Penn Pilsner | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

240 Reviews
Penn PilsnerPenn Pilsner

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our flagship brand! An amber Vienna-style lager beer that is smooth, mellow and full bodied, with delicate hop aroma. Uses two-row barley malt and caramel-roasted malt. Based on founder Tom Pastorius' favorite German bier.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 240 | Ratings: 454
Photo of muskiecf
4.73/5  rDev +31%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Although this is titled a pilsner it is fact a Vienna Lager. It's a traditional German recipe that's dead on for the style according to the homebrewing bible- Brewing the Classic Styles. extremely smooth and slightly sweet with a dry finish. Low carbonation makes them easy to drink and adds smoothness.I love this beer.

The original owner recently came out of retirement and bought the brewery back. He was upset that his labor of passion was run into the ground and eventually closed and contracted the brewing out of the area. Well Penn Brewery is back and is now brewing on site again and it shows. This is the Penn Brew we loved not that other stuff that just had their name on it. This is what Pennsylvania German craft beer is all about my friends. Thanks to Tom Pastorius for bringing traditonal German craft beer back to Pittsburgh. Try it. It's a great lager. Cheers!

 879 characters

Photo of Schmidts
4.6/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just tried this last weekend and I like it. Pours a nice medium yellow with touch of Grain in the smell,kind of toasty grain. Pours with about 3/4 inch head light lacing in the glass. Mouth feel is very nice as soon as I had one I ended up having 3. A very flavorful drinkable Pilsner in the old style. I have to say for the price not cheap, but they have hit a home run on this one I will go back for more in the very near future. This is one very Drinkable Beer!

 464 characters

Photo of jneiswender
4.5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A-Very clear, yellowish brown beer. Nice beaten egg white head.

S--sweet malt, apple like smell.

T--Pumpernickel like malt flavor that seems to go back and forth with the hop bitterness. Crisp but not too dry. Becomes more bread like as it warms.

M--medium body. Starts thick and then thins out as it goes down.

D--Definately drinkable. A nice departure from the current winter beers out now (writing in January and its 8 degrees F). Would like to try this in the summer.

Overall a great beer with a lot of flavor for this style.

 585 characters

Photo of jkrich
4.5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date; purchased at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH. Served in pilsner glass - poured a deep, clear golden color with a sustained, white head.
Spicy, perfumy hop aroma.
Tasted very clean, malty and bready with just the right amount of noble hops to balance the flavor; dispite the dominant malt flavor, the hops never allow beer to become cloying.
Medium body mouthfeel - nothing is overwhelming on the palatte.
This is an extremely drinkable, light version of a vienna lager which leads me to question the name, "Penn Pilsner." Even the brewery website describes the beer as a "vienna lager." In any event, I quality lager I highly recommend; despite the lightness of the beer, the taste is complex and remains appealing.

 750 characters

Photo of WJVII
4.47/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BOM May 2009
Of the May BOM brews this was my favorite. Poured into a pilsner glass this brew is a golden wheat color with a clean white head that left no lacing but settled in a nice cap. The aroma is very doughy with some sweet floral notes. The taste is crisp and had a bread taste but there was a faint floral balance and a mild bitter bite in the finish. This was moderate in body and a little higher in carbonation. All around solid brew. The taste was so fresh, crisp, and refreshing. I wish I had more to share (but the cost for an extra 12 pack is just too much). I guess I will need to keep my eyes open if in Pennsylvania.

 633 characters

Photo of BruceBeerman
4.47/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had Penn Pilsner in bottles many times but when I bought a keg, I was stunned by the freshness and much hoppier flavor. This adds to the overall score. If you can get it on it!

Amber color is strange to true pilsner style. I always thought pilsners were meant to be straw in color. However, with the added hop and crisp taste, I guess it fits the style other than color.

A very dinkable beer (especially on tap) and I had the pleasure of getting very fresh in Pittsburgh. The head retention is very good with nice streams of carbonation going up the sides. not as nice as the true Czech Pilsner's, but definately like the German Pils. This is a German style up and down. But I don't remember too many amber pils in Germany. I'll be sure to look harder next time I am in Frankfurt.

All-in-all a very nice beer.

