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Freestyle Pilsner - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Freestyle PilsnerFreestyle Pilsner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

72 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 9.52%

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
German Pilsener |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
As its name suggests, this Pilsner does not like to be categorized. Inquiring whether it is a German, Czech, Bavarian, American, or any other style pilsner will result in an impatient sigh and the explanation that the whole philosophy behind this pilsner is that it does not fall into any categories. True, it is brewed with traditional ingredients (soft water, pilsner malt, saaz hops, and German yeast), but it is the way that these ingredients interact, and the characteristics of the yeast, that cause this particular pilsner to defiantly stand alone. The assertively hopped Freestyle pils exudes the flavor and the aroma of the classic Saaz hop (a tribute to “the original” pilsner), while maintaining enough body to balance but not overpower this hop’s pleasant, spicy tone. An unhurried lagering process so frequently overlooked by American craft brewers is strictly adhered to in the production of Freestyle, which makes this beer by far the most light, clean, and quenching beer in the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s line up.

(Beer added by: Wolfsdenbrew on 05-14-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 36 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tone77


3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Another beer by way of the legendary woodychandler. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a cloudy light golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is a bit floral, some grains. Taste is refreshing, malts, grains, some floral notes, very easy drinking. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a fine session beer.

Serving type: can

04-03-2014 11:50:11 | More by tone77
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A steady pour from the can to my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a one-finger thick, pale, just off-white colored head that disappears pretty quickly. The beer is a bright gold color that shows a pale gold color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of floral hops backed by a hint of Meyer lemon zest and some honey like malt as well as a touch of cracker like malt character. The aroma has a sweetness (aka sweet grain notes) to it rather than a more herbal hop character, though it certainly is a good step above a mass produced lager in character.

The beer starts out with a light hop bitterness and it picks up a touch of herbal character as it rolls across the palate. There is a significant, sweet grain character to the middle and finish that sort of seem to be crying out for some crisp, balancing, hop bitterness to add some bite. A touch of lemon zest as well as some floral hops each help to accentuate a honey like note from the sweet, pale maltiness. This is nice and light, and eminently quaffable, but without seeing overly light; you can certainly feel a touch of body to this and even a light viscous quality as it flows across the tongue.

Definitely a beer that would hit the spot on a hot summers day; this is likely best served at or below 40°F, as I am sure this would help this seem a lot more crisp (I have served this at 50°F, which brings out more of the flavors, but makes it taste sweeter than it otherwise would. Not bad though, and I am happily finishing my can of this beer.

Serving type: can

08-23-2013 03:29:12 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Libationguy


3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy medium straw color with yellow hues. Bright white thin head with low retention.

Biscuit aroma with lemon zest, corn flakes and a light spice. There is a low ammonia note here too. Not sure where that is coming from. Some light spice.

Crisp cracker, lemon peel, green apple and a slightly toasty note.

Nice medium bodied texture. A very slight bitterness from the hops is well balanced in the beer. Crisp, clean finish.

Serving type: can

08-16-2013 02:34:31 | More by Libationguy
Photo of matttttYCE


3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow straw color, slightly hazy, misty white head, less than a finger high, with decent lacing and retention even for a slightly smaller head. The aroma is crisp, light pils malts, hay, plenty of noble hops, grass, lemon zest, light apple/fruity notes, light yeast, hint of spice. The taste is along the same lines. Grassy, floral, noble hops, lemon/citrus, crisp and somewhat dry yeast with straw and bscuity malts, spicy notes, fruity notes in the background. Mouthfeel is pleasant. Crisp and smooth consistency, carbonation is medium and apt for the style, light medium body, again quite fitting, and a finish that's crisp and wet on the tongue.

Overall this is a wonderful Pils. Maybe I'm partial to pilsners but this one is quite good in my opinion. The best out there? No, Victory's Prima Pils takes the cake as far as German Pilseners go, but still a damn fine offering of the style.

Serving type: can

07-16-2013 07:04:57 | More by matttttYCE
Photo of JMad


3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a very pale yellow color with a thick, soapy, white head.

It's aroma is filled with lemon and grass, along with a slight bready, malty smell.

When I took a sip I tasted lemon first, followed by dry grassy and a citrusy finish. Almost reminded me of a dandelion field in the summer.

The mouthfeel is light with lots of subtle carbonation and a dry finish.

I really enjoyed this pilsner, it's one of my favorite styles but I haven't had one in awhile.

