Freestyle Pilsner - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Freestyle PilsnerFreestyle Pilsner

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BA SCORE
86
very good

42 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 42
Hads: 135
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 4.95%
Wants: 3
Gots: 15 | FT: 1
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:
Beer added by: Wolfsdenbrew on 05-14-2006

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 135
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (872 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, and yes, procured as part of a singles sixer at the local King Soopers in Glendale, Colorado, last week.

This beer pours a clear, pale golden yellow hue, with two fingers of puffy, lazily foamy, and somewhat bubbly chalky white head, which leaves a few instances of sudsy low-lying cloud lace around the glass as it genially abates.

It smells of gritty, grainy pale malt, saltine crackers, white pepper, a touch of underripe lemon, ethereal gasohol, and earthy, leafy, and grassy hops. The taste is sharp grainy, bready pale malt, earthy yeast, lemon cookies, and spicy, leafy, and wet grassy hops - simple, and just how it should be.

The carbonation is tight in its taciturn doling out of the bubbles that gaily dance on my tongue, the body a pleasantly zaftig medium-full weight for the, ahem, 'style', and mostly smooth, these hops knowing where their bread is buttered. It finishes a tad off-dry, the malt still worthy of mention, but really it's the hops you're going to write home about.

They are right in their assertion that a Pils can be 'freestyle', which is simply a fancier way of saying that this is a mutt. Yup, a lovable, multifaceted, easy to get along with, beer-drinkin' man's best friend sort of thing. Since I keep vacillating back and forth between Czech and German proclamations (American, really?), I'm happy to just sit back and enjoy the rest of this in the manner intended. (1,417 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
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. (454 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big white head sat a top a light hazy honey colored beer.
Slight sour aroma with both grain and hops coming through.
A slight bitter grain with a light sour and some hops taste, a good blend.
A nice dry aftertaste with slight hops hints.
This is a rather enjoyable beer, Pilseners aren't usually my thing, yet I liked this one quite enough. (340 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
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 (538 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Yo, I'm gettin' ready to Freestyle, yo! The CANQuest (TM) has enabled me to freebase, freeform, freeball, exercise my freedom, freely express myself, but never Freestyle, until now! CAN you dig it?!?

Music: Yo, I'm crankin' Freeway, don't call me "Free", yo! It's Philadelphia Freeway. Don't diss me.

From the CAN: "Hoppy. Refreshing. Doing its own thing."

Man, I dig the Crack & Glug action! Here, we had a finger of foamy bone-white head with decent retention. Color was a medium golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose was full-on Saaz hops and all of a sudden, I was like Pavlov's dog - slavering at the mouth. And I just had some well-made Pilsener ... The Hops jones may be returning. Dang. Oh man, this was so soft in both mouthfeel and tang that i just wanted to lie down in it. This was like that first jolt of horse that wrapped me in its arms, made me feel loved, wanted ... no, never mind that. This was a soft beer, though. Lovely. I CAN dig the western US wanting to get onboard with the Lager program, us orientals having dominated for so long. What is the opposite of "oriental"? "Occidental"! Look it up, fool. Nice dry Noble hop finish. This is a madd nice beer for the cooler on the beach, bee-atch! You dig? (1,234 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.37/5  rDev -12.2%
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. (1,514 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer. Pale golden/clean yellow pour. Bright white and foamy head. A bit of lacing in the glass but this one is pretty clean.

Soft toasted bread aroma with subtle yet spicy hops. Grassy a bit, but only if concentrating on it. Otherwise this aroma is easy to take.

Flavors are light, but good. Most of the toasted bread is up front and on the very very end. The middle is sprinkled with un-obtrusive hops. Noble hops, saaz I guess. Floral and clean. This is a great summer brew by itself, as precursor to more beers (both hoppy and malty), or with some grilled goodness.

Nice job (603 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
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. (303 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.15/5  rDev -18%
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. (986 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can, picked up a fresh sixer of this new release while in Albuquerque. Love the simple design of the green can, hop cone with halo on one side and hop cone with devil horns on the other....very cool. Pours a crystal clear, medium yellow color with a rather ordinary cap of white foam. Retention just ok and lacing is poor.

Nose has an earthy quality to it that is unique and smells 'thicker' than most other pilseners for some reason. Maybe it is the alcohol sticking out boldly or maybe even the light touch of fruitiness.

Taste has more of the aforementioned earthy hop flavors and a grainy, biscuity malt. Has a good balance of bittering and flavoring hops, even some floral characteristics come out as it warms. Taste is pretty clean and this is a damn good first foray into the lager category by the exclusively ale producing Santa Fe Brewing Co. Very drinkable with a unique flair that makes this one worth a try or two should you ever find yourself in the high desert of the southwestern US. (1,006 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass. Bright clear yellow with a little lace on the sides of the glass. Smells earthy with a twinge of alcohol. Tastes like a pilsener, not much mineral flavor and not a very strong flavor. Very easy to drink and I'd probably have one on a hot day sitting on the porch. (298 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Along with the Porter this has to be one of the best offering from SF brewing. Pours clean and with a nice head. The colour is on the light side but enticing and combined with the saaz hop nose the beer is very much a true take on a South German Pils. I really liked the finish and the decent amount of hops involved. I expected a dumbed down take on a lager but got one of the better takes on a Pils I have had in awhile. Too bad it is seasonal and only in New Mexico. (469 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
3.61/5  rDev -6%
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. (769 characters)

Photo of allengarvin
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: 3.5 - Straw gold that's a bit hazy, with a good initial head that fades quickly.
S: 3.75 - Decent though somewhat faint noble hop aroma
T: 3.75 - Bitterness is on the moderate side, leaving a fair amount of sweet malt flavor. The hop taste, though, is excellent. Finish is a touch grainy.
M: 4.0 - Light bodied, lots of carbonation
O: 3.75 - Not a bad German pilsner, though I prefer more hops. (397 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Santa Fe Freestyle Pilsner has a thick, white head, a mostly clear, straw, bubbly appearance, and a good amount of lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet, pungent barley malt and grassy hops. Taste is of sweet, fairly rich, biscuit malt and grassy, slightly lemony hops. Mouthfeel is medium, and Santa Fe Freestyle Pilsner finishes crisp, clean, and refreshing. At 5.5% alcohol, this beer gives you more of what you might be looking for in a lager.

RJT (463 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack of this one the other day. Really enjoying these Santa Fe cans. This one poured a clear golden color with a nice white head. Aromas of light malt, grassy hops and straw. On the palate, this one is very light bodied and easy drinking, with flavors of grassy hops and biscuity malt. (301 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -21.9%
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. (350 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
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... (490 characters)

Photo of rawfish
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (644 characters)

Photo of Rayek
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (567 characters)

Photo of bennetj17
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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... (970 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (568 characters)

Photo of bump8628
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
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. (368 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a fluted pilsener glass.

Look: A clear golden body holds up a white cap that recedes to an even film of white. Light random spotty lacing.

Aroma: Typical lemongrass notes, subtle grain sweetness, slightly bitter with hops.

Taste: An equal combination of hoppy bitterness, malty sweetness, and earthy lemongrass.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light, carbonated, dry.

Overall: A pretty clean, grassy, and slightly hoppy Pilsner. Nice warm weather brew. (459 characters)

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Freestyle Pilsner from Santa Fe Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.