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Torch Pilsner - Foothills Brewing Company - Downtown Brewpub

Not Rated.
Torch PilsnerTorch Pilsner

Educational use only; do not reuse.

95 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 95
Hads: 398
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 25.81%
Wants: 9
Gots: 62 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Foothills Brewing Company - Downtown Brewpub visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Czech Pilsener |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-09-2005

Torch Pilsner
A well structured, Czech-style pilsner. Torch is strong in alcohol with a rich, full finish. Good mouth feel and well-balanced Czech Saaz hops ensure that Torch is not your typical pilsner.
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.3%
Color (SRM): 3.7
Bitterness (IBUs): 35
Torch Pilsner-bg
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 95 | Hads: 398
Photo of ordybill
4.87/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a nice malt and hop aroma
Appearance- pours a slightly murky light yellow color with a medium sized white head.
Taste- A well blended malt and hop flavor, this is a very good tasting pilsner.
Palate- A light to medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a lively texture on the tongue.
Overall- A really good beer that I highly recommend.

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Photo of Luigi
4.85/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out a clear golden color with a big white foamy head. Lace sticks all around the glass and the retention stays around for the life of the beer. beautiful.

The aroma is rich with saaz hops and a balance of grains and soft bread from the malt. Nice spicy with hints of citrus, and mild pine.

The flavor is clean and spicy! Those saaz hops blend together perfectly with the soft malt. Both flavors hit the palate at once. Soft grainy malt and citrus spicy hop. Has a refreshing clean finish with pine like hops lingering for a bit.

This is has to be the most balanced and refreshing Czech style Pilsner I have in a long time! I seriously can not find anything wrong with this beer. Proud that it is brewed in my home state NC.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A crystal clear straw colored beer above a white 1/4" head
Smells of spicy German hops.

Taste is well balanced malt with hop flavor. Very crisp with enough pop to keep it interesting.

Very Drinkable and would go great with any light fare or German food.

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Photo of LauraAlberts
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear Gold/Yellowish with mild lacing and half inch of head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Sweet aroma mixed with a carbonated aroma

Taste: Mild carbonations mixed with a bitter/sweet malty character. Great flavor for a Czech Pils - a mild grapefruit hint at the finish that just refreshes the palate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly dry then soothing and calming mouthfeel.

Drinkability: My beer of choice when working in the heat. This one will cool you down - perfect for the boat. Another great beer from the guys in Winston-Salem!

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Photo of russpowell
4.39/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent gold with 2 fingers of pearl white head. Good head retention & pretty good lacing

S: Breadyness & floral hops, perfumy notes as this warms

T: Follows the nose, dryness & flinty hops up front. Lemons, breadyness, & even a touch of grapefruit as this warms. Finishes bready, crisp, & lemony

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, great balance

Super easy drinking pils. Not perfect but one I would buy again if I could get it here. I liked this as much as Prima Pils

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Photo of PhillyStyle
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Woody's @ City Market, Raleigh, NC

Served up a nice golden color, deeper than expected, clear with a very nice white head that was well retained that faded into a small thin cap.

Aroma was good, slightly sweet, light and grainy, pretty much what I expected from the style, but better than most in the style.

The taste was very good, more robust than expected. This is not your typical Czech; the taste has an initial sweet taste, but fades and is nicely balanced.

The beer is light, and has a nice dry aftertaste, very nice active carbonation and extremely easy to drink. For this style, this may be one of the best and IMO has been very much under-appreciated by the reviewer of this beer thus far (as do most lighter colored beers and some for good reason). Overall, an excellent beer by an excellent brewer.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.34/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale, golden yellow with a tightly knit head of bright white suds.

Aroma is golden pilsner malts, hints of honey, crushed wildflowers, and piungent earthy and grassy hops. Smells very hoppy.

Flavor is crisp, clean malts, a touch of honey, and plenty of grassy, floral, and herbal hops providing a long, hoppy finish. Certainly one of the tastier pilsners I've tried. Very fresh too.

Body is a hair below medium. with a very brisk and crisp mouthfeel, with some light minerality in the finish.

