16 March 2016 - Best Beer HQ
Schipper’s Mistress Pilsner review
The bottle: On a recent trip to the bottle store for a new craft beer to try I was so overwhelmed by the number of choices of offer that I turned to my long-suffering wife, who was getting impatient with me for taking so long to decide on a beer, and said: “I can’t choose. There are just so many good ones. You choose something that looks good.”
She scanned the shelves for a moment, taking all the beer labels in, then reached for a bottle of Schipper’s Mistress Pilsner. Why did she choose this one? Because she loves foxes.
To be fair to her, though, she also knows I love pilsner, and the animated fox on the label does look pretty eye-catching. Here’s hoping the beer inside is as good.
Blurb on the bottle: This is the brew you don’t take home to meet your mum and dad. It’s a feisty, peppery pilsner that will remind you why you fell in love with beer in the first place. Just don’t marry it.
Malts: lager, gladiator
Hops: wakatu, pacifica
Yeast: lager yeast
Schipper’s: In 2011 freelance photographer (ie. underemployed) Niels Schipper decided to make some beer in his laundry. With a chilly bin, a tea urn, and a lot of trial and error, he finally emerged with a great beer that was worthy of a big New Zealand brewing prize.
Next thing you know, Niels is a full-time brewer with a range of craft beers in stores, including the Scallywag Rich Amber Ale, Chinook Pale Ale, Boffin Bitter, and this one, Schipper’s Mistress Pilsner.
Taste: Wet. Crisp. Refreshing. Like that moment at Piha when you finally plunge your feet into the cool water after running across the blistering black sand. I should know; it was on the way back from this west coast Auckland beach that I stopped in a liquor store to buy this craft beer.
It tastes peppery – as promised on the label – but it’s not as hoppy as I expected. When you describe your beer as “feisty” and warn that it’s the “brew you don’t take home to meet mum and dad” I would naturally assume that it would have bit more of a hoppy bite. Still, it certainly packs more punch than your stereotypical pilsner – Pilsner Urquell, say, or the house-made stuff I sometimes drink on tap at Brothers Beer in Auckland.
This isn’t one of those new-age “fruity” pilsners that you see me write so many reviews about; nor is it strictly an old-school European-style pilsner. I think Schipper’s Mistress Pilsner is its own beast – a slightly spicy, slightly hazy, crisp and refreshing pilsner that should please everyone.
Well, you can’t please everyone, of course, so let’s just say most discerning beer drinkers will be happy to give this one a whirl.
Is it the best beer ever? It’s not a bad drop, but it’s not my favourite Kiwi craft beer pilsner. Not even close. Currently, I still rank the Beachstone Pilsner by Bach Brewing as my favourite, with the pilsners from Liberty Brewing and Panhead also featuring somewhere in my top three or five.
Having said that, now that I’ve enjoyed a bottle of Schipper’s Mistress Pilsner, I’m fired up about trying some of the other beers this Kiwi craft brewery has to offer. Hopefully watch this space for more from them (and if you happen to work there, feel free to send me some beer!).