Pounding Pilsners

Victory Prima Pils

Victory Prima Pils

I realized the other day I write in a lot of places. Here, new SOB, EVF, Screenlight, Avid and soon to be maybe more locations. All the while my original site, this one, that’s dedicated to my journey into, through and around [craft] beer gets pushed aside. My bad, y’all.

Enough about my writing tendencies; I’m here because I actually have something beer-related to write about.

The past two-ish months I’ve had more Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, MGD and many other light American Lagers/low-grade Pilsners than probably the past three years combined. Don’t ask. It got me thinking that I’ve never really been into Pilsners. And I think like a lot of beer drinkers it took having other styles to actually get into beer. Even today I don’t love Pilsners. They just remind me of college.

I picked up a variety case of Victory for $28 from Costco last week. I saw it and thought it was a steal! $1.17 a bottle…Doesn’t get too much better in the craft realm. Six of the 24 bottles are Victory’s Prima Pils (the one in the picture above).

Prima Pils is a German Pilsner. To my surprise it gets a 91% on BeerAdvocate but only a 3.45 on Untappd. But pretty much everything gets around a 3.5 on Untappd so take that with a grain of salt. To me, it’s a “decent beer.” Yes, hard-hitting analysis on this one. It’s light and if it was a little warmer out I think I’d enjoy it more.

According to BJCP a German Pilsner should have the following:

  • A light grainy Pils malt character and distinctive flowery or spicy noble hops
  • Straw to light gold, brilliant to very clear
  • Crisp and bitter, with a dry to medium-dry finish
  • Medium-light body, medium to high carbonation

IMO, this beer hits the first three bullets almost perfectly. For me and for this bottle, well I don’t really know how to classify “medium-light body.” I’m not really sure how much lighter or thinner this could go. This bottle was not anywhere close to medium, let alone high, carbonation either.

So there you go! My not-so hard-hitting analysis on Victory Prima Pils. Give me a break… I’m just getting back into this beer writing thing.

Have you had Prima Pils before? Ever been to Victory? Leave me some comments so I don’t lose track of this site!!

Power Hour: Nitro Beers

Power Hour is a new segment where I will spend exactly one hour answering a question or writing about a topic. It can be on beer, writing, myself, anything. You can submit a question anytime by leaving it at the bottom of a post or sending it privately to me here.

Start the clock! It’s time for another Power Hour. In one hour I will answer a question/write about a topic and post it. Questions about what? Anything. I’ll stick to beer for the most part but I’m game to answer any questions you have on life, writing, video, etc.

What are Nitro Beers?

When kegged beer is poured from a tap it is carbonated on the spot through CO2. This is true for 99% of kegged beer (the typical beer you get off a tap at a bar). However, N2 or Nitrogated beer (Nitro beer) is starting to grow in popularity. Instead of CO2 the beer is carbonated with N2. The most famous Nitro beer is Guinness. Nitro beers are much creamier and have less of a bite to them. They coat your mouth leaving you wanting more. You can usually spot the Nitrogen taps by the downward-facing black plastic (I think plastic) nozzle the beer flows from instead of the angled metal tap head.

What I enjoy about Nitro beers is that they are different from your typical ales. They aren’t quite at the level of Sours in terms of weirdness but it’s always fun to try something different. Heck, trying a Nitro beer might make for a good Beer Mission if you’ve never had one before.

My Nitro Beer History

Nitro beers typically are Stouts, but they don’t have to be. Stouts tend to be creamier to begin with so why not accentuate that attribute? Who wants a creamy pale ale?

That’s what I thought until last week when I had my first non-stout Nitro beer, Nitro Pale Ale by Founders at Glass Half Full. It was amazing. I never thought a light, hoppy beer would taste good with the consistency of a liquidy milkshake. Go find some!

Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout is another great one to try. If it wasn’t for my deep love and history with Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout I’d have to say Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout is my favorite Stout (and may be beer). At a beer club I hosted a few months ago this beer was very well received, even by non-dark beer lovers.

Speaking of Duck-Rabbit, did you know that if you look at their logo you can see a duck AND a rabbit? I didn’t know that until today and my mind was blown!

Nitro beers are growing so that Left Hand is trying to trademark the term. IMO it’s a term describing the beer, like a style or brewing method therefore it should be free to use by all. But playing devil’s advocate I don’t think another brewery could come along and brew a 60 Minute IPA even if they brewed it the same way as Dogfish Head.

A couple Nitro beers to try would be Guinness (of course), Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout and Founder’s Nitro Pale Ale. I have heard great things about Left Hand’s Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout Nitro but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.

To sum up, Nitro beers use N2 to carbonate their beers instead of CO2. They are not beers you drink while watching professional wrestling. Wasn’t there something to do with Nitro and pro wrestling some time ago? Was it a show? That would be a lot funnier if I knew the reference. There are some great Nitro beers to try and they aren’t all Stouts. Nitro beers are growing at a fast rate and don’t be surprised to see more and more of them. Go seek out some Nitro beers!

As always these Power Hours are written, formatted and posted in one hour. That means I’m going to leave out a bunch of information. That’s where I need you! Share what you know about Nitro beers. What Nitro beers have you had that were good? Which ones were bad? What Power Hour topics do you want to see in the future?

Thanks as always for reading! I deeply appreciate any comment, like, share that you give this post or anything here on Short On Beer. If you’d like to never miss a new post or update you can subscribe to the email list at the bottom of this page. Cheers!

For more information on Nitro beers, Craftbeer.com has a good, quick writeup here.

Power Hour: What is craft beer?

