Much ink has been spilled on Colorado beer, discussing at length hop varietals, yeast strains and an industry that continues to grow. When I took over this column, I had no intention to add to the discourse on beer, yet here I am. I couldn’t help myself.
With the Great American Beer Fest just a couple months away, I’ve been preparing. Thinking about what makes a good beer, let alone a perfect one. In an instance of fortunate timing, a local brewery topped a list of the best Pilsners in Colorado, so I thought I’d visit them to find out what made it perfect.
As part of its blind tasting series, ranking Colorado beers based on merits in an individual class, PorchDrinking.com released its list of the best Pilsners in Colorado. Out of 28 entries, only nine placed in the tasting, and only two of those Pilsners earned “Best in Show,” Denver’s Ratio Beerworks and Longmont’s Grossen Bart Brewery.
Grossen Bart’s German-style Pilsner is called “Perfect Pils,” so I dropped by the brewery to chat with owner Taylor Wise and brewer Kevin Paquette to find out what goes into a perfect Pilsner.
“Honestly, it’s the ingredients,” Paquette says. “We use only German ingredients, and you have to get the right yeast strain. From there it’s all about the execution.”
Pilsners are notably crisp and clean, a refreshing beer that’s easy to drink year-round. Grossen Bart’s Perfect Pils hits those notes and then some. The body is light, with a golden color and clarity to it that certainly adds to the appeal. The mouthfeel rests easy on the tongue, with enough carbonation to bring out the malty, biscuity flavors one should expect from a Pilsner.
I trust the judges that put the beer through its paces, but I’m inclined to agree. It’s a pretty perfect Pilsner.
“My rule is to keep it simple,” Paquette says. “Every step that you’re doing, you just pay attention to the details. I think a lot of brewers just overthink it.”
The name itself, a fortuitous coincidence, wasn’t even picked by brewery staff. A regular customer was sampling it while Wise and Paquette mulled over names.
“We were trying to come up with the name and he just looks at us and says, ‘It’s perfect’,” Paquette says.
“I thought, why don’t we just call it GB’s Perfect Pils,” Wise adds. “It ended up being pretty perfect, but that was all him. We didn’t actually name it.”
Pilsners aren’t Grossen Bart’s only notable brew. Last year, the brewery made it on the Best in Show list for PorchDrinking.com’s blind tasting of Colorado märzens, the German-style lager popularized by Oktoberfest.
“That was pretty badass,” Wise says.
Grossen Bart’s märzen returns in just a few weeks to kick off Colorado’s slate of Oktoberfest festivals, with the beer expected to be released by Sept. 3.
The brewery is also returning to the St. Brigit Celtic Festival in Frederick with its Irish red ale. The festival took a break during the pandemic, but returns Sept. 24 with beer and whiskey.
“We’ve been the main beer sponsor for that for a few years,” Wise says. “We haven’t decided if we’re going to pull out something classic or try something new.”
You won’t find Grossen Bart cans or bottles in your local liquor store, though a few kegs can be found on tap at bars around the county. Best to stop by the taproom in Longmont to sample Perfect Pils yourself and maybe take a crowler home for later.