Category Archives: Pilsner

Stella Artois

rating_good64 points

To our panelist Amy, Stella Artois is more than a pale lager. It’s a reminder of good memories with her father.

The two of them would sit at a seafood bar at a nearby casino, enjoying plates of steamed Ipswich clams, cornbread and glasses of the Belgian pilsner.

stellaartoisIt’s nice to have precious memories like that, because the gold-rimmed glasses and bittersweet nostalgia can help you forget that you’re basically drinking Bud Light.

Maybe we’re being a little harsh on Stella. It’s not a bad beer. But when you have more to say about the gold-rimmed glass it’s typically served in than the beer itself…you’re not off to a great start.

Stella Artois has a long history, dating back to 1926 (pay no mind to the “1366” adorning the bottle.) But it’s now a mass produced product of Anheuser Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. So perhaps comparing it to Bud Light isn’t that far-fetched after all.

Stella Artois is nicknamed “wife beater” in the United Kingdom, due to a perception that it’s connected to binge drinking and domestic violence. As mediocre as this beer is, we certainly hope you have a better experience with it than that.

Our panelists took no exception to Stella’s clear golden color. It certainly looks refreshing, with lots of carbonation and a thin white head.

Accompanying that is a clean, crisp lager smell. Not overly impressive, mind you, but not bad…though one panelist picked up a bit of a metallic scent.

As you might expect from a mild, pale lager, the taste was crisp and refreshing, but the panel found it only slightly better than average. There really wasn’t much to say about the taste, and that’s where this beer is lacking.

It has a faint grassy taste with a bit of a sourness that one panelist noted as “lemony.” Don’t be intrigued by that, though — our panel really had to work to identify any discernable flavor characteristics.

One thing that was clear to us was that this beer needs to be consumed cold and quick — much like Rolling Rock. In fact, more than once during the tasting were the two beers likened to each other. Any warmth risks skunking this brew.

Aftertaste was average, with a dry finish. Panelists noted it as metallic and wheaty, with a slightly tart note of grapeskin/wine, and a faint bitterness.

As for drinkability, the panel agreed that it’s a light drinker that you could consume all night. It’s crisp and refreshing enough, for certain. But many of the panelists just weren’t impressed with the flavor — or lack thereof — to justify drinking much of it.

So overall, Stella Artois isn’t overly impressive. There simply are much better choices.

But it’s a decent enough to enjoy a couple of gold-rimmed glasses, while splitting a bucket of steamers with your Dad.

And if that leads to some wonderful memories, perhaps that makes the beer all that much better.

Buyer Beware: Stella Artois comes in 11.2-ounce bottles, instead of standard 12-ounce.

(Appearance 6.25, Smell 5.75, Taste 18.75, Aftertaste 11.75, Drinkability 21.5)

Continue reading Stella Artois

Cisco Summer of Lager

rating_fair57 points

Cisco Brewers’ website describes Summer of Lager as  “5.5% ABV, Bohemian Style Pilsner.” And that’s all they say about it.

Upon tasting the Nantucket-based brewery’s summer seasonal, the panel understood why. There just isn’t much to say about Summer of Lager other than, “It’s just beer.”

ciscosummeroflagerPerhaps that’s what Cisco was aiming for — an understated, simple, no frills beer. But our panelists felt that it was a little too unremarkable.

This brew had a nice clear golden color — a little darker than a typical lager — accompanied by a nice white head and lively carbonation.

Smell was a bit above average, with a strong aroma of what our panelists described as “beer.” While there were hints of lemon, the aroma was dominated by the grainy smell typical of a light lager.

Taste was only average, with no standout flavors. Summer of Lager finishes dry, with traces of a black peppery, slightly metallic aftertaste. But even on the aftertaste, the panelists unanimously agreed that the best summation was, “It’s just beer.”

This brew is light and refreshing — probably it’s biggest plus — but its underwhelming taste will probably have you seeking something else instead of an encore.

If you’re up for “just having a beer,” then you may find yourself grabbing one of Cisco’s Summer of Lager brews. But remember what you’re signing up for, because after all…this is “just beer.”

(Appearance 7.67, Smell 6, Taste 17.33, Aftertaste 10.67, Drinkability 15.67)

Continue reading Cisco Summer of Lager