Tag Archives: pilsener

Bowen Island Cove Lager

The Bowen Island pub occupies a lovely little spot of British Columbia. The island is quite out of the way, which is part of its charm, but still accessible enough from Vancouver to easily constitute a day trip. There’s water, mountains nearby, thick forest with woodpeckers, ducks – and in Snug Cove, the main town on the island, there’s beer.

The Cove Lager is an interesting brew. Apparently produced to a recipe designed by the publican, the actual beer is brewed off site at Sleeman’s then imported back to the island. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense intuitively, but it does economically – and that’s what the bartender said. It’s brewed at one of the nation’s biggest breweries, way off on the mainland where the malt is, but to an original recipe the island can call its own.

This light lager beer is blonde gold and clear. It has little head and zero aroma; faint bready malt and light, flat lavender notes. It’s almost a flavourless, maltless beer, but does taste clean and dry. You know the words: inoffensive, like sex in a canoe. A very plain beer for its origin story and ultimately a disappointment. Would be OK on a hot day. Slightly more flavour than Bud Light.

I drank this beer on draught at the Bowen Island Pub, British Columbia.

Panhead Port Road Pilsner

Panhead Custom Ales are a kiwi collective exporting ales and a single lager over the ditch to Australia. They’re based near Wellington and are pretty well-regarded in their home country, recently placing second in the NZ Society of Beer Awards. I would love to get my hands on their Vandal NZ IPA, but I haven’t seen it around here.

In the meantime I had to settle for their Port Road Pilsner. Right off the bat, this wasn’t a terribly enjoyable beer. It looks the goods, a nice clear pale straw colour and fine white bubs. A New World hop aroma was present, backed up by robust saaz-y spice. It smelled a little alluring, nontraditional hoppiness, but still clean. Mouthfeel was spot on for a pilsner; no complaints there. Unfortunately the flavour threw me right off. The lager was unbalanced, acrid and firmly bitter. It reminded me of a muted pale ale I brewed last year – in a bad way.

A nice lemony smoothness rode along with the bitterness, giving the drinker something else to chew on if so inclined. European Pilsners were hopped much higher in the past and I think that’s where the Port Road Pils is trying to fit in, but overall it was far too dry and caustic for me. So alas, on the whole a little unsatisfying, but I’m still keen on that Vandal NZ IPA … if I can ever get my hands on it.

I drank this beer at the Terminus, Fitzroy North.