Fader Pilsner is one of the more recent, of the continuously excellent, offerings by Chicago’s Half Acre Beer Co. The brewers of Vallejo IPA, Pony Pils and personal favorite Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, says Fader is “brewed in the purist spirit.” This makes sense, given the traditional and Reinheitsgebot-approved combination of German malt, noble hops and Bavarian yeast. It’s a showcase of a style that is often overlooked in the quest for hop haze and barrel age, but it shouldn’t be.
Fader’s whole can has same brassy finish top to bottom, accented with splotches of teal, which really catches the eye. Once in the glass, Fader looks the part of a crisp, clean pilsner. It boasts stunning clarity, a straw yellow color and a ton of bubbly white head—the latter of which may be owed to my overly aggressive pour.
Despite brewing with all traditional German ingredients, Fader feels like a blend of the best of both German and American pilsners.”
Once the head fades—which leaves beautiful lacing on the glass—I lean in for a waft of the aroma. While appropriately subtle to fit the style, it’s still easy to pick up the spicy, grassy and floral hop notes brought on by the Tettnager, Tradition and Czech Saaz hop bill. Soft hints of the Bavarian lager yeast as well as German Pilsner and Vienna malt peak through to compliment the hop-forward aroma.
Sweet grassy fruit and lemon make up the first wave of flavor in each sip, which is surprising for a German style pilsner. It carries through to the finish, with the earthy spicy hop notes from the aroma playing up only in a supporting role. The malt brings biscuit and cracker flavors that pop in to interrupt and balance out the hops. The Bavarian yeast is super clean in the finish, with none of the dirtiness I associate with American pilsners.
Despite brewing with all traditional German ingredients, Fader feels like a blend of the best of both German and American pilsners—a nod to Reinheitsgebot and hoppy pilsners alike. While it remains light in flavor—as it should—it still brings several distinguishable flavors together in a unique progression. Fader is a great spring or summer pounder. If it happens to linger in the back of the beer fridge until fall, the German flavors wouldn’t be out of place in a stein either.