Pivo. The word means ‘beer’ in Czech. A boastful moniker for any brew, especially one whose namesake country imbibes the most per capita in the world. (If this doesn’t impress, imagine the gall of a beer called simply ‘Bier’.) Firestone Walker assigns this crown/burden to their ‘hoppy pilsner’, despite the beer being fundamentally more German in style than Bohemian: a creamy head, nicely textured but still airy mouthfeel, an extremely pale body (SRM of 4) that looks akin to water at the dregs, and aromas of lightly toasted grain underpinned by moderately assertive Magnum hops. The beer’s “twist” is Saphir dry-hopping, which provides some extra zest, though the overall impression is still fairly mild, as both hops are strains of the noble Mittelfrüh. At 40 IBU, Pivo is not out of line with either pilsner style, and still quite easily drinkable without any lasting bitterness.
A better twist for a pilsner of American provenance (where more hops are never a surprise) would have been stronger minerals in the water for a signature with more memorable pop. Alas, as with most of its Stateside peers Pivo doesn’t make much effort here beyond a pinch of lemongrass, and thus ‘Beer’ is generally good if a little undistinguished. Such is the life of European pilsner brewed in America. Berkeley’s Trumer notwithstanding.
Served: 12 oz bottled 6/10/13