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Photo of Arborescence
4.29/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, golden, fluffy white pils head.

Aroma: Fruit and malt, little bit of toast, currants.

Taste: Tasty! Smooth and mellow, easy going. Interesting, rich aftertaste with a malty character.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, fairly low carbonation, which is good!

Overall: Good stuff. Not quite a typical European pils, but it has some resemblance to Urquell.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a 2-finger head (like, fat fingers), blinding white, fluffy and long-lasting. Liquid is pretty much as a pils ought to be, sunny yellow-gold with excellent clarity.

Aroma is good, clearly very much to style, although it doesn't give it all up in the smell. Hints of sulfur, fresh-baked white bread, straw, light fruity hops.

Flavor-wise, this pushes all the right buttons, especially on a hot day when you're craving something on the lager side of the tracks. Earthy mineral/sulfur lays in the background and right into the finish, with bits of lemon, grapefruit, grass, white bread, biscuit and a hint of honey mingling nicely.

Well-carbonated texture gives a tickle to the tongue, although a nice creaminess peeks through. Just the slightest bit of pucker on the finish, which is interesting, and a grapefruit pith kind of thing remains the dominant taste in the finish.

An absolutely great and authentic pils. Foothills gets better and better as the days go on, and when they can brew a traditional, lower alcohol brew like this and have it impress almost as much as their much more limited bourbon-barrel experiments, you know they're doing it right.

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Photo of ncbeermonger
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Vintage 301 in Greensboro NC

This Pilsner pours very well, head is good, and and has a great color

The smell is good, what a pilsner should smell like

This beer is a traditional pilsner, not this watered down stuff we see around the south east.

It finishes well, and doesn't leave an aftertaste

This beer has a drinkability like very few pilsners! This is a great beer, when you can find it you should have one!

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Photo of fmccormi
4.26/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 12oz pry-off bottle to my tall Ommegang flute; no bottle dating, but this was purchased just this past week at Sam’s Quick Shop in Durham, NC, and generally speaking these bottles have a pretty good turnover in-state so I’m assuming it’s suitably fresh.

Appearance (3.75): Three solid fingers of cream-colored foam rise off of the pour easily, capping a crystal-clear, purely golden-colored body. Very good retention, with the head dying down slowly, leaving a rocky cap and scattered suds here and there, and a couple of fat splotches of lace.

Smell (4.5): This is, in my head, how pale, golden pilsners are supposed to smell: beautiful floral, slightly metallic hops scents with a rustic, spicy, pale grain character with bright, lemony and cracker notes. It has that sweet scent of fresh water, too, which is hard to describe but I love (because what the hell would it mean to anyone if I said it smelled like water?).

Taste (4.25): Nice, grassy and floral hops play with the grainy, crisp malt body, which comes off first as dry and crackery but shows a deeper, subtle sweetness after the initial wash of hops and water crackers. There’s a really nice, nutty character that melds with the lightly toasted grain, too. And there’s that distinctive blend of clean, nutty yeast and very bright, floral, grassy, and lemony hops, which to me is what makes a classic pilsner.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Soft, filling carbonation that tingles all over before it goes down really marks the feel, which is somewhat lighter than medium-weight—very refreshing, very crisp, and quenching without sacrificing feel.

Overall (4.25): This is an excellent pilsner. I’d love to have this in my neck of the woods, because it’s so well-crafted for the style that it’d be a great cross-over beer for those who aren’t so familiar with or deep into craft. Great for hot weather drinking. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of pilsners or looking for local talent when in North Carolina.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.26/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Flying Saucer, Raleigh.

Served a pint of clear, golden, straw-colored brew with a decent amount of carbonation supplying a creme white head. The retention was excellent, and left sticky rings of lacing down the sides of the glass. Aroma was a bit hard to detect, but I chalk part of that up to the crowded, smoky bar atmosphere. When I really dug deep I could detect some nice pale malts and a good floral hop presence, as well as hints of citrus.

