Nick Carr on July 5, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Evil Twin Brewing Company Location: Mt. Pleasant, SC (in collaboration with Westbrook Brewing Co.) Style: Smoked Pilsner ABV: 5.5% IBU: ? Appearance: Washed-out yellow with small-bubbled, off-white head; Somewhat hazy. Aroma: Light maltiness with notes of sweet cereal and doughy bread; Hints of tropical fruitiness; A slight whisper of smoky aroma. Flavor: Noticeable smokiness with light doughy sweetness; Fruity flavors arrive mid-palate; Low bitterness and grassy hops briefly appear; Smoke lingers in aftertaste. Hops: ? Malts: ? Shelf Life: 3 to 6 months Suggested Glass: Tulip Serving Temp: 45-50°F Availability: Rotating Pairs With: BBQ, Smoked Ham, Smoked Gouda, Smoked Flan Evil Twin is a brewery without a home. It’s a gypsy brewery. Like a traveling show, Evil Twin books gigs at different breweries around the world — at this point about 10 different ones — with each producing a given recipe into tangible beer. Founded in 2010 by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø with a mission to “disturb, disorder, and enlighten you with unforgettable beer” and bring you “delicate, funky, extreme and by all means rare flavors.” Incidentally, Jeppe is the twin brother — thus the name — of another gypsy brewer, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the owner of Mikkeller Brewing. Mikkel started Mikkeller in 2006 and was at least partially responsible for Jeppe turning gypsy through, what can only be called, a sibling rivalry turned bad blood. In 2005, Jeppe opened a bottle shop in his native Copenhagen, Denmark called Ølbutikken. Mikkel started brewing and Jeppe agreed to stock his beer. It was a good relationship. Mikkel’s beer got some recognition and as it got more popular it became a big seller for Jeppe. Then things went sour. Maybe it was when Mikkel opened a pub not far from Ølbutikken creating competition, or maybe it was something else stemming from the past, but the bar opened and thus Evil Twin Brewing was born. Both companies make excellent beer and perhaps some of that excellence comes from wanting to outdo the sibling competition, but they are both known for trying new and strange recipes. And so we come to a smoked pilsner called The Cowboy. It is brewed at Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford, CT. This beer sports a very off-the-wall description: “I need to know what kind of beer cowboys drink, as I have recently become one. I want to be the best cowboy I can be, and I think drinking the correct beer is important. I already have a cowboy hat and a nice big shiny buckle?” Not much of a description. I don’t mind these funny descriptions, but at least bury some information about the beer in there. Ah well… Smoked beers are not uncommon and before the advancements in the kilning process almost all beer would have had a smoky element. Today, the German Rauchbier is the only style with noticeable smokePorter has become one of the most popular styles to carry smoke. A pilsner, on the other hand, isn’t a style popularly smoked making it a bit of an oddity… time to find out how odd. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking The Cowboy. If you’ve had this beer or you’re drinking one while you read this review, please share your tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: The Cowboy pours a washed-out yellow, reminding me a bit of the couple seasons I spent fighting wildfire and that hazy dreary color the world would turn whenever big smoke blocked a low sun. It’s somewhat hazy, but not enough to hide the streams of carbonation coming off the bottom. A slightly aggressive pour brings a head of closely packed, small bubbled, off-white foam to a height of one and a half fingers. Aroma brings light malt in the form of sweet cereal and bready, doughy notes. There’s also a bright tropical fruitiness, citrus/lemon. The smoke comes through, but barely; a sigh of campfire sweetness and ash. It becomes more noticeable as the beer warms. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is a light medium. Carbonation is slightly prickling, but smooths out quickly. Finish is medium dry. The smoke is more noticeable in the taste, though not overwhelming. A kind of ashy sweetness, like food dropped on applewood coals maybe. Some light doughy and cereal sweetness at the front of the palate. Smoke arrives about mid-palate along with some fruitiness in the form of light lemon/orange; grassy hops following along. Low bittering keeps the sweetness prevalent all the way through to the swallow. The smoke lingers long, making up the bulk of the budgeted flavors in the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS This beer isn’t gonna be a hit with everyone. There is something — for me anyway — just on the verge of being unpleasant, but instead was curiously inviting. If you don’t like smoked beers chances are you won’t have much good to say about The Cowboy, but if you do like the style, this warping of a Pilsner will give you something new to experience. Cheers!