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Beer Review: Dogfish Head Piercing Pils

Today I am reviewing Dogfish Head’s Piercing Pils, a pilsner made with pear juice and pear tea.  I am admittedly a fan of a good crisp pilsner because I find them highly drinkable and light.  I also appreciate the distinguishing flavor of Saaz hops.  That combination makes me want to drink a lot of these on a warm summer night.  Exactly the opposite weather of tonight (currently a whopping 2 degrees).  But that didn’t stop me from trying this beer.

Below is a picture of my Dogfish Head Piercing Pils.  And yes, I am aware this is not a Pilsner glass (work in progress).

Dogfish Head Piercing Pils: Delaware
ABV: 6.0%
Style: Czech Pilsner
Rank: #10 in style at

The bottle alone was enough to encourage my purchase.  Who isn’t attracted to a deranged-looking cat with a winter hat complete with tongue and drool?  I’ve always appreciated the uniqueness of Dogfish Head artistry, so I salute the brewery for that.  I am also honest enough to admit that I am not always a fan of some of their forward-flavor beers (i.e. Raison d’Extra is not good to me at all).  But I do believe that Dogfish Head is the tip of the spear of craft beer.  They really have forged ahead in the market by creating adventurous, never-heard-of styles of beer.  They are probably responsible for a lot of brewers being more bold and risk-taking with their brewing recipes.  But Dogfish Head beers are certainly not for the meek and unadventurous.

The beer poured a bright yellow straw color, with a quick dissipating bubbly head but sufficient lacing.  I really tried to detect tones with the nose of the mentioned pear additions, but really couldn’t get much of that.  A very mild, earthy, almost grassy smell at best.  Upon taste you really do notice the Czech-style Saaz hops.  I researched where the name Saaz came from: It was named after the Czech city of Žatec (German: Saaz).  Saaz hops are not a good bittering agent at all, and you can detect this lack of bitter upon sipping.  I did faintly notice a faint “tea” flavor, which does remain on the tongue after a drink… maybe.  This beer has a very pleasing mouthfeel, with a smooth finish.  But I really had to struggle to detect and maintain this flavor.  If I didn’t read from the bottle there were pear additions, I might have missed them completely.

Overall, I believe this is a good beer, but not a great beer.  I do appreciate Piercing Pils’ high drinkability factor, but find myself wondering if more pear was needed.  I’d like to try this side-by-side with another pils at some point to really notice the difference.

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  1. I find pilsners to be low on my choice list to begin with so it appears this will not sway my decision!

  2. I am always a fan of Czech pilsners, so this is on list of beers to try.

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