In 1986, Minnesota’s Summit Brewing Company set the beer world on fire with the release of its revolutionary bitter brew Summit EPA. Now, 33 years later, bitterness is far from the vanguard, and Summit has become known as the standby dad beer factory of St. Paul. But that’s what makes Keller Pils—its 2018 Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner—a rebellion in its own right. Keller Pils dares you to call it a no-fun dad beer, but if anything, this German-style pilsner is evidence that Summit’s revolution continues on.
Keller Pils is Labrador yellow and clear to its very core. The beer is unfiltered, giving it a gauzy glint along the sides. Looking through the beer is like seeing everything through a Bavarian Instagram filter.
A stein of Keller Pils smells just like the springy center of a crusty bread loaf. This is the work of the German lager yeast, which adds that pleasing bakery scent but still allows for the abiding floral aroma of the Tettnang noble hops to cut through. At the bottom of all this is a layer of honey-toasted pilsner malt, giving Keller Pils that traditionally German maltiness.
The next generation of beer stewards will look back on this one as a classic.”
While Tettnang is the star of the aroma, it’s Huell Melon that shines in the flavor department. Perhaps the most underrated hop in American brewing, Huell adds a lemony citrus bite to Keller Pils, underpinning the tight, crisp finish with a flash of ripe bitterness. The sweetness of the pilsner malt returns in the flavor, rounding out one of the most complete sips of beer you’re liable to get in the United States.
Summit founder Mark Stutrud has called Keller Pils “truly a masterpiece.” That’s not just marketing. In one year, the beer has gone from locally renowned one-off to GABF gold medal winner, and now it’s officially a standby in Summit’s rich tradition of paradigm-shifting releases. The next generation of beer stewards will look back on this one as a classic.