
 IBU 40

About the Beer

Pine Mountain Pilsner from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, is a classic example of a true German pilsner using Hallertau Mittlefruh hops, German lager yeast, and cold fermentation.

Aroma

  • Citrus
  • Grass
  • Floral hops

Taste

  • Earthy
  • Citrus
  • Spicy hops

Best Pairing Options

The earthy citrus notes will be a wonderful compliment to shellfish dishes, and the spicy hops flavors make a great pairing with mushrooms and pasta.

Price

Prices range from around $ to $$ depending upon amount purchased. It is standard in line with craft beer pricing and right in line with general craft beer pricing.

Where to Buy

Avery Joe’s Pils

Avery Joe’s Pilsner

​ABV 4.7
 IBU 50

About the Beer

This American Pilsner from Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado is as light to drink as it is on alcohol volume. A well-balanced flavor with a slightly sweet, dry aftertaste.

Aroma

  • Grapefruit
  • Light malt

Taste

  • Wheat malt
  • Grassy hay
  • Citrus

Best Pairing Options

The light effervescence of this pilsner will go well with a fruit and cheese plate, or any lightweight dish using nuts and greens.

Price

Avery Joe’s Pils can be purchased for around $ to $$$ depending upon quantity bought. Slightly higher, but still in line with craft beer prices.

Where to Buy

Victory Prima Pils

Victory Prima Pils

​ABV 5.3
 IBU 64

About the Beer

Prima Pilsner from Victory Brewing in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, is a classic German-style pilsner that incorporates Hallertau, Tettnany, Saaz, and Spalt Select hops with German malts to create a hop forward beer with a long dry finish.

Aroma

  • Earthy hops
  • Citrus
  • Honey

Taste

  • Grassy hops
  • Wheaty malt
  • Bitter spice

Best Pairing Options

The earthy citrus aroma and malty spice flavor will pair wonderfully with burgers, pizza, and any robustly flavored dish.

Price

Price generally runs from around $ to $$ depending upon amount purchased. A little higher, but well in line with craft beer prices.

Where to Buy

New Glarus Edel-Pils

New Glarus Edel Pilsner

ABV 5.3
 IBU 37

About the Beer

New Glarus Brewing’s Edel-Pils is a Bohemian Pilsner that’s brewed with Bavarian yeast, Wisconsin barley, and a combination of Bavarian and American hops to create a full, creamy beer with a smooth finish

Aroma

  • Cereal Malt
  • Sweet Grain
  • Citrus

Taste

  • Honey
  • Apple
  • Grassy Spice

Best Pairing Options

The creamy quality and earthy sweetness of this brew will pair well with beef or creamy cheese dishes.

Price

This is a rotating seasonal from New Glarus, so it may not be available year round.

Where to Buy

Dogfish Head My Antonia

Dogfish Head My Antonia

​ABV 7.5
 IBU 76

About the Beer

My Antonia from Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware, was born of a collaboration between their brewery and Birra del Borgo brewery in Italy. The result is an Imperial Pilsner that blends pilsner malt with Noble and West Coast hops, creating a crisp, citrusy lager experience.

Aroma

  • Light spice
  • Pale malt
  • Citrus

Taste

  • Crisp hops
  • Fruity malt
  • Spicy sweet

Best Pairing Options

The citrus aroma and fruity malts will pair well with oysters and shellfish, and the sweet spice and hops make it an excellent choice with lasagna and red sauce pasta dishes.

Price

My Antonia sells for around $ to $$$ depending upon quantity purchased. Priced slightly higher than some other craft beers, but worth the price.

Where to Buy

Sierra Nevada Nooner

Sierra Nevada Nooner

​ABV 5.2
 IBU 38

About the Beer

The Sierra Nevada in Chico, California has a history of producing great session beers, and Nooner Pilsner is no exception. A blend of German Perle, Saphir, Tettenanger, and Strisselspalt hops gives this pilsner a spicy, full flavor with a crisp, dry finish.

Aroma

  • Bready malt
  • Grassy hops
  • List Element

Taste

  • Mellow hops
  • Cracker malt
  • List Element

Best Pairing Options

This style of malty hoppiness will pair really well with salty meats like ham, or creamy cheeses like gruyere.

