Vignette 26, Matt Brynildson (Firestone Walker)

I spoke to Matt Brynildson a few years back to discuss pilsners. Firestone Walker's Pivo Pils was busy sparking a wave of craft pilsners--much as 805 is currently sparking a renaissance in goldens now.

“It’s not necessarily a case of brewing what we saw the market wanting [a pilsner] as much as just brewing what we really wanted to drink. When we set out to put a new beer in the portfolio, it’s more about what rounds the portfolio out. Pilsner’s a no-brainer to me. I think every craft bar line-up needs to have at least one pilsner beer. You need to have an IPA, you need to have a pilsner on draft. The pilsner filled a void.”

I wanted desperately to make a pilsner beer. No one else in the organization had ever made it; didn’t to do it. They were more sensitive to the capacity restraints. When I spoke to David Walker, he said, ‘Yeah, we’ll let you do that.’
— Matt Brynildson

“I think there are many facets to this trend, if indeed that’s what it is. In one sense, it follows the session beer trend. The longer we get into craft beers and gain in our appreciation of highly drinkable, fairly light alcohol, and sessionable beers—whereas when we first got into craft beer it was bigger, bolder and crazier beers was what we were seeking—at the end of the day beer is about balance and drinkability, and pilsner exemplifies that. The other facet of that comes from the brewers themselves. The longer you brew and the more you try to hone your technical skills as a brewer, the more you get led to lager beer. Lager beer is tricky.” 

Photo: All About Beer (but for an article I wrote!)

VignetteJeff Alworth