Serving type: can

06-22-2013 01:28:54 | More by JMad
Photo of StaveHooks


3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz can served in a Sam Adams perfect pint

A - Pours a light pale gold with a airy white head that recedes pretty quick. A few patches of lacing left behind.

S - Clean pilsner malt, bright grassy noble hops, lager yeast.

T - Follows the nose with lightly sweet pilsner malt, grassy hops, tangy apple and fruit, hints of chalky lager yeast, grassy hops follow through the the crisp clean finish.

M - Light to medium body, smooth carbonation, crisp and clean finish.

This one went down quick. A crisp and refreshing pilsner that would be a great seesion candidate.

Serving type: can

02-18-2013 19:37:18 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of garymuchow


3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a friend of a friend. Lovely how such stuff happens.
Reviewed in my head before seeing the specs. I had anticipated some adjunct when I drank it- but website specs don't say so. I also thought some Am. hops-wrong again.
Pours looking like an a Am. lager. Nice white head over a golden body. Aroma was light on the hops (I see no can dating to get a guess on that). Had a touch of sourness and more of an Am. yeast quality with just a touch of the Saaz.
Bittering is nice with some definite hop flavor. The Am. hop part seemed to be light citrus flavor (lemon/lime quality) that was quite nice. The malt seemed very Am. lager with even an corn like quality.
Drank like a regular Am. lager. Not too light. Carbonated well.
Enjoyable for an every day/lawn mower beer.

Serving type: can

12-08-2012 22:29:41 | More by garymuchow
Photo of Hopswagger

South Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P:  Hazy pale golden body with bubbly streams cascading towards the top. Crowned by a shirt lived white airy head that settles to a swirly wake. 

S:  Lemon zest and citrus aroma followed by honey, pilsner malt, herbal notes, lemon grass, coriander and a pinch of salt. Crisp and clean nose. 

T/M:  Tart lemon zest start with citrus, herbs and floral bitterness. Honey, light matinees and a medium coarse feel that finishes crisp with a tad of wetness. Excellent hop flavors with no overpowering bitterness.  The finish reveals apple peels, green pears and subtle phenolic presence. 

O:  This is the second beer I've has from the Santa Fe Brewing Co. But I can say I'm a fan so far. This German pilsner is well balanced and has a great slightly coarse mouthfeel. Flavors explode on the palate and leave you thirsty for more. I'm really amped to try more from this brewery. Cheers!

Serving type: can

10-13-2012 17:36:02 | More by Hopswagger
Photo of phishsihq


3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Freestyle Pilsner pours a crystal clear, pale golden color, and is capped with a soapy, white head that leaves minimal lace. A light, bready malt profile is backed up with grassy aromas and a hop spiciness. Bready and grainy husk flavors open on the pallet, and a slightly citrus, mostly spicy hop notes pull this crisp brew through to the end. Medium to medium-light in body, this pilsner is moderately low in carbonation. Happy to have stumbled on this one!


Serving type: can

10-08-2012 00:31:24 | More by phishsihq
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

definitely one of the more exciting pilseners ive had in awhile. this simple looking can of beer is anything but. it pours a darker shade of pale (if you will), with a frothy white head that lasts. it smells more like an american pale ale than a german pils, with robust malting and way more hops than almost any beer ive had from this genre. the flavor is well balanced but big, and the hops are all the way throughout the flavor, not just in the finish. its not bitter at all, but rather smooth and round from the sturdy malt support. i taste more english style than german malts in this, but to be fair i was putting these down at a pretty alarming rate due to its wonderfully refreshing mouthfeel and the unseasonably hot temperatures lately. medium body (if not more for a pils), and average carbonation. this is a surprise and a half from santa fe, i really like it.

Serving type: can

09-26-2012 00:28:19 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of russpowell


4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent gold with 3 fingers of pearl colored head. Very good lacing & average head retention

S: Grassy & perfumy hops, plus some metallic notes, great nose

T: Grassy hops, bready & crackery notes & dryness up front. Citrussy hops come through as this warms, dryness, a touch of faint husky grain as this warms. Finishes crisp, with a slight sweet breadyness, pus some nice citrus weaved in as well

MF: Medium bodied, soft carbonation, nicely balanced

A very nice German Pils & a great canned option that drinks too easy

Serving type: can

08-29-2012 00:32:42 | More by russpowell
Photo of busternuggz


4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pilsner glass. No visible freshness/bottling date.

Saaz hops are foremost in the smell, spicy and floral, a little grassy. Pronounced.

