Trumer Pils, a traditional take on the classic German Pilsner style lager made in the Bay Area, launches in Southern California next week with special events around town, but you might want to exercise some caution when trying the beer for the first time.
Europe has long produced the worlds finest pilsner beers, but the crisp and hoppy lagers are notorious for not traveling well. The style is so light and delicate that flaws and mishandling can quickly manifest in the aroma and flavor, and the months that can elapse between when the beer is brewed in Germany or the Czech Republic and when the bottles finally land on American shelves are not kind to the style.
Bucking the trend of craft breweries that create a lengthy list of different styles and seasonal releases, the Trumer brewery in Berkeley focuses all its energy on making just the single style. Trumer Pils is made with traditional ingredients imported from Europe and with an eye toward perfecting the brewing process, making a beer that perfectly matches the Austrian original and keeping fresh beer in the marketplace.
Somewhat contradictory to the brewery's focus on quality is its use of traditional green glass bottles to package the beer. Light is one of beer's greatest foes -- especially hop-forward styles like pilsners -- and even brief exposure to UV light will cause a chemical reaction in the hop acids present in beer, rendering the brew "skunky."
The musky and foul notes of MBT -- the same chemical present in skunk spray -- are well-known to most beer fans, and while brown bottles block most of the harmful UV rays, clear and green bottles are notorious for holding skunky beer. Even the fluorescent light from the beer cooler in a store or bar can negatively affect a beer's flavor.
Trumer Pils is an excellent example of a traditional German pilsner, and the style is a perfect match for a balmy spring day, but the last thing you want is to get a skunked bottle of the beer when first trying it. Your best bet for trying Trumer Pils is finding it on draft locally, and if you want to take home some bottles, brewmaster Lars Larson suggests buying sealed 12-packs to minimize the beer's exposure to light.
Trumer Pils is now available at beer retailers and select draught accounts across Southern California.