A shade lighter than deep gold and a beautiful straw color, the first pour of Dynasty Brewing Company’s El Supremo Italian-Style Dry Hopped Pilsner is so clear you could read a newspaper through it. It’s as clear as Czech-cut glass and just as enjoyable as Czech lager.
There is a wonderful interplay of bread, juicy watermelon and ripe pear aromas, and honeyed character from dry hopping, with a nice minerality in the nose that counterbalances the barley sweetness. The taste is a bouquet of honeysuckle flowers, heavy on the sweet nectar; stone ground flour on the mid palate, fresh from smashing in a mortar and pestle; and a finish reminiscent of a landscape with a high moisture content after a quick spring downpour. The scent reminds me that the fruity, earthy notes I sniff are also rooted in chlorophyll. The beer tastes green like the plants springing from the soil in the earth, but also neon green and orange; the colors I associate with a Flintstones multivitamin.
Earlier this week, my beverage research firm, Lost Lagers, joined Dynasty Brewing for a collaboration brew day. The beer, Classic Modern, is a tripartite collaborative brewing effort with Sapwood Cellars. As we sampled Dynasty’s El Supremo, brewed by Dynasty brewer/founder Favio Garcia, the aroma was clear to me: Flintstones. The flavor was fresh in my mind having just given my child one that morning. Fred Flinstone’s orange head appeared in my mind’s eye as the multivitamin aroma leapt out of the glass as the Sapwood brewers and I discussed the wonderful aroma in El Supremo.
German Tettnanger hops plus a splash of German Saaz are used to dry hop this beer and they relay a wonderfully fruity, flowery character. Dry hopping differentiates this beer from its Northern German-style Pilsner cousins. Where the German-Style Pilsner is bitter, bready, crisp, and clean, this Italian-style Pilsner is far more aromatic than bitter and, while still snappy, leaves a more robust flavor profile than something like Bitburger, Radeberger, or Rotthaus.
The combination of German and American Pilsner malts lend a wonderfully bready character to this beer that stands up to the hops but doesn’t get in the way. There’s a very nice balance struck by the yeast, which is just dry enough and certainly not over-attenuated. The scientists at Jasper Yeast labs have leant a wonderful hand in growing healthy yeast for this beer to ferment. You can read a bit more about the strain used in this beer.
Part of the robust nature of Dynasty’s El Supremo is that the beer is 5.6% alcohol by volume. It’s got a very nice medium mouthfeel and is more moderate than light bodied. Still, it’s far from heavy; the pale lager gives you a wonderfully prickly punch of hoppy goodness that rounds out the bread, honey, and flowery honeysuckle elements found in this beer.
El Supremo Italian-style Pilsner will cost you $16 for a four-pack at the brewery in Ashburn, Virginia and a similar price in Virginia and DC stores.