The taste follows with spicy, floral, and grassy notes. More hoppy than I expected, but well balanced with a touch of malt sweetness. A bit of a soft lemony note. Has a very nice subtle aftertaste of herbs, grass, and honey. Refreshing, engaging.

Light bodied with a slightly creamy texture that ends light and fairly dry, with just a little lingering malt clinging on.

I am a big pilsner fan, and this was a nice surprise. Well balanced with a pronounced hop character and some complexity. Definitely the best beer I've had from Santa Fe Brewing. Great summer beer, or any time.

Serving type: can

08-10-2012 05:03:53 | More by busternuggz
Photo of bump8628


3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Filtered gold with a thin cap of foam that falls to a broken ring of bubbles in a few minutes. Clean with a light grainy doughiness. Hops aren't as potent as advertised on the can. Subtle grass and lemon notes with a black pepper hit as it warms. Bitterness is subdued. A bit weak all around becoming almost watery through the middle. This one needs a little tweaking.

Serving type: can

07-24-2012 18:05:35 | More by bump8628
Photo of beergoot


4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear, pale straw yellow body with a bubbly yet substantial white head. Soft floral hop aroma with a hint of light biscuit aroma. Light, delicate malt flavor, nicely paired with a subtle hop bitterness. Soft, clean, dry finish.

Quite the find for a German pils, better still something like this in a can. Easy drinking may be an understatement for this beer! Delicate flavors with a decent all-around bitterness. Fresh and delicious, well-balanced and a credit to the beer style...

Serving type: can

07-24-2012 02:07:07 | More by beergoot
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks like a faint yellow beer, soapy white head, looks like your average pilsner. Aroma, comes off like a saison, a little bitter spice to it. Didn't know anything about the massive disclaimer corporate write up on here at the time, but I figured that's why they called it freestyle, to be half assed apologetic/cya about it not being completely traditional. Whatever, I don't care, I just hate pre-emptive apologies.

More of the spicy floral taste more akin to a saison than a pilsner of any kind really. Not much in the way of hopping, yet a discernable bitter presence to it. Kind of like that floral pepperiness in Cantillon Mamouche, but without the sour aspect, but the lemon and pepper are still there.

OK stuff, call me a conventional hop head, but I love their ipa, this stuff, was just kind of like a yardsale ale where you throw a bunch of shit in and see what happens, call it unconventional etc. . . its ok, but I don't see it falling into the repeat purchase category.

Serving type: can

03-26-2012 22:00:21 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of ZenAgnostic


3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can poured into Three Philosophers snifter.

Appearance - Slightly cloudy light gold body. Thin white lace with low stick.

Smell - Honey sweet. Light.

Taste - Burst of flavor but still light and clean. Acidic.

Mouthfeel - Light-medium body. Good bite from the alcohol and hop.

Overall Drinkability - Refreshing but not boring. Great beer.

Serving type: can

10-18-2011 18:16:24 | More by ZenAgnostic
Photo of kgotcher


3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a kind of hazy light straw color with a fizzy white head. The color looks very weak but as you pour and the aroma releases you can tell it is not a weak beer.

Aroma is kind of musty but in a good way like yeast. I Can pickup a good malty sweetness and enough hops to give it that german and czech pilner bite.

Taste is more hoppy than expected, Not a hop bomb like Victorys pilsner but a more earthy lemony hop that stays farily mellow. Actually lemon is a predominant flavor in this beer from the hops. Good malty sweetness helps tie everything together.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bit more body than the appearance gives away. Good carbonation keeps everything light and refreshing.

I like this beer, different for sure and probably not fitting any particular style for a pilsner that I can think of. Maybe that is where the "freestyle" comes from.

Overall it is very drinkable while also being interesting.

Serving type: can

10-10-2011 21:58:22 | More by kgotcher
Photo of bennetj17


3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A craft Pils in a can, now this is something I am always looking for. It claims to be an extra hoppy Pils too, and with the hop cone on the front of the can I am expecting it to be. Pale yellow color, only a slight chill haze, with slow looking carbonation. The head is pretty thin and dissipates quickly. The smell has a nice lemony zest, though the hops aren't much more potent than any average American version of the style.

I'm actually more impressed by the bready malt character than any supposed extra hoppiness. It's just a nice, clean and refreshing example of the style. The mouthfeel has a decently sharp carbonation, and is light but not too thin.

It's nice to have another decent Pilsener available to me locally, but unfortunately this is nothing amazing. For a hoppier, American style Pils I think of Sly Fox Pikeland Pils, and this is not quite at that level. If it's a good price though, I will not hesitate to grab a 6-pack of this in the future...

