New Pilsner from Societe Brewing in San Diego
West Coaster Magazine: No one will ever accuse Societe Brewing of being trend-chasers. It’s one of the things that drew me to the company from the very get-go. While acutely in tune with the ever-changing state of the industry and every hot style that comes and goes, Societe’s brew team operates in a vacuum, creating purist beers steeped in classic technique.
Their IPAs aren’t hazy, fruited or confectionery. Their stouts aren’t barrel-aged or stocked with Sundae-bar additives. Their sours aren’t quick by any means. Their lagers lack adjuncts. And to the chagrin of many, their best-selling beers aren’t bottled or canned. But even the road less traveled intersects with popular culture every now and then.
Take, for instance, The Mistress, a hoppy pilsner Societe introduced earlier this week as part of its sixth-anniversary celebration. Coming in at 5.3% alcohol-by-volume, it is a modern interpretation of one of the world’s best-known styles. Though it debuted with the popularity of lagers at an all-time high and leads with the complex, evergreenly bitter favorite ingredient of most local beer drinkers, The Mistress has been in development for several years. Does this technically make it ahead of its time? Perhaps, but even that is purely coincidental and a byproduct of a bunch of brewers following their muse in an effort to create a beer they really wanted to drink.
From the Brewer: “This Mistress is a beer we have been dreaming of, researching hop varieties for and planning for years. Yes…years! The entire goal of our lager program up until now has been about the development of this beer. We brought on our Czech-style pilsner, The Heiress, which inherited a basic recipe derived from our Belgian-style blonde, The Harlot, for the purpose of refining our lager fermentations. Next, we brought on The Bachelorette single-hop lager series specifically to search for hop varieties presenting the flavors we dreamt of.
We collaborated with renowned and respected lager brewers like Gordon Biersch head brewer Doug Hasker to learn more about the lagering process. Then we brewed The Baroness, a helles-style lager, a style we consider to be the ultimate test of one’s lager-brewing abilities. All of this was to prepare for the arrival of The Mistress.
Although The Mistress has stylistic roots tracing to traditional German pilsners, it is more of a contemporary adaptation of the style. The Mistress presents a hop-forward bouquet of aromas along with a pronounced bitterness that comes from both a heavy dose of kettle/whirlpool hops and from dry-hopping.
With Sterling, Saphir and Hallertau Blanc hops, The Mistress possesses a complex array of hop characters that meld perfectly with classic lager flavors. Clean, crisp and hoppy, The Mistress is all that we have hoped (and dreamed) for.”—Travis Smith, Brewmaster & Co-founder, Societe Brewing