Price

Prices usually run from around $ to $$ depending upon amount purchased. Very similar to other craft beer prices.

Where to Buy

Trumer Pils

Trumer Pilsner

​ABV 4.9
 IBU 26

About the Beer

This pilsner from Trumer in Berkeley, California, is a German-style pilsner is crafted from German hops, malted barley, yeast, and water straight from the California Sierra snowpack to create a crisp, clean version of a long-time favorite.

Aroma

  • Yeast
  • Toasted grains
  • Stone fruit

Taste

  • Honey malt
  • Citrus
  • Grassy floral

Best Pairing Options

The honey malt and toasted grains will bring out the flavors of smoked meat and cheese trays brilliantly.

Price

Usually sells for around $ to $$ depending upon quantity purchased.

Where to Buy

Pikeland Pils

Pikeland Pilsner

​ABV 4.9
 IBU 44

About the Beer

The Pikeland Pilsner from Sly Fox Brewing in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is a German Pilsner brewed with German malt and German and Czech hops. Light and slightly fruity, it’s an easy pleaser for a variety of palettes.

Aroma

  • Grassy hops
  • Straw
  • Green apple

Taste

  • Bready malt
  • Light citrus
  • Sweet hops

Best Pairing Options

The earthy aromas of straw and green apple, in conjunction with the taste of bready sweetness, will be an excellent complement to light dishes like salads and fruit.

Price

Sly Fox’s Pikeland Pilsner generally runs around $ to $$ depending upon the quantity purchased. Completely in line with most other craft beer pricing.

Where to Buy

Summit Pilsener

Summit Pilsener

​ABV 4.5
 IBU 25

About the Beer

Summit Brewing’s Pilsener is a Bohemian-style pilsner brewed with Saaz hops and Monrovian barley that’s so good it won the silver medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.

Aroma

  • Grainy citrus
  • Soft Malt
  • Grassy hops

Taste

  • Cracker malt
  • Sharp hops
  • Peppery finish

Best Pairing Options

The earthy citrus aroma combined with the taste of pepper and hops will pair well with seafood stews such as a cioppino, or spicy dishes like gumbo or Fra Diavolo.

Price

Usually priced around $ to $$ depending upon the quantity purchased.

Where to Buy

Take-Two Pils

Take Two Pils

​ABV 5.5
 IBU 35

About the Beer

Sweetwater Brewing out of Atlanta, Georgia takes an irreverent step into the world of lagers with Take-Two Pils. This German-style brew is Bohemian in body and taste and a definite avant-garde pleaser in the world of pilsners.

Aroma

  • Sweet malt
  • Grassy hops

Taste

  • Crisp spiciness
  • Sweet malt
  • Mild citrus

Best Pairing Options

The malt and hoppy spice will pair well with burgers, beef stew, or any savory beef dish.

Price

Take-Two Pils retails for around $ to $$ depending upon quantity purchased. Similarly in line with most craft beer pricing.

Where to Buy

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

​ABV 4.9
 IBU 34

About the Beer

Samuel Adams’ Noble Pils is a blend of all 5 Noble Hops to create a spicy, citrusy, slightly herbal pilsner. The Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner Malt adds a character that results in a balanced beer without a lot of sweetness

Aroma

  • Spicy hops
  • Cracker Malt
  • List Element

Taste

  • Light citrusy floral
  • Bready malt
  • Soft body with light bitterness

Best Pairing Options

The bready malt and light floral citrus will be a wonderful pairing with grilled or roasted meats like chicken or fish.

Price

Prices range from around $ to around $$ depending upon quantity purchased. It is on the low range of craft brew prices.

Where to Buy

The Verdict

beers they drink to celebrate a special occasion

Beer, especially craft beer, is a subjective preference, as most people have their likes and dislikes when it comes to flavors and brewing styles. While the pilsner style of brewing is a classic favorite, the combinations of brewing formats and flavor play can be as varied and creative as the brewmasters themselves. We’ve discussed a number of pilsners in this article, but the ultimate judge is your taste buds, so take the time to savor whichever pilsners suit you and your palate best!

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