Matt Cottom reviews Flensburger Pilsner
A more classically German beer I have not seen. The name is very German, the swing-top bottle and labelling is very German and as a Pilsner made to the strict German Reinheitsgebot brewing purity laws, I would have to assume the taste is very German also. Well, no need to assume anymore as I found a bar that sells it, I purchased a bottle, and drank the blighter. So, let’s see shall we?
Ignoring the fact I didn’t get to open the swing-top myself (thus missing out on the ‘theatre’ surrounding the pour, but that’s ok), I set about giving Flensburger the once over. Pouring reveals a pale straw, golden, shimmering lager with a lively sparkle and a clean white head which didn’t hold up too well.
First impressions of the smell were of a very clean, pure beer where you can almost compartmentalise each ingredient. First up is an earthy whiff of fresh yeast which leaps up your sinuses. This is followed by a pleasant and sweet malt, and finally by a mildly spicy tang of hops. Unlike some beers of this type however, the hops are not exactly stand out, usually in Pilsner the hop is the first off the mark and takes centre stage. Overall the smell is rich, warming and deep.
Next is the small matter of the drink itself. My first impressions were of a dry, slightly tart taste with a tang of sharpness on the tongue. I also noted there was very little impression left by the mouth-feel, which I found to be uninspiring and to be honest, almost non-existent. Unlike the aroma, there is a very prevalent taste of hops in the Flensburger. This is more like the Pilsners we know and love; there is a proper slap in the face of hops which basically overpower everything else. It has the tang of citrus fruit but not really the taste. As I drank more, the flavours settled and I started to get a bit more from the malt, which began to creep in and create a slightly bready character at the back of the throat. In fact if you lick your lips after a big swig, that is where you will find the sweetest character throughout the drink.
Flensburger is a strange old drink; the smell is almost the exact reverse of the taste. In some ways I like this beer for its no frills simplicity. The liquid is crisp and pure and has a good refreshment factor. This is a good quality example of the Pilsner type and a brilliant ambassador for what German lager is all about, for me personally it is perhaps a little too dry tasting overall, but in general the Flensburger is well worth a look if you see it out and about.