Fearful Symmetries

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16 May, 2016

Let Them Drink Pils: Rev Pils by Revolution Brewing



On a recent trek to Chicagoland my cousin helpfully noted a fine liquor store around the corner from my aunt's home. And so The Dulcinea and I made a trek over there before heading back to Madison. We ended up bringing home, amongst other beers, some Rev Pils from Chicago's Revolution Brewing.

I've always heard good things about Revolution, most recently on The Beer Temple Insiders Roundtable, and wanted to give them another try after drinking their Oktoberfest last summer(?!) and not being particularly impressed. Now that I think about it, I did sample their wares at a pre-Great Taste event a few years back and enjoyed them. And now that I think about it some more, the wife picked up a can of one of their stouts back in the autumn and it too was tasty. Anyway, I wanted to make up for the fact that I avoid Revolution when I am shopping in Chicagoland. I tend to seek out other Chicago area beers as well as those from breweries that don't distribute in Wisconsin. Plus imports that never see Madison shelves like Helles Schlenkerla Lager.

Revolution was established in 2010 and seems to have become the Big Daddy of Chicago breweries – at least of those not owned by A-B InBev. My understanding is that they are growing at a rapid pace and, well, they just always seem to top lists of Chicago breweries whenever I encounter one. When I talk to people on this side of the Cheddar Curtain, Revolution is always (along with Pipeworks) one of the top two breweries people would like to have distributed here. Revolution appears to be the Chicago beer scene's big kahuna, the top dog, the big cheese, the head honcho, number one...and so let us find out if their pils lives up to their reputation.

I must apologize to Rev Pils for not having the proper glassware because it would have been a beauty. It was a light gold hue and just ever so slightly hazy, which was odd. Is this one of the qualities of a "Chicago Pilsner"? My pour produced a big, frothy cloud white head that stuck around. There was a fair amount of effervescence which would have looked much better in a pils glass.

My can was dated 3/14/2016 so it was a just under two months old when I sampled it. While not extremely fresh, I did expect it to not have deteriorated too much. My expectations were met with the aroma which was a delightful blend of hops. Revolution uses German hops here - Select, Saphir and Hallertau Gold – with my understanding being that Saphir is the newest variety and that it mimics trendy American hop varieties with floral and fruity characteristics while the others are more traditionally Noble tasting with earthy and spicy aromas and tastes. The result was a big floral and grassy melange that I could smell when the glass was a foot away from my nose. Underneath that was a just little bit of fruitiness.

Rev Pils has a nice light body with a modicum of cracker maltiness which means that all those hops are going to have pride of place. Floral flavors were right up front with some melon fruitiness just behind it. Further back those non-Saphir hops provided a little grass/straw flavor along with some bitterness.

Those floral & fruity flavors lingered a while on the finish until the grassy hop taste swelled and took on more of a spicy complexion. And then things got really dry and bitter. There was precious little Schaumhaftvermoegen - just a few spots.

Rev Pils just has big hop flavor all-around with floral tastes taking the lead followed by a good dose of fruitiness and then a bit of grass trailing behind. Until the end when a more traditional German spicy hop taste kicks in. I thoroughly enjoyed – no adored – I adored the mix of hop tastes in this beer. This is far and away the best use of Saphir hops that I've come across. The problem is that there is little malt footing. The beer's body is too light and thin to support all those hops. Consequently Rev Pils tastes rather watery. You can taste something underneath all the floral/herbal hops but it's almost more of a presence than discernible flavors.

This is a real shame because Revolution really hit the nail on the head here with their blend of floral/fruity and earthy/spicy. The best pairing of these tastes in an American Nova-Pils/IPL I've had yet.

Junk food pairing: I like pairing Rev Pils with a bag of Chili Cheese Fritos as I like the contrast of the hops to the gentle spicing regimen of the chips.

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|| Palmer, 7:45 AM

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