With a name that translates from German to English as ‘Island Brewery’, Insel Brauerei are based on the island of Rügen off the North East shores of Germany. Here they’ve been busy brewing away since 2014 and earning a score of accolades for their bottle-conditioned beers, both nolo and full ABV. Wrapped in rugged thick paper adorned with beautiful artwork, each bottle of their numerous beers looks like a gift-wrapped present ready to be bestowed to your taste buds. Their previously reviewed nolo Snorkeler’s Sea Salt IPA garnered praise for it’s aroma and slightly different taste, what with the addition of salt into the mix, and I felt was a beer that everyone should try, whether they abstain from alcohol or not.
Today’s review is focussed on the brewery’s “Skipper’s Wet Hopped Pilsner”, which as a lager is a rarity from Insel Brauerei, who tend to produce different ales and other less-known styles. It’s also the first time I’ve heard of wet hopping when relating to an alcohol-free beer. So what does wet hopping mean? Time for another awful explanation by yours truly! We’ve spoken about dry-hopping before, which is the practise of adding hops to the beer after fermentation to eke out more and different flavour from those little taste bombs. The process of wet hopping is pretty much the same, but instead of dried and prepared hops being added, it is freshly picked (or ‘wet’) hops that are used. Fresh hops have more of those volatile oils that give give flavour and aroma to beers, and are less bitter than dried versions. The flavour will also be less concentrated however, so around 5 times as much fresh hop is needed to get a similar result. I suspect that as Insel Brauerei’s previous beer reviewed here was unfiltered, this pilsner will follow suit, and so we’ll be seeing some of those fresh hops suspended in the brew. Let’s unwrap this gift and get it poured.
Trickling out of the bottle we get a golden orange coloured liquid, which as it fills the glass we can see is very cloudy, with a number of visible particles in there. A firm white head is produced, sticking around giving some nice lacing down the sides of the glass. On the nose we’re greeted with bready malts and peppery spice akin to Saaz hops, with a hint of yeast in there too. A kind of mix between the aromas of pilsner lager and wheat beer. Very nice.
A fresh grassy bitterness greets us on tasting, no doubt created by the wet hopping we talked about earlier. With the background of bready malt remaining, we’re also treated to spicy, floral, and almost orange citrus hop flavours building upon this. Despite being a pilsner, the body is decidedly medium, indeed I’d describe it as quite thick and soupy – in a good way! The carbonation level is moderate. We finish the drink with a bitter, slightly sour edge.
Insel Brauerei’s Skipper’s Wet Hopped Pilsner is another fantastic beer from the brewer, wonderfully crafted, great looking, smelling and tasting. Like their IPA before, there’s nothing really like it on the non-alcoholic marketplace at the moment, and indeed shouldn’t be limited to the nolo drinkers out there. The beautiful looking bottle is certainly not a case of style over substance. Buy it and try it!
Buy Insel-Brauerei Skipper’s Wet Hopped Pilsner
I’m still yet to see any of Insel-Brauerei’s nolo beers on a shop shelf, but they will be an instant purchase if I ever do. Skipper’s Wet Hopped Pilsner will be available to buy online from any of the usual suspects:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast
|Country of Production
|Rügener Insel-Brauerei – https://insel-brauerei.de/en/
Skipper's Wet Hopped Pilsner Review
Bready, spicy, bitter and floral flavours make this pilsner a steep step above it’s fellow nolo cousins.