Guest Review: Capt. James Jack Pilsner

[@VncentLIFE is a big fan. He is always asking us questions on Twitter, and has been trying to drink along with “the list” as we review all these beers. His name is Tim Campbell, and he lives in North Carolina. That means he gets some good beers we can’t get, and vice versa. Needless to say, when he reached out a few weeks ago on Twitter about potentially writing some guess blogs for us, we were all for it. I asked him to write his first review and within a few hours, he had reviewed Capt. James Jack Pilsner from Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. I have never heard of this brewery nor have I had this beer… I’ll drink to that! Look for Tim to become a regular part of this blog, and I hope we can setup a trade in the near future so I can try some of these beers he is reviewing. 

Oh, and Tim likes to drink. He is from the Midwest, has tracked 2,622 unique beers on Untappd to date, and has a passion for craft beer. He is also a part time salesman for Bull City Homebrew. We are excited to have him on board.

Tim, welcome to 1001 Bottles. Cheers!]

Name: Capt. James Jack Pilsner
Brewery: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Charlotte, NC
Style: German Pilsener
Alcohol Content (ABV): 4.8%

In the Glass: This beer sports a clear light straw body. A pillowy white head floats on top of true to style carbonation. German Pilseners aren’t meant to be extremely carbonated, so this fits right into the style.

Nose: This is exactly what a German Pilsener should be. Earthy herbal hops flash in and out with a touch of biscuit malt for balance. I almost get the feeling that this will be a nice slick European style pilsner that lives up the gold-standard of European brewers. Some brewers over hop a pilsner, but the brewers at Olde Mecklenburg stayed true to the German standard. Their little touch comes with fleeting hints of grassy hops.

Flavor: Malt is up front here. Toasty biscuit malt really comes out, but I love how they added their own little touch of grassy hops. Normally the expected hop flavors are herbal and medicinal, but the grassy notes really just accentuate the toasty malt. The great part of this beer is just how enjoyable it is to drink. Balance is front and center. They didn’t forget all the essential flavors of the style, but put them together in perfect harmony. Every drink just gets smoother and slicker, the subtle sweetness really just make me want the next drink.

Mouthfeel: Body is spot on for the style. Medium within the style, but not light by any means. I get these odd nuances of a creamy body that I would associate with maybe a cream ale, but this is clearly not.

Aftertaste: One word will suffice: Clean. Flavors linger for a few seconds then vanish, making you want more. No off flavors, no overpowering, well, anything. Clean, smooth, and slightly sweet.

Capt. James Jack – Little did I know that the precursor to the American Constitution was delivered by horseback by James Jack from Charlotte, NC to Philadelphia, PA – which then sparked the Declaration of Independence and the Revolution. Hey, history from a beer label is better than from a history text book. I do love seeing local breweries using locally relevant names – Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, OH along with these guys come to mind.

This bottle was a gift from Ryan Self, Brand Manager for the brewery. This is the first time I’ve sat down and analyzed this beer, and I can’t believe I waited this long. I’ve never met an American made German pilsner that is arguably a better example of the style than this; look at the German incarnations: Warsteiner Premium comes to mind. The focus there is on malt smoothness which really leaves the hop flavors malcking. The balance, the smoothness, and ,somehow, the subtle variances that fit right into the style are a testament to the guys at Olde Mecklenburg. This brewery follows the Reinheitsgebot as closely as possible (they do have some bourbon barrels which they’ve aged Mecktoberfest, Fat Boy (Baltic Porter), and Dunkel (Munich Dunkel)).

Rating: 4.5/5

When you’re doing an old-world style like a German Pilsener, staying true to style is key. This beer is a perfect, shining example of exactly what a German Pilsener should be. Malt forward, yet balanced out by traditional hop flavors—albeit with a subtle, yet true to style—twist. This beer is scarily drinkable, yet still has the flavor to back it up. If you ever see this beer on tap or in a bottle, get it.

Next week, I’ll look into some closer-to-home breweries. I’m looking forward to the third release of Cryin’ Holy from Steel String Brewery. A malt forward DIPA with huge citrus and pine notes. We have some great release happening here in NC, and I’ll talk about as many of them as possible.

Cheers, y’all.

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