About 16 miles south, southeast of St. Louis is the small village of Millstadt, Illinois. Residing in the village of just 4,000 people is Millpond Brewing - who has quickly made a name for themselves in the beer scene while remaining quite elusive and under the radar.
Millpond takes their name from their local history. The city used to have three mills that shared one body of water and, in the summer the whole city would swim, fish, have picnics, and hold family gatherings around this millpond.
Their focus is centered around improving their community, using local ingredients, and offering a variety of beers and styles...after all, as their name implies, they want it to be a place for the community to gather.
As a loooong time former resident of Illinois, I always love finding and trying new breweries from the state, so when I saw a few of their brews up for sale, I didn’t hesitate.
Today I have a Pilsner from them aptly called Czech Your Head. This Czech Pils was brewed with with Bohemian Pilsner and a heavy dose of Saaz hops. It has a decent 5% ABV and a single can cost me $6 (but I’m sure it’s cheaper if you’re actually in Illinois).
This Czech-style Pilsner poured a slightly cloudy golden straw color with just about a finger of head topping the liquid below. The eggshell white foam quickly fizzled down to a thin dusting with some minor accumulations around the edge of the glass.
On the nose, it was soft and subtle. The grains offered up light aromas of bread and cereal while the hops added a bit of bitterness and some citrusy and floral notes. Sitting underneath with the floral notes, was a honey quality that really sweetened the whole aroma. It was really well balanced and quite inviting.
Each sip begins with a quick fizzle of carbonation before the hops hit with some early bitterness. The Saaz giving off some notes of lemon zest and flowers right off the bat. However, that hoppy bite doesn’t last too long, as the grist comes in and sweetens up the beer shortly after.
The sweet honey slowly begins to move across my taste buds, along with some of the cereal-esque flavors from the grist. After a moment or two, the hoppy qualities have faded considerably and the Pilsner is a bit more crispy.
Czech Your Head fades out slowly but does leave a small lingering aftertaste - that citrus rind twinge from the hops. That small bitter flavor lasts for a few moments longer than everything else before finally fading out.
For me, it was a solid, very crushable, Pilsner. But, with that solid hop characteristic, I could see someone thinking it was a bit too hoppy.
But I think you should Czech it out for yourself and give this brew a try. It’s a very solid Czech Pilsner.