North Coast Scrimshaw: The paragon of domestic lager redemption

Scrimshaw, North Coast Brewing, California Pilsner, 4.4% Those who know me as a beer drinker know, first and foremost, that I’m a dark beer girl. It’s nut browns at baseball games and schwarzbiers on the beach for me, please. I also require a healthy dose of hops here and there, along with the terrible brettanomyces funkiness of sour ales.

 Although I gravitate toward big, bold, deep, dark, extreme beer, there are certain occasions when a girl needs the refreshing goodness of a clean pilsner. In those times I turn away from my muddy brew fixation, yet I am not afraid. North Coast Scrimshaw fulfills the need for a light bodied, European-style pilsner without leaving me wanting for flavor.

Scrimshaw pours into a tapered pilsner glass with exuberant and rapid carbonation. Yet, after half a minute, the bubbling brew has subsided and the two inch crown of head has reduced to a thin white ring.

A brilliant orange body gives off earthy aromas of fresh cut grass with the slightest traces of baking bread. The initial flavors are fresh and unaltered, like healthy organic cereal. This pleasant, no sugar, no additive, no nonsense flavor is followed by the spicy bite and dry finish of traditional German Hallertauer and Tettnanglager hops. Unlike most domestic pilsner-style beers, there is no sweet corn aftertaste, which results from North Coast’s commitment to all-malt, adjunct-free grain recipes.

North Coast Brewery’s product line includes many great masterpieces in ale making: Reudrich’s Red Seal, Le Merle Saison, Brother Thelonious, Old Rasputin, and Cru D’or. But to a certain extent, an American microbrewery that can deliver an excellent ale is common. The thing that sets North Coast apart is the brewery’s ability to craft a truly stellar lager.

In a market where the majority of mainstream brews are lagers, absolute garbage lagers, beer snobs like myself can experience a slight personal or social aversion to the dreaded bottom fermented style. North Coast Scrimshaw reminds me that it’s ok to go light.

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