Last night saw the launch of two new beers from Stewart Brewing – their fairly new Dopplebock [sic] (7.0%) and their very new Pilsen (5.6%) – which was only bottled at the weekend following eleven weeks of conditioning. The BeerCast were invited along, so we turned up at the Windsor Buffet on Elm Row and joined in the fun. After a quick chat with Steve and Jo Stewart – not to mention a couple of complimentary pints of Holyrood – the pilsner came out for sampling.
It poured a nice pale gold colour with some haze, and had a pretty dominant hop aroma – some orange and even stone fruit on the nose, which was pretty unexpected. Of the two main branches of pilsner, Stewarts’ points very much down the Bohemian – Saaz rather than noble hops, but there’s no corresponding spice or earthy maltiness in the aroma. This continues in the taste – pretty hop-forward for a pilsner, but considering it had only been bottled a few days ago the ‘rawness’ is to be expected. The aftertaste is dry and bitter, with just a touch of malt.
This reminded me very much of the Appellation tasting we attended in May, where the then-new Dopplebock had just been bottled. That time it was also slightly unbalanced – but the tasting last night has proved how far it has come. With a couple of months under its belt the doppelbock is outstanding – full toasty flavours of malt, with just a touch of sweetness, and the 7% alcohol giving a warming finish. Compared with my tasting notes from back in May the difference was really noticeable, the flavours have really come together.
Turning back to the Pilsen, the consensus was that it’s a very drinkable, hoppy lager. It really doesn’t taste 5.6% at all – it could really sneak up on you in a session. Although it lacks some of the characteristic Bohemian maltiness at the moment, hopefully those flavours will come. The bottle design is almost identical to the doppelbock – we were debating whether this would cause confusion – but having a signature range in conjunction with the recently re-branded regular bottled lineup is a nice idea, and will hopefully mean more experimentation for Stewart Brewing in the future.
Thanks again to Steve and Jo for the invite to the tasting