No Corporate Beer: Amwolf Pilsner

This is No Corporate Beer, Decibel’s semi-new beer-spotting, consumer guide where we drink a beer and a then review it. Extreme music legend/Trappist bassist/vocalist Chris Dodge takes it from here.

Beer: Amwolf Pilsner
Brewery: Eagle Rock (Los Angeles, CA)
Style: German Style Pilsner
4.8% ABV / 27 IBU

Like most indie beer nerds, I’ve spent countless years trying to quench my thirst with something different, innovative and extreme. Quadruple mega-skunky IPA? Hell, yeah! Bourbon barrel-aged crude oil imperial stout? Bring it! Ghost pepper saison with coriander and sea salt, fermented in abalone shells and used tires? Wait… what?

One day it hit me: The independent beer scene had finally jumped the shark. They have spent so much time trying to one-up each other, they somehow forgot the basics along the way. Imagine pummeling your eardrums with nothing but Origin for a decade, and one day realizing you miss the simplicity of a three-chord, hook-filled AC/DC song (Bon Scott era only, of course… and yes, I’ll fight you over that).

So, it was a treat to uncover the Amwolf Pilsner from L.A.’s Eagle Rock Brewery. ERB was the first of the new wave of independent breweries to open in Los Angeles, and they’re now barreling along into their ninth year of business. These indie stalwarts have successfully brewed a refreshing take on a format often ignored, if not outright pooh-pooh-ed by the craft community. It’s a German style pils, brilliant gold in color, refreshingly bitter, with a lingering hoppiness that’s subtle and doesn’t clobber you over the head like every other West Coast beer.  The wonderfully subdued greatness of this brau makes me miss Europe. It’s a delicious sipper for any beer connoisseur, but at 4.8% it’s equally chuggable, if that’s your style, meaning you won’t end up face down in the pit. We all have friends who claim to just like “plain old beer.” Next time they reach for that big business GMO bomb, be a true comrade and convert them from everyday-shit-lager to genuine “real” beer.

Sure, a pilsner doesn’t sound too spectacular off the cuff, but that’s exactly the point. It’s not meant to be flashy, or the flavor of the month or brutal in any way. Eagle Rock Brewery is schooling us in a simple lesson: like Bon Scott-era AC/DC, you don’t mess with the classics.