Saranac is one of the brands of beer made by F.X. Matt in New York state. I’ve had some other Saranac beers, most recently their Caramel Porter about a year ago, and I would say they’re decent. I was at Lukas putting together a mixed six-pack of warmer weather beers, since Spring seems to have finally settled in, and decided to give this one a shot. I’ve had some pretty good pilseners lately, including Boulevard’s test batch (reviewed previously) and Schlafly’s (also reviewed previously), so I was hoping to continue the run of good luck.
Saranac’s Bohemian Pilsener pours a yellow/straw color, just slightly hazy, with a nice, 1.5 inch head in a standard pilsener glass. For me, the aroma of this style of beer will forever take me back to the late 1970’s when my dad would occasionally share a little taste of his PBR or Lowenbraü, whether this is really what it smelled like or not! The classic Bohemian pilsener beer is Pilsener Urquell, if that helps reference the style for you. The aroma has some light, almost spicy hops but is primarily malty.
The flavors are tipped toward malty, although the Saaz hops do balance it out nicely early on. The later half of a sip, as well as the aftertaste, is somewhat “spicy” with more forward maltiness, and I get a little sourness on the finish. The sourness is almost more of a “feeling” than a flavor… my cheeks get that funny feeling like they would get with a sour beer, although this is not a true sour beer by any stretch of the imagination, nor should it be!
This is a nicely balanced beer, and really easy to drink and refreshing. I think it would pair well with seafood and fish, as well as some cuts of beef, even. At 4.8% ABV it’s a little strong to be considered a session beer, but it would be pretty easy to finish a few of these off without much trouble. I have really been into lighter beers and pilseners lately, and this is another good choice along with the ones I already mentioned. Maybe someday we’ll get Victory in the KC area, too, as their Prima Pils is another wonderful pilsener beer.