Elder Pine Brewing & Blending, out of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was opened on a family farm and focuses on classic styles with a modern twist. And, while they focus on “hop-saturated IPAs, farmhouse ales, dark beer, and barrel-aged sours”, these guys make some of the best lagers and light beers in the country.
Objectively, they also have some of the coolest labels I’ve ever seen…which is honestly what drew me into trying their beers in the first place.
Today, I have one of their lighter, but limited offering, brews - a “Southern Hemisphere Pilsner” called Oceanic that was brewed with floor-malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt and a pair of New Zealand hops (Riwaka & Vic Secret). It has a 5.2% ABV and a single 16-ounce can was a bit pricier, at $7.
There is a light haze to this otherwise golden hued Pilsner. It’s clean and translucent towards the bottom of the glass but, as you work your way up the glass, it becomes a little foggier while still retaining most of that golden straw color. When it was poured very little head ever appeared. No more than half a finger of pure white head topped the beer and, almost immediately, all that remained was a razor thin line of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
Oceanic was sweet and grainy with a blend of aromas. There was a strong biscuity and bready quality that led the way. But peeking out were also some fruit characteristics, like lemon, pineapple, and green grapes. It was one of the most interesting smelling Pilsners I’ve ever come across.
Each sip begins with a rush of carbonation and a sweet cereal-like breadiness that covers the tongue before allowing all the other flavors to break through. And break through they do; as there is a jolt of citrusy and fruity sweetness moments after.
The white wine grapes strike first with some dry brut notes. But following right behind is a massive juicy burst of kumquat and pineapple that also packs a bit of acidity to it. Some light tart citrus notes can also be picked up here and there but, for the most part, the flavor is dominated by the pineapple and grapes.
On the backend, the grist makes one final appearance with a pop of biscuity malt, but it’s not nearly enough to overtake the pineapple. However, the two remaining flavors are left to duel it out for a moment before the malt subsides to the tropical fruit flavors.
Then the beer ends quite cleanly. There is a dash of dryness from the Vic Secret hops and a touch of pithy citrus peel left lingering but it’s very minor. It’s incredibly crushable and perfect for the hot summer days ahead.
Oceanic is simply a phenomenal Pils. I might have higher regards for it because of the hoppier qualities but the Riwaka and Vic Secret add a lot to this beer without making it overly bitter or hoppy. It’s an insanely easy to drink beer that can satisfy IPA lovers as well as lager lovers. Almost like a session IPL or Cold IPA.