(Yes, I am aware that the basketball tournament is over. The pilsners are still fighting it out anyway!)
Today, Northern California’s Laguintas Pils throws some ‘bows at its slightly northern neighbor, North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner.
Laguintas Pils (9) – Laguintas brewing has been on non-literal fire since it was founded in 1993. Led by the presumably pretty quirky Tony Magee (who wanted to open the Languintas Chicago Brew Pub early so that patrons and beer lovers could watch the adjacent brewery being built in near-real-time), Languintas is now in the top 20 Craft Beer Club with a yearly distribution of about 106,000 barrels.
As anyone who has ever held a bottle of their brew knows, Laguintas likes eye-catching names, labels, and flavor text. Their pilsner, brewed in the traditional Czech style like a few of our other competitors, has this blurb on its label: “…Ales and Lagers are as different as can be. Still, we must love each for who they are, separately but equally, with liberty, and justice, for all. Cheers!”
North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner (10) – Most beer enthusiasts only know North Coast Brewing for their incredibly well crafted (and incredibly well reviewed and tasted) Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. If you’ve never had it, if you’re not really a stout person, or an imperial person, or a dark beer person, even if you’re really into depriving yourself of good things, you should go try this beer. It’s one of those benchmark beers; once you’ve had it, your perception of the very beer universe (beerniverse?) might change.
But in the shadow of Old Rasputin, North Coast has 18 other beers in its lineup. That’s like, Sam Adams level of variety. The Scrimshaw Pilsner shows their technical expertise, it is perfectly clear, well balanced, and spiced right up with a little bit of Hallertauer and Tettnang.
These two middle seeds are not messing around. They might not have the per-year barrel volume to compete with some of the craft beer giants, but their skill in brewing is practiced, professional, and mouth watering.
Both pour nearly the same color, pale golden yellow, like a late-season wheat field catching the final rays of a lounging summer sun. Both produce a small head that leaves popped bubble residue hugging the top rim of the glass. If I took the bottles away, it would be nearly impossible to decide which beer was which on appearance alone.
Scrimshaw hits hard with a much stronger (and more pleasant) hop aroma, reminding me a gently hopped ale more than a pilsner. Laguintas by no means smells bad but it has a significantly more malt forward smell to it, like some of our contenders in the previous few match ups.
And then beer hits lips and angels sing and the world finds peace. Scrimshaw bites at the tongues a little bit, but is relatively simple in the depth of its flavor. Laguintas is significantly more complex (the extra malt zing works well here) and it finishes so crisp and refreshing that I find myself cracking another one before I’m even finished with the first one.
Behind the scenes, I score these beers (or should say, scored, past tense, when I drank them) based on presentation, smell, and taste. These two tied. I didn’t think I’d have a tie. I have no tie-breaker. Oops.
I did the only thing I know how to do: I left it up to Google. It’s like flipping a coin that has been silver-plated with the weight of the analytics hive-mind.
Laguintas Pils: 22700 results
North Coast Scrimshaw Pils: 2080 results
The Googles have spoken. Winner: Laguintas Pils. These are both great beers though, highly recommend either (or both!) for Spring and Summer time outdoorsy type things.