Soldier’s Reward Classic American Pilsner
6.2% ABV, 29 IBU
Style: Classic American Pilsner
Malts: 6-Row, Flaked Rice, Flaked Corn, Melanoidin
Yeast: German Monk Lager (INIS-711)
Brewer: Factotum Staff (Chris Bruns and Ray Packingham)
The Classic American Pilsner (CAP) was invented by German immigrants who didn’t have access to the ingredients of their homeland. Instead of premium 2-row malt, they used the protein-laden 6-row. To combat the cloudiness that excessive protein causes, they added a modest amount of corn and/or rice to clarify the beer. Sometimes they could get their hands on German hops but, more often, they used the native Cluster hops, essentially the only hop harvested on American soil prior to the 1970s.
The CAP is one of a few indigenous American beer styles but it’s rarely seen on any tap menu. Why has this American original fallen to the wayside? Probably because, after Prohibition, a few giant, domestic beer brands decided that “a modest amount of corn and/or rice” meant 40%-50% or more of the grain bill. These watered-down American lagers became a symbol for all that is wrong with American beer and those who opposed such beers began to assume corn and rice were inherently bad. However, used in the appropriate amount, corn and rice can do wonderful things.
Factotum’s CAP recipe also uses a touch of melanoidin malt to give the beer a little more depth of character. Expect a straight-forward beer with a creamy mouthfeel, a dry finish, a slight corny sweetness, and floral and spicy notes from the Cluster. Originally brewed for Veteran’s Day, this is a classic American beer for classic American heroes.