Serving type: can

08-26-2011 06:15:32 | More by bennetj17
Photo of pkeigs


3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love the Santa Fe cans, none of them have disappointed me. This style seems to belong.

One of the cleanest Pilsners I have had to date. This has been a go to beer for me lately. Smells of german noble hops and nice pilsner malt. Little biscuity, very refreshing. Over all just a clean drinkable beer. I wish I could get Pilsner Urquell in can near me to try side by side with this one.

Serving type: can

08-02-2011 13:48:46 | More by pkeigs
Photo of djeucalyptus


3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

first: thanks to chugalug06 for this one! stoked to try it. second: the can art is awesome. I don't keep cans, but this one might stay.

pours a light straw hue, crystal clear with fervent bubbles that fuel a fairly thin one-finger creamy white head that fades but leaves a thin cap. minimal lacing.

aroma is clean pils style... bready malts, hints of straw, and a smidgen of hop spice.

taste is full for a pils. bready malt with a touch of light yeast. that good citrus zest note is definitely there, as well as a clean herbal hop finish.

mouth is surprisingly full with a bit of tooth to it. clean, although a touch syrupy. a clean herbal bitterness in the finish isn't bad.

all in all, one of the more interesting pils I've had, and one of the more interesting cans. everything works pretty well... it's not earth shattering, but it's damn tasty. I'd buy it regularly if it was local.

Serving type: can

07-18-2011 02:06:07 | More by djeucalyptus
Photo of chugalug06


4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off: Awesome CAN!

A - Nice clear yellow with lots of white and some orange. Gentle stream of bubbles rising from the center. Head is a creamy white. Not too much lacing.

S - Very standard Pils scent with slight lemon/fruit kick.

T - Definitely above average for the style. Lots of uniqueness in this brew. Great refreshing lemon taste. Perfect for a post 14er brew.

M - Very moist. Slight bitterness. Chewy.

O - It needs to be said that Pils are typically not my favorite style, but this one definitely stands out with great uniqueness. Quite an intriguing brew. Perfect for a post hiking sip on a hot day in the mountains.

Serving type: can

07-10-2011 00:30:33 | More by chugalug06
Photo of mactrail


3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lemony, tart lager with a touch of hops. Straw yellow in the tall glass. Reasonable foam but a good mouthfull of carbonation. Hint of citrus melts into a sharper taste and ends with some slight bitterness.

Susbtle flavors with a touch of soap. I"m not sure this is an improvement over seltzer water. But it has a cheerful beeriness that makes me think of Trader Joe's cheap Pilsner. Would be interesting to compare the two to see which comes out on top.

Serving type: can

07-07-2011 05:00:35 | More by mactrail
Photo of Rayek


3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Freestyle enters one of my favorite pils glasses with a brilliant gold color. A dense and soapy white head has nice retention and leaves bits of lace.

Noble hops and a honey sweetness dominate the nose. In the mouth, the beer feels rather dense for the style. The vigorous carbonation is about right. Moving onto flavors, the beer is well balanced. Dry grains and a light sweetness are out front. Bitterness is mild and carries a lemon and pepper kick. The beer finishes rather clean.

Overall, this is a nice Pils. A slightly lighter body would put it over the top.

Serving type: can

07-02-2011 20:15:50 | More by Rayek
Photo of Beaver13


3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can. Pours a clear yellow with a medium creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is bready malts and Saaz.

The flavor is slightly sweet bready malts with a lighter noble hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth, slightly spritzy carbonation.

Overall, a decent Pils. Nothing special, but very drinkable.

Serving type: can

06-30-2011 01:03:20 | More by Beaver13
Photo of rawfish


3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a straw color with a soapy 2 finger head with poor retention and little spots of lacing. Held up to the light it's the same color as mountain dew.

Yeast and hops. Malt is completely swallowed in earthy yeast and grassy and herbal hop aroma. Slightly dank with a touch of lime but hoppier than most other lagers.

Sweet grain and pale malt unobtrusive and spicy and floral hops sprinkled through the middle of the drink. Finishes drying and clean.

I felt this one was nicer when warmer, subdued carbonation with a nice light body.

Noble hop profile with an extra kick of spice, smooth and drinkable, a Prima Pils from the high desert.

Serving type: can

06-29-2011 00:48:41 | More by rawfish
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Freestyle Pilsner from Santa Fe Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.