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).
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.