Next up: The hop-heavy hitter, Victory Prima Pils trades blows with the malty-mangler, Gordon Biersch Czech-style Pilsner!
Victory Prima Pils (11) –
For an unacceptable amount of time, I hadn’t anointed my tongue with Prima Pils, and had let Sam Adams Noble Pils, in all its noble, hoppy glory, reign as the king of flavor town. One sip immediately caused a coup in my brain; the loyalists of Noble Pils lining up in the corpus callosum, the revolutionaries of Prima Pils meeting them head on, glasses in hand like clubs made of delicate stemware. Then it got ugly. German malts and delicious hops everywhere. There is still a great-schism in my mind, two factions constantly warring over the holy pilsner lands, clashing at least once a month when I stand in front of a refrigerated case struggling to choose a six-pack.
Prima Pils carries with it the Victory Brewing pedigree than can be enjoyed in a few of their other brews: HopDevil, Golden Monkey, Storm King. They have a reputation for going big with the flavors and never going home, staying all night to party it up with the most hedonistic beer enthusiast. The word “prima” is a proclamation of joy, excitement, and success in German, and is definitely something I recommend yelling, inappropriately loudly for wherever you are, when you drink a glass of this stuff.
Gordon Biersch Czech-style Pilser (12) –
Where Prima brings the weight, the seriousness, the raw-heft, Gordon Biersch keeps it light and simple. Gordon Biersch (who many of you might know from the very massively displayed “GB” signs outside the restaurants that pepper various states in the US) is an odd mix between craft and mass produced. Some of their beers have hints of technique and artistic culinary flair but then you find out that they also brew beer for Costco.
Their Czech-style pils is competent, but unapologetically plain. It tastes like a beer brewed by committee, who decided what the best flavor balance would be with reports and statistics, not with what hops and malts went into the brew kettle.
I don’t want to be mean to Gordon Biersh here; this pilsner is solid, tasty, perfectly refreshing on a hot day. It’s got a nice balance of subtle hops to mildly-sour malt and I quite enjoyed drinking it, and would drink it again.
But Prima Pils – holy shit – it’s like a battleship cruising the seas of taste. It fires 48, deeply bored cannons of perfect hop, blasting a hole of wondrous joy into the smoking ruins of your taste buds. Drinking this stuff is like convening with a deity whose sole purpose in the universe is to make your happy and warm your belly with perfectly executed post-beer-bloat. It is alpha, followed quickly by omega, followed quickly by alpha again as you pop off another top. This beer is good.
So, this wasn’t a really fair match up, but not much could stand up to the mastery of Prima Pils.