Nestled near the border of Vermont is Littleton, New Hampshire, a town of about 6,000 that is home to Schilling Beer Company. Schilling is right on the Ammonoosuc River and sits near an amazing covered bridge. And, while I haven’t been yet, just looking at the pictures is more than enough to have added this place to my bucket list of breweries to visit.
Schilling is a “European-inspired small-batch brewery centered on family, community, and excellence” that has been brewing up great beers since 2013. Started by a trio of Michiganders, two of the founders are brothers who wanted to honor their late grandfather by naming the brewery after him.
My first experience with Schilling will be one of their highest rated brews - Alexandr, a Pilsner that has an easy going 5% ABV and costs about $11 for a four-pack of cans.
This Czech-style Pilsner poured a bright and translucent golden color with about two fingers of fluffy, but dense, white head building up. When you think of a classic beer color and pour, this is it. The head retention was quite good, as it very slowly faded away, coating the sides of the glass with a solid amount of lacing.
The aroma was bready and sweet malt through and through. Massive notes of crackers and biscuits led the way with just the tiniest bit of hops peeking out. The hops added a dash of citrus, mostly lemon, and a hint of bitterness. Underneath there are some grassy and floral characteristics too but it’s mostly dominated by the bready aspect of the smell.
My first sip was incredibly bright and very clean. It began with just a tiny fizzle of carbonation before a nice, sweet taste emerged. The sweetness was mostly from the lemon which immediately began to pop.
The grist quickly imparted those biscuity flavors with a dash of caramel, cutting into the citrus. Around the midway point, joining those bready characteristics were some light floral notes that softened it up even more.
On the back end, Alexandr ended pretty clean. There was a lingering dryness spurred on by a resinous grassy quality and some lemon peel pithiness. It resulted in a bit of a sticky feeling but nothing too bad.
Overall, this was a tasty Czech Pils. There’s a bit more of the hop profile than I was expecting but, for me, that just added to the flavors of the beer and made me enjoy it even more. If you’re not a fan of hops, it might be a tad more bitter than you’re used to.
But I really enjoyed my pint and can’t wait to score more of this one. There’s a reason it’s one of the highest rated Czech Pils on BeerAdvocate…it’s really good.