257: West Coast Pilsner Roundtable With Firestone Walker, Highland Park, and Humble Sea


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West Coast pilsner is the subject of this month’s roundtable, and we’ve assembled a talented cast of brewers to further the discussion. From the Firestone Walker Propagator brewhouse in Venice, California, Sam Tierney returns to the podcast. Highland Park Brewery founder Bob Kunz joins from their location in Los Angeles. And from Santa Cruz, California’s Humble Sea Brewery, cofounder Nick Pavlina rounds out the panel.

The topic is West Coast pilsner, and each make excellent examples the style, from Highland Park’s award-winning Timbo Pils to Firestone Walker’s Welcome to LA and Humble Sea’s Santa Cruz Pils. Here, the brewers discuss:

  • the challenge in building body and structure to balance hop loads in the lean beer
  • simplifying malt bills and using domestic pilsner malt for higher attenuation
  • finding better hop expression through restraint in the dry hop
  • avoiding excessive malt complexity to allow the hops to shine
  • layering in lower-alpha hops to build texture and support the fruitier modern hop notes
  • selecting aroma hops for cohesion
  • managing hop creep
  • distinguishing West Coast pilsner from cold IPA and Italian-style pilsner

And more.

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