This is one of the hoppier Pilseners I've ever tasted. That said, it's not really a great example of the style, but I absolutely loved the taste: citrusy, pine hops balanced by a light note of biscuity malts. The mouthfeel was on the heaver side of light-bodied, smooth and perfectly carbonated, with a lingering hoppy bite to the finish. Overall, this was a very enjoyable brew by the good folks at Foothills, and would make a great session beer.

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Photo of tdm168
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Fork and Barrel in Raleigh

Pours a pure gold with thick head that stays around. Nose is pure straw/wheat. Taste offers light malt and a decent balance of hops; after a few sips the malts become a little sweet. Light bodied, carbonated well, and crisp. A very good pilsner.

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Photo of startreker
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Nice foamy head, that left generous lacing throughout the beer.

S. Very nice pleasing smell, reminds me of fresh made bread.

T. Lives up to what it claims. Very nicely balanced with sazz hops, and malts, that make this a pleasure to drink. Very creamy taste I might add.

M. Nice full mouth feel going on here. Not watery or overly filling, very satisfying!

O. I like this beer very much, although a bit pricey, so I would only buy this once and a while. I actually enjoy this more then Pilsner Urquell!! The balance of malts, and hops is really nice!! This is a beer, that after drinking several of them, doesn't get that awful bitter taste happening, after knocking them back all night long. That`s a huge plus in my book!!
Also proud to say, that it`s made in my home state of N.C.

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Photo of John1985
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale yellow with an inch head w/ lacing down the glass. Mild malty aroma, Assertive lemony malt flavor with a burst of hops to balance. Light bodied, crisp and very drinkable. I had two pints and wanted more. This would be a great hot weather beer.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The shaker pint draft is bright golden and clear with a small white head. I am puzzled by the dearth of retention and near-total lack of lacing.

The smell is grainy with a touch of herbal spice and a mild twang of mysterious citrus that freshens the aroma profile.

The taste is dry, dry, dryly malty with a touch of spice and a mild grainy tang. Crisp and refreshing, the drink begs a follwup sip again and again.

Light-medium in body with perfect carbonation. Quaffable.

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Photo of irishstoutlvr
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a refreshing pilsner. It was different from a lot of pilsners I have tried, which is a good thing. Foothills is a great beer maker. They have a good variety of styles, and the Torch goes well with their lineup. This beer complimented my dinner well. I had a great burger, and homemade chips.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted at home from my keg into a bitburger glass.

The beer poured into the glass with a nice darker golden body underneath a white head that holds a nice film and laces well down the glass. The smell is spicy czech hops and sweet pilsner malt. The taste is also very hop forward balanced by the malts with a nice bitter profile. The mouthfeel is great for the style. Enough body but still light for drinkability. Overall, a very drinkable pilsner. Not a german style as listed on this site, but a nice czech style one.

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Photo of plaid75
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barley's, Asheville, NC.

Poured a medium straw hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a potent noble hop and a doughy pilsner malt.

The taste consisted of round pilsner malts with accents of herbal noble hops.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty pilsner. Better than most.

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Photo of malvrich
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Brown bottle into a 14 oz. pilsner glass.

A: Slight haze to the dull straw yellow color. 1.5 finger frothy loosish white head quickly subsides leaving a very nice lace "pattern". Big bubbles!

S: Strong bready/cracker malt smell with a light but noticeable hop background. Cut herbs and crackers. Crisp, snappy and lively.

T: Dry crackery malt hits first with enough crisp herbal hops coming through to keep the beer interesting. Hops almost exactly same in strength as the barley. Well balanced is an understatement. I expect the malt not to be obscured by hops in this style and this is practically perfect, as the 2 compliment each other beautifully.

M: Not much to comment on here, but the carbonation is nice and fine textured on the tongue.
Great finish! Dry hop remnants with still that crackery "snap"plus a slight chewiness.

O: One of my very favorites recently, this is a go-to for me. It may be obvioius that I'm a pilsner guy but this is extraordinary IMO. And when it's on sale for $8/6 (which is pretty frequently here in Durham NC) it's hard for me to choose anything else. I love Torch!

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fantastic offering from Foothills Brewing Company in Winston Salem, NC.

