Man, this is going to be a weird review. I've never drank a beer where my opinion has changed so many times through the course of the bottle. It's such a strange sensation. This must be what it feels like to be Theresa May - to think one thing, say another and then have a completely different opinion five minutes later. Strong n' stable and all that though, eh?
I'm not a massive pilsner fan. I can take or leave them - I just find them a little... predictable these days, owing to the numerous other far more interesting styles that are out there. I mean, they're fine, in the same way that I'll eat Walkers Stax given the chance, but they're not Pringles are they? Well, are they?! No, and don't ask daft questions again.
So pilsner is fine, if you can't get anything better. What it is good for though, is quenching a thirst, without being too offensive. So better than Loch Lomond Brewery's Bonnie n'Blonde then. And this particular pilsner is... well... it's...
...and this is where the confusion comes in. I'm still trying to work out my opinion on this beer. I like it. I think. Maybe...
Nah, I do like it. I think.
I'll try to clarify, if I can. When I cracked the bottle and poured the contents into a glass, I was pleasantly surprised. It pours a lovely amber colour, maybe a little hazy, but nothing like the soup that is my homebrew (i.e. dishwater). There's a negligible head on the beer, which doesn't bother me too much - foam on a beer is fine, but it's never been the big seller for me. I'm more interested in the taste. So, yeah - so far, all good.
Then I take my first swig and... it... all... goes... a... bit... beige? I'm initially thinking, "nah, this isn't for me". It's bland, it's maybe a touch too sweet for a beer. Malty, though. And I settle in to finish what could be the most disappointing beer, since Bonnie n'Blonde earlier today.
...and then - something wonderful happens. I'm not sure if it's exposure to air. Or the temperature change. Or if the first sips-worth (an official unit of measurement) is just foul. But the beer starts to taste... nice. I'd even say that I like it. Really like it. To the point where I could drink it again.
And further sipping reveals even more character to the beer. There is a malty sweetness there, but I can taste the bitterness of the hops now, enough to counter the malt. And I definitely get a smokiness there too - sort of like Hoegaarden, but not as overwhelming. And the texture - jeez, I feel like I could bite a chunk off and chew on it. It's awesome. So smooth and silky and thick. Alright, I'm overexaggerating slightly - it's hardly treacle, but it definitely has a certain ...something to it, that warms the cockles of your heart as it slides down your throat. And as weird as it sounds, there's a warmness there too, even when this is fresh from the beer cellar... er, shed. It's not physically warm - it's just a feeling of comfort or something.
So there you have it. If ever there was an argument against judging someone (someone in this case being a beer) on first impressions, then it's Hardywood Pils.