This is a black Pilsner. Yes, I know, a black Pilsner. What will the crazy kids at Camden come up with next? The idea behind it is quite simple; what if their Hells lager went to the dark side? Execution is slightly more complex, as they wanted the colour without too much roast flavour coming to the fore.
To help keep their dark-but-still-Pilsner plans on track, they added Premiant hops from the Czech Republic and Motueka from New Zealand. Throw that in with a lager yeast and finish off with some dry hopping for good measure. Simples. But does it work?
It’s a 330ml bottle and is 4.8%. It poured black with a frothy mocha head. The aroma was pleasant: a subtle mix of fresh coffee, a little malted bread and a slight roast tang. The beer itself was crisp with clean, distinct flavours. Sweet malt and coffee quickly gives way to a surprisingly dry, lemon-tinged aftertaste.
Sometimes these experiments fail to come off-they look better on paper than they fare in practice. However, this beer is an unqualified success. I really enjoyed it. Somewhat reminiscent of a Schwarzbier, it has a good balance of flavours. But its trump card must be the dry hopping which imparts a very satisfying dryness and makes for a very easy drinking experience.