Everyday Yellow | ABV 5%
BJCP Style: German Pilsner
CraftBeer.com Style: German Pilsner
CraftBeer.com Sensory Style: Crisp & Clean
Brewery: Printer’s Ale Manufacturing Co.
City: Carrolton, GA
(A quick note on Sensory Style: A recent, very thought provoking article from CraftBeer.com (It’s Time to Rethink How We Talk About Craft Beer Basics) by Mirella Amato introduced the idea that separating beers into Ale or Lager categories really doesn’t help newer craft beer consumers determine what beers they may or may not like to try. Sensory Style is actually more informative. I tend to agree with this, so I have introduced CraftBeer.com’s Sensory Style categories, in addition to beer style, to help someone reading my reviews get quicker understanding of the overall experience they should expect from the beer. Sensory Style is divided into six broad categories: Sour/Tart/Funky, Crisp/Clean, Dark/Roasty, Malty/Sweet, Hoppy/Bitter and Fruity/Spicy. If you would like to explore these more on your on, you’ll find them here: CraftBeer.com Beer Styles. Go ahead and explore, you’ll find they work quite well.)
Appearance: Pale yellow, slightly hazy. Frothy white head with very good retention. Medium rising bubbles.
Aroma: Hops: floral and minty/herbal. Malts: cracker/grainy.
Flavor & Aftertaste: Delicate floral, lemongrass, spicy/minty flavors with short mild bitterness. Medium sweetness.
Palate: Light to medium bodied. Moderate length finish with a mild, lingering bitterness.
The German Pilsner (or Pilsener as it is sometimes spelled) beer is one of the most recognizable beer styles in the world. Considered part of the family of Pale Lagers, almost every region of the world put their own slight spin on it based on locally available ingredients; but to truly appreciate it, you have to go back to it’s birthplace of Germany. There, German brewers stick to the basics using tried and true old world brewing techniques to produce a highly drinkable, everyday beer that pairs well with many foods. German immigrants brought Pale Lagers to the United States in the mid-1800’s; however, they did not have access to the same barley and hops for base ingredients. They often used 6-Row vs 2-Row grains plus added rice or corn to soften the finish and American grown hops. Thus German Pilsner in America essentially morphed into what is now considered American-style Pale or Adjunct Lager. What many beer drinkers in the U.S. think of as a Pilsner style beer does not have the same distinguishing characteristics of German Pilsner: a malty, medium bodied dry beer with excellent head retention showcasing the elegant floral and spicy aromas/flavors of German hops, moderate bitterness and a crisp, clean finish. While the finest examples are imported from Germany, they are often not not particularly fresh once they reach retail shelves in America. Thankfully, American craft beer breweries are starting to branch out from their Pale Ale/ IPA roots to revive the true nature of this beer drinker’s beer. Being the German style beer enthusiast I am, I recently sought out and tried Carrolton, GA based Printer’s Ale Manufacturing Co.’s Everyday Yellow to see how it stacked up against some of my local favorites. I was not disappointed.
Printer’s Ale was established in 2017 by Greg Smith. Smith’s family immigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1880’s, where they brought their brewing skills with them. They later started a printing company in Pennsylvania, which is still operated by the family to this day. The family expanded their reach to Georgia in the 1980’s, opening a printing company in Carrolton, GA. Smith, who had been brewing beer since 1993, decided to turn his passion into a business by opening a local craft beer brewery. Of course, every quality brewery needs a skilled brewer and Smith found one in Josh Watterson.
While I had heard of the brewery via the local craft beer scene, it wasn’t until being contacted by Jessica Wasson from the brewery that I really took a closer look. When I consider reviewing a brewery, the first place I look is their lineup of Lager beers. As I’ve mentioned on this blog previously, I can really tell a lot about the quality of the brewery by how well they do Lager styles. Right away I noted they made a German Pilsner. Bing! Got to try that first! Once I sampled Everyday Yellow, it was easy to recognize the brewer was well versed in the style and had solid experience making it. I had to find out more about the person behind the beer. Like so many brewermasters in craft beer, Watterson was very gracious to take the time to reply to my questions. He obtained his certification in Brewing Technology via the World Brewing Academy. As part of this program, he spent time at the Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany. There is no better place to learn quality brewing techniques than in Germany. Everyday Yellow displays Watterson’s skills and expertise well.
One of the hallmarks of great German import beers is excellent head retention. Take any American Pale Lager and compare it to a German Pilsner and the first thing you’ll notice is how the head seems to stick around forever. It was one of the first things I noted about Everyday Yellow, the head was still there halfway through the glass. I asked Watterson how he obtained that kind of retention. He starts with an all German malts grain bill and by paying careful attention to important brewing characteristics of the base malt ingredients he orders. Additionally, he uses a small amount of wheat malt in the grain bill. It beefs up the proteins which help aid head retention and increase body with only a small sacrifice in clarity. German Hersbrucker hops provide a floral and herbal/minty aroma and German Merkur hops are used primarily for their excellent bittering and some additional aroma characteristics. By paying attention to the details, Watterson brews an excellent example of a German-style Pilsner that we can drink fresh and local.
When poured out, Printer’s Everyday Yellow shows off a nice fluffy white head with very good retention. This beer is obviously unfiltered, as you will notice a bit of cloudiness. It is also more of a straw yellow than the deep gold color you will see in most German imports. But don’t let that fool you, as it still has quite enough body to give it a nice mouth-feel. For aroma, I initially noticed delicate floral ones, along with a cracker-like malt; but I also noted some minty or herbal notes on my second glass. They may not jump out at you at first; but they are there. Flavors are spicy and bit of lemongrass. Bitterness is appropriately moderate, but clean and not aggressive. It finishes nicely crisp and dry with the bitterness lingering a short while before tailing off.
Printer’s appropriately named this beer Everyday Yellow, as it is a perfect beer to keep in the fridge for times when you don’t want to think too much about your selection, you just want something that tastes good, is subtle and drinkable, but still has character. As of this writing, it has not gained widespread distribution, I have to pick it up on the way from work, which is more toward the Carrolton side of Atlanta from where I live. If you are a fan of these style beers and live on the west side of Metro Atlanta, I highly recommend seeking this one out. It will not disappoint. Printer’s Ale makes a variety of beer styles (note the printer theme) including American IPA – Cyan, American Porter – Black and an award winning Saison – Heritage.
I’d like to thank Jessica Wasson of Printer’s Ale for contacting me regarding reviewing their beers, helping me track some down through Georgia’s ridiculous distribution system, and passing along my questions to brewmaster Josh Watterson. Thank you to Josh for taking the time to respond to my questions so thoroughly and giving me some great insight into how high quality craft beer is made.
Curious about German-Style Pilsners? If you don’t have access to Printer’s Ale Everyday Yellow, I recommend Ayinger Bavarian Pils, Paulaner Pils or Weihenstephaner Pils as some of the fine imports from Germany. Some excellent American craft beer versions: Victory Prima Pils, North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner, Bierstadt Lagerhaus Slow Pour Pils, or Firestone Walker Pivo Pils. Even better, check out your local breweries for German-style Pilsners and find out who makes the best near you.
Thanks for reading, until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!