03 October 2012

KOTBR #145: Fountain Square

Beer geekdom comes with a price.  That price is an endless quest to try something new and better than you have had before.  It doesn't take long before the draw of rarity outpaces the satisfaction of a well-crafted beer.  Barrel-aged, imperial, double, whatever.  All these adjectives imply huge face-punching flavors that promise to overwhelm the senses.  But in the wake of experiencing all that beer has to offer, you return to what made you fall in love with beer in the first place.  Simple, carefully crafted recipes that could please any day of the week.

Fountain Square Pilsner is one of those beers for me.  Pilsner isn't widely appreciated with beer aficionados, in fact it is typically looked down upon as a pariah of the American Light Lager style.  It is truly unfortunate that Pilsner has suffered this fate, as it upholds a noble lineage hailing from the Czech Republic. Its style was so favored that Germany duplicated it in the Helles.  Pilsner is not an easy beer to brew, its light body immediately reveals imperfections.  Somehow, in their first year, Fountain Square has mastered the style.

Everything about this beer rings true to the Pilsner style. The light, lightly toasted malt aroma. The slightly sweet flavor that can't be reproduced with corn. The crisp body and soft mouthfeel that make it simultaneously easy to drink and refreshing.  It is a beer that evokes thoughts of fresh Helles or Pilsner in Europe.  This is the Pilsner that I compare all other American Pilsners to.  Nice job, Fountain Square.

4.2 mugs

I think many beer geeks run though some of the same progression in their beer experience.  When you first get into better beer you quickly escalate to the point where you want to tick off the biggest DIPA, the hoppiest IPA, the highest ABV Russian Imperial Stout,  barrel aged rare anything, etc... That isn't the case for every beer geek, but it happens more often than not.  Eventually you come to the point where you just want a really great beer that isn't a pain in the ass to obtain, is of moderate ABV strength  and really flavorful.  Fountain Square Pilsner is that beer for me.  As Rod pointed out, the pilsner is an under appreciated beer style, but there is a reason why it is the most dominant style of beer in the world.  Yes, part of that is reason is an insane amount of advertising dollars by major corporations, but it also started because the beer was delicious.  I can honestly say this is one of my favorite beers brewed here in Indianapolis.  It is well brewed, really delicious, and very conducive to conversation with friends.  I can't think of much more that I'm looking for out of a beer.

4.5 Mugs

We also got a sneak peak at the new beer coming out at their Hop Your Face event this Saturday the 6th.  This is on the other extreme end when you are not looking for something as balanced at the pilsner.  The new DIPA is all hops with a good malt backbone, but the story is all about the hops on that beer. Another well made beer for when you do want to relive those old DIPA ticking days.

Fountain Square's Workingman's Pilsner has become one of my favorite beers to order around town. While I am a fan of their other offerings, I can't help but be a tiny bit disappointed when I see a FSBC tap handle and it isn't the Pilsner. Balance is the name of the game here and every one of the subtle flavors blend together into a very enjoyable pint. 4.6 Mugs

 If you are going to FSBC's Hop Your Face event on Saturday, October 6th, you are in for a real treat with their Hop Your Face Imperial IPA. The bold, hoppy flavor is a little bit of a departure from what we've come to expect from Skip and crew, but a welcome one. The ABV may be a bit higher than what we've seen from them, but they've done something special.

I'm on record as having said I'm not the hugest fan of pilsners. My hesitation to order one at the bar is no doubt based on the all-too-typical story of overconsumption of watery piss in college. Just as I can overcome my negative psychological connection with tequila and enjoy a good margarita from time-to-time, a well-made pilsner can sometimes be just thing to satisfy my thirst. Such was the case when we recently visited Fountain Square Brewing and my glass of Workingman's Pilsner emptied like it had a hole in it. It's crisp, with a touch of bready sweetness and finished with a classic bite of noble hops.

 In a city where far too many breweries select their year-round beers from a stock set of ales, it's great to see Fountain Square focus their attention on a first-class lager that Indy can be proud of. They've got a hit with Workingman's Pilsner, a beer that's tailor-made for this brewery's neighborhood but one that will satisfy any time and any place.      3.9 mugs

Fountain Square Workingman's Pilsner
Rod: 4.20 Mugs | Matt: 4.50 Mugs | Gina: 4.60 Mugs | Chris: 3.90 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.3 Mugs 

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