Power Hour is a new segment where I will spend exactly one hour answering a question. The question can be on beer, writing, myself, anything. You can submit a question anytime by leaving it at the bottom of a post or sending it privately to me here.

Start the clock! This is the first Power Hour. In one hour I will answer a question and post it. Questions about what? Anything. I’ll stick to beer for the most part but I’m game to answer any questions you have on life, writing, video, etc.

Why? Well as I wrote about earlier this week I’ve been having a hard time just writing and posting. It’s not writer’s block. Maybe it’s laziness. Who knows? Hopefully this will get the words flowing and help you out at the same time.

If you have any questions you want answered simply leave it below in the comments section or send it privately to me here.

One last comment before getting started. I could probably write thousands of words on an individual question but I’m limiting myself to one hour. 60 minutes. 3600 seconds. The rest is up to you. Help me answer these questions by filling in the gaps and leaving your thoughts in the comments section.

On with our first question and it’s a big one!

What is craft beer?

The first post I ever wrote on Short On Beer was about how I didn’t know what craft beer is. That was on a very Meta level. While I’m still figuring this out emotionally (mentally) I’ll try to answer this question with some facts.

The Brewers Association defines craft beer as, “An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.” They go on to define small, independent and tradition. Cool. So what does that mean?

Simply put, craft beer is beer made by breweries that aren’t AB InBev (Bud), MillerCoors (Miller and Coors) or other large companies. Beer brewed by them is usually called macro beer.

This begs two questions. First, what is different about the beer? Second, what about the breweries owned by these large companies?

Side Note: I kinda feel like I’m on an episode of 24 trying to get all this done in one hour.

What is different about craft beer from macro beer?

Isn’t all beer brewed with water, hops, yeast and malt? True. However certain breweries (including some craft breweries) can add adjuncts (mainly corn) to their beers. They do this to lower production costs and “sweeten” beer.

Macro breweries are infamous for doing this. Craft breweries, for the most part, shy away from this method of brewing. Adjuncts are not healthy for you. It is filler. Think of McDonalds. How great does that Big Mac taste? That bun and other ingredients are loaded with fillers and those fillers taste good to your brain. The same happens with beer. Beers like Bud Light and jam-packed with these enhancers that trick our brains. We are indoctrinated into a world against bitter beer.

Craft beer is known for brewing with real ingredients. Drink better, live better.

Are breweries that are bought by macro beer companies still craft?

Yes and no.

Big beer companies continually try to acquire growing craft beer companies. Recently Blue Point from New York was acquired by AB InBev. Before that Boulevard from Kansas City was bought by Duvel. One of the more famous acquistions is Goose Island by AB InBev.

To me, it’s entirely up to you whether or not you still want to consider these breweries as craft breweries. I have visited Blue Point before and after the “takeover” and it was still the same people, in the same tiny dark tasting room, pouring the same beers.

It took me awhile to start drinking Goose Island as I labeled them a craft beer enemy. I had my first BCBS recently. 5 stars, for sure. I’d trade organs to get more.

Time for writing is just about up! I have a ton more to say, and I’m sure I’ll add some thoughts in the comments section but there is only a few minutes to get this online and formatted to make the one hour deadline. Heck, I thought of this at 2:50pm today and look what’s we’ve made. This has been a blast! I hope to keep doing this…let’s say once a week? How does that sound?

What do you think about Power Hour? Good idea? Do you have any questions you want me to answer?

Lastly, I want to know what you think craft beer is. Share your thoughts below!

I hope you enjoyed Power Hour. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates at the bottom of this page so you never miss anything on Short On Beer!

Officially a Cicerone Certified Beer Server!

Hey everyone — I have exciting news! I’m officially a Cicerone Certified Beer Server!

Cicerone Certification

It’s true!

I have lots to say about the exam which I’ll package up in another more extensive post. But for now I’m going to relish in this accomplishment and cross off another item on My Impossible List. Cheers!

Growlers and Virginia


Pickup a growler at just about any brewery in Virginia

What’s better than draft beer? Draft beer at home. That’s what growlers do – allow people to take home draft beer from their favorite brewery. They come in different styles and sizes. Some have screw tops and some flip-tops. Each state has quirky laws when it comes to growlers. Some states it’s illegal to have a 64oz growler, certain states don’t allow growlers at all and some are awesome and allow you to fill up in bottle shops and grocery stores. I live in Virginia, a state somewhere between in the middle on growler leniency, and want to give a quick rundown on her growler laws.

In 2012, Senate Bill NO. 604 gave breweries the ability to sell beer “on-premise” (this word is important). Previously they were not able to sell their own beer unless they had a restaurant attached to it (aka brewpub). Before SB 604 they were only allowed to give free samples and sell bottled/canned beer for “off-premise” consumption. With the passing of SB 604, breweries can sell by the glass.

Why is that important? According to a Richmond.com article, growlers are considered glasses and it’s legal to bring your own glassware to a brewery (should I start doing that??? No more frozen false pint glasses…). Anything served in a glass is an on-premise sale. That’s where SB 604 comes in. Since a growler is a glass, it’s an on-premise sale therefore a brewery can now sell growlers.

A retailer, for example a grocery store like Whole Foods, can also sell growlers. However they need to have “on-premise” and “off-premise” licenses, which are harder to obtain. Depending on your local Whole Foods, they may have a wide variety of beers you can fill your growler with.

I long for the day when I can walk into my local grocery store and get a $10 growler of Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout. But at least I can drive over to Lost Rhino and pickup some New River Pale Ale.