This one’s a gold medal winner. And not by my review, but by the Beverage Institute’s World Beer Championships of 2009. Anxious to put my yet-to-be-used pilsner glass to good use, I poured this Capital brew with anticipation. Pouring gently, but not timidly, the brew still gathered a nice puffy, white head just about 2 fingers high. It capped in the center, like a mound of yeasty cotton candy, before settling into a thin layer of suds. The carbonated mixture showed bubbles racing rapidly through the thin, tall glass, rushing with purpose in the straw-yellow liquid. Gold around the edges, it seemed almost majestic, a simple, confident choice. The yeast was predominant on the nose, a pleasant bready sourness with a tinge of lemon and grass. It tasted more complex than I thought it might, mistakenly anticipating the brightness and carbonation to be something more akin to a ‘light’ beer than what it turned out to be. It was actually well supported with malts, making it substantial and smooth. A core of earthiness was present, toning only slightly with the aid of a lemon-grass spiciness. The finish was bready and refreshing, allowing me to take several deep swigs before realizing the trailing head was telling me I was over halfway through my glass.

There are so many bad light beers out there, that look so similar to this great product from Capital, that my preconceptions had pegged it as a boring, simple, best-served-cold-as-ice kind of brew. I was delighted to be proven wrong by this pilsner, a complex, well-built German style beer that tasted great as a standalone, but would be a knockout on a warm summer’s day, washing down a nicely grilled cheeseburger.