Black Raven Brewing
June 26th, 2020
I admittedly hadn't visited Obec or tried their beer before a friend of mine started working there somewhat recently, but I've enjoyed my time at their brewery every visit since then. The brewery has an awesome look and vibe, and they've done an excellent job spacing out their setup with one-way aisles as we begin the early phases of re-opening Seattle during the COVID-19 crisis.
Czech Pils, their flagship beer, is described as smooth and crisp with a rich malty palate, featuring Czech hops that balance the beer's maltiness with a spicy bitterness. As a big fan of crushable pilsner beers, I've been looking forward to this review.
This beer looks great. Clear, crisp, golden yellow color - a bit deeper in hue than I'd expect from a standard pilsner. A nice couple of fingers of pure white head with tight bubbles and lacing down the sides of the glass.
The aroma is mostly malts with toasty bread, nutty, crackery notes; even overpowering the mild lager yeast character I'd expect. True to style, there is very little noble hop aroma, serving only to brighten up the malt notes and accentuate the crackery aspects.
This is just a really solid, clean pilsner.
Nothing particularly jumps out in the flavor, which feels very intentional. Mostly biscuity/bready, the maltiness coming across very soft while still maintaining a light and crisp body.
It's very well-balanced, with just enough hop punch to brighten up the malts (the true star of the show). Medium carbonation keeps the beer smooth and easy-drinking to balance out the crispiness. Balanced and crushable.
This beer has an interesting smoothness in the mouthfeel I wouldn't have expected from a beer that looks and smells so crisp. I think it could maybe benefit from a touch more carbonation but overall is pretty much right on the money for the style.
I think this is a great pilsner, and while nothing particularly stands out as exceptional or unique, it does stand out in the sense of just how solid and masterfully-crafted it clearly is.
It's hard to rate a beer like this as truly exceptional given the goal for beers like this is usually to be inoffensive and easily-crushable. That said, it's hard to find a flaw in this beer outside of it being a bit heartier and smoother than I'd expect for the style, and I think Obec has a true winner on their hands in the sense that I will continue to order at least one of these every time I visit.
On top of the beer, I'm just such a fan of this brewery. The environment is great, surrounded by tons of phenomenal beer in the Ballard brewery district, and I appreciate their efforts to reorganize the area to meet social distancing guidelines and keep everyone confident that surfaces are sanitized and safe in these weird times.
I will definitely be back and see many more pints of their Czech Pils in my future.