Golden in hue, this brew presented with a light, effervescent head that quickly dissipated. Aromas whafting of pilsner matl, slight sweetness and grassy Czech Saaz hops. Nice balance in the nose. Crisp on the palate with a good balance of the grain bill and the hop goodness. Decent body, on par for the style. One of my favorite, traditionally-made pilseners in the country. Paired well with a fresh Bavarian Brez'n with mustard...


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Photo of DrewsBrews450
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy yellow color with a thick head and sticky lace.. A/T pale malt, a lot of honey, grassy bitterness.. The honey breadyness doesn't really fit in with style but this still taste awesome.. Nice medium body but still easy to drink.. The nice grassy hops in the finish is the only thing that really keeps it in style though.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a nice fluffy head; good retention and a nice lacing pattern

Smell: Shortbread malt, with hints of lemon, grass and mineral tones

Taste: Like it smells, with the shortbread arriving first, followed by the grassy hops; subtle hints of lemon and mineral tones

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Nicely hopped, but a little sweeter than I would otherwise expect; nevertheless, I really enjoy this beer and have had it many times as it is often on the menu at local restaurants - surprised I haven't rated it before

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4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber to stange. Thanks to rbradley for sending some Foothills my way! Sampled 4/14/12.

A: Pouring down the side of the glass produces a solid finger of off-white fluffy/foamy head that lasts for about 15 seconds before fizzing out to a soapy film. The body is light orange-yellow with remarkable clarity and plenty of bubbles moving quickly through. Wavey patterns of lace sticks to the glass in spare quantities.

S: Spicy hop bouquet that leans grassy more so than floral. The upfront hops are backed by a general, cracker-like graininess. Very clean aroma with little to no fruity esters.

T: Clean and crisp flavors. Strong hop character overshadows the malt base. Bitterness is on the low side of the spectrum at 35 IBUs, but hefty enough to carry the load. A light and pleasant sweetness creeps back onto the tongue on the backend of the palate. Simple, straightforward - and very successful.

M: Medium light body. Crisp, prickly carbonation that eases up on aggressiveness as the swallow commences. Spot on for the style.

O: A very solid Bohemian - and better than most in fact. Torch Pilsner is a super clean, refreshing quaff that begs for outdoors and a hot day to compliment the drinking experience. Happy to have tried this one...

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Asheville Pizza and brewing this afternoon. I have seen this before in Greenville at Blue Ridge and at Barleys but have never given it a try for some reason. I actually wasn't going to today either, until I remebered that I hadn't given it a try yet, so I figured what the hell. I need to try all the foothills brews anyway so this is just as good a place to try a new one as any right. So for a warm day in July with my pizza on the table, I go with a nice german pilsner, this is the life isn't it?

Poured a bright golden yellow with a one inch white colored head. A ton of carbonation was evident right from the start as the bubbles were just screaching to the top to get out. Lots of activity from a visual perspective, however it died down very quickly leaving only a bright yellow fizzy looking beer. No lace to speak of. Not saying this looked bad, not at all. Just about your average pilsner. Maybe a little brighter then normal, but very nice clarity and overall look. On a side note this was served very very cold. Seriously I have not had a beer that cold in a long time, it was in a room temperature glass , but the beer was like ice. Very nice touch, I really felt it brought out flavor as opposed to dampening it, but we will get to that aspect later.

Very odd smell, I had expected your normal bland pilsner grain smell, but there was something decidely different here, HOPS, and a whole lotta them. Nice bitter smell mixed in with the grain and yeast. The flavor followed along tightly with this as well.Very crisp clean feel and finish. But what was the most remarkable was the bitterness of this pilsner. I really have never had one with soo much bite before. Really was extremely nice.

Overall this was a really good pilsner, and totally away from what I was expecting. It was light enough to drink on a hot day or in large numbers, but at the same time had enough character, enough profile to carry its own weight even at night. This was a superb choice at the time, and a really good brew. I would definatly order this up again!

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Torch Pilsner from Foothills Brewing Company - Downtown Brewpub
84 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.