Round 1 of Pilsner Madness pits the seasonal brew turned mainstay, Sam Adams Noble Pils, versus the Turkish powerhouse, EFES.
I know that a traditional bracket works by putting the first seeded team versus the last seeded team in hopes of having a final of the first seed versus the second seed, but I never liked that idea. It seems unfair to the lower seeds. Every seed deserves the chance to grow.
To buck tradition, I’m doing a linear bracket, where 1 faces 2, 3 faces 4, and so on. The full bracket looks something like (or exactly like) this:
Sam Adams Noble Pils (1) – Noble Pils started life as the Boston Beer Company’s Spring seasonal in 2010, but was promoted to a mainstay of the Sam Adams brand (meaning it is available year round) in 2012. It was replaced by the new Spring seasonal, Alpine Spring.
I’ve already reviewed this beer and it’s impressive. When properly chilled and poured, this is height of drinkability: a complex but refreshing hop bundle, crisp finish, very little bitterness, and flavor that could beat the hell out of a lot of ales. The hop-heavy bouquet is a little odd for a traditional pilsner, but the pale bohemian malt really helps balance out what might be an overwhelming aroma and taste from all five noble hot varieties.
EFES (2) – EFES Pilsener is the flagship of the EFES beer brand, the number one beer in Turkey, and the main sponsor of the Turkish basketball team, Anadolu Efes S.K.
I’d never had this beer until I started my search for a bunch of different pilsners. The name and simple label caught my eye initially, and its popularity in Eurasia made it seem like a worthy beer to add to the list. Similar to some large production American beers, EFES adds rice during the brewing process which is claimed to give it a “unique” flavor.
Noble Pils starts this match out strong, pouring a deep golden color with a fresh, pleasing aroma on top of a thick white head. EFES comes out onto the field weak and confused, like it wasn’t ready to play today. The grass and cereal aroma dissipates into the March air as quickly as the small white head, barely lasting long enough for photographers to get any action shots.
Sam Adams strikes first: hops pass the flavor onto malts who come running up from the back field to score crucial flavor points. EFES tries to counter, but just kind of sits there smelling like corn. Sam Adams scores again as EFES tries to build an attack with a taste that is oddly reminiscent of chewing on the wrapper of a day-old bran muffin.
This game is painful to watch. Noble Pils keeps rocking the goal posts and the EFES defense and keeper aren’t even looking in the right direction. This sort of match up makes you wish there was a mercy rule in beer-sports.
And that’s the game folks: Sam Adams Noble Pils – 45, EFES – 0. This is proof that a large number of sales in Turkey doesn’t necessarily mean quality.