Beer Review: Dogfish Head's Piercing Pils

by The Drink Nation on Jan 6, 2014 in Beer
Beer Review: Dogfish Head's Piercing Pils

Piercing is perhaps a poorly prescribed peg for the latest entry into Dogfish Head’s seasonal lineup. The easy-going sipper, a perry-pils hybrid, picks up where the Delaware-based brewery’s popular autumnal release Punkin Ale leaves off, and precedes the rollout of Aprihop in the spring. Sure, it’s packed with a potent Saaz hops presence, but it’s far from penetrating enough to actually poke a hole in your tongue in the way that some super-bitter IPAs might.

Poured into a pilsner glass, the pear juice and pear tea inflected beer bears a light, golden-amber appearance with a little bit of cloudiness, and a fluffy white head that doesn’t linger for very long. As the head recedes, an unmistakable fruitiness and hop spiciness compete for your nose’s attention. Drinkers well versed in the canon of Dogfish Head’s off-centered ales may mistake this one-two punch to the nose for a slightly sour or acidic cider-like concoction. But that’s definitely not the case.

Though pear plays a prominent role, the 6 percent ABV brew is essentially a Czech pils, and has more in common with that style than a bastardized, perry-like beverage. There’s a complex, rich malty quality, the strong Saaz component, the delicate effervescence and soft mouthfeel, and rounded bitterness on the finish that defines Pilsen’s most prominent export. And while that pear quality fights for top billing in the aroma, thanks to the addition of pear tea, it’s much more subtle and restrained while going down. Just as this beer is no more piercing than Dogfish Head’s continuously-hopped imperial pilsner My Antonia, in terms of fruitiness, it can’t hold match to the aforementioned Aprihop.

Piercing? Hardly. Fruity? Barely. Crisp, complex and refreshing? Absolutely.

Here’s hoping we see this one again this time next year.

Photo: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery


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