The Coney Island line of lagers are a series of beers made by Shmaltz Brewing Co., which also makes the Hebrew brand of beers. I picked up a 12-pack sampler of the Coney Island beers this summer and found a couple still hiding in my fridge, so it seemed like a review (albeit out of season) was in order.

The Mermaid Pilsner is a pilsner made from four hops and seven malts and I found it to be an easy drinker and a great example of a clean pilsner beer.

Coming in at about 5.0% ABV (according to BeerAdvocate… Shmaltz’s website is light on info!), Mermaid pours a fairly clear dark yellow color with a foamy head. I drank it from a pilsner glass, of course.

Aroma is clean and has a sweet, malty character. I thought of honey when I was smelling the aroma, although it isn’t brewed with honey nor does it have any honey characteristics in the flavor.

The beer has a nice amount of carbonation which makes it really easy to drink. It has a malt-forward, but well-balanced flavor, with a finish that is slightly bitter from the hops. This beer is REALLY easy to drink and just goes down great. It’s a nice thirst-quencher, and at 5%, you could drink a few of these without being in too bad of shape!

Mermaid is a really crisp beer with a surprising amount of complexity. Although it is well-balanced, there is a distinct difference between the malt-forward initial part of the sip and the hoppy end/aftertaste.

Initially turned off a little by Shmaltz’s corny schtick, I’ve found that their beers in both the Hebrew and Coney Island line are really well made, and I’m a fan. Mermaid is a great example of a pilsner and it should be a go-to beer in the warm months. This would be an excellent choice to have at a party for your non-craft beer drinking friends, too. Can you say “gateway” beer?

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