 834 characters

Photo of chefoz
4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An amber Vienna-style lager beer that is smooth, mellow and full bodied, with delicate hop aroma. A session beer head and shoulders above most in this style. I have this beer on tap in my man cave, it is easy drinking, great tasting and priced perfectly. A must try for someone who wants to get into drinking craft brews.

 321 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served as a 12 oz. bottle. The color was a golden brown, with good head. The smell was malty, with a bit of hops to it.. The taste was also very malty, but with an excellent hop backing as well. The mouthfeel was smooth, with great carbonation. Drinkability-wise, this is an excellent beer to session on.

This was probably the first micro I ever had in my life, and err, some years later, it's still one that I enjoy quite a bit. It's a shame this isn't a nationally distributed beer..........but hey.......more for us in the Burgh!

 536 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.4/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reddish Gold, white stiff head, blotches of lace.Classic Pils aroma of malt and spicy Noble Hops. Dry, spicy, clean taste. Soft but firm mouthfeel. This is a very satisfying, well made and enjoyable beer.

 204 characters

Photo of MirkoCroCough
4.4/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into Great Lakes pint glass.

Very nice golden, sun at dusk color. Nice white foam.

Great beery, malty aroma. Very clean.

Amazing balance of hops, malts. Honey like sweetness, but not over the top.

Very smooth and still. Just the right amount of carbonation. Refreshing finish with the perfect amount of dryness.

Awesome beer that goes well with anything.

This beer reinforces the fact that some of America's best beer comes from the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. A total winner from Steel City. Drink it.

 527 characters

Photo of ejimhof
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All Penn beers taste best when fresh and on tap this is a very good beer. The consistency once was a problem but with more in house brewing this beer seems to taste good every pour. Not really a pilsner, not really a Vienna, but a very good lager. A little bit sweet but very easy to drink more than one. Highly recommended when in Pittsburgh.

 343 characters

Photo of Lexluthor33
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden,light brown with a small head and consistent lace.

The aroma of grains,malts with some light hops and a hint of caramel.

The taste starts off semi-sweet with very little bitterness and a healthy dose of malts and herbal hops.

So smooth and crisp at the same time. Medium carbonation with exceptional balance.

Notes: I really enjoyed this. Sessions with this beer are great and while it states that it is Pilsner it is actually a Vienna Lager. What a good beer that is so easy to drink.

 500 characters

Photo of Alkey
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle clear clean dark golden color with small white head leaving spotty lacing around the glass. Smells of malt and a faint of scent hops. Taste of light caramel malts and a bit of a hop bite. Feels crisp, clean and refreshing and is very drinkable. An easy beer to turn to when your in the mood for something light and thirst quenching.

 345 characters

Photo of Jayli
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 11/9 at Regatta in the Pittsburgh Marriot
Served in a pint glass

A: This beer pours a nice, clear, copper color with a 1/4 inch of white head that recedes immediately. Spots of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Nose is grainy, hearty bready malts and a hint of sweet caramel malt.

T: Taste starts with a bit grain lending to a caramel and grassy hops flavoring. A hearty bready malt fills out the middle with a finish that brings up some pale malts, a resurgence of grain and grassy earthy tones.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, clean and crisp.

D: Goes down easily, very tasty, mild kick, nice representation of style. This beer completely hit the spot. One to drink for a while.

 715 characters

Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a sparking rich copper color.

Overall: The aroma is a nice caramel malt.The taste contains slight bitterness with fresh malty body. This is a clean, crisp and delightful tasting beer featuring flavors of sweet baked bread and nuts. This is a top notch beer that you can drink year round.

 306 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Already reviewed this beer in the bottle version, just tapped a keg of it the other day on my new draft system (still missing a shank for the third tap) was drinking on the deck on Memorial Day really enjoying it and decided to review the draft version.

Poured into a tall 22oz pilsner glass left about a 1" head on it,a slightly off-white color with good retention. The color was deep golden with an amber hue very clear.Very lively throughtout constant streams of tiny bubbles racing to the surface.

Very fruity aroma,seemed more so than the bottled version. Very clean with a nice light toasted carmell aroma. Some delicate perfumy/flowery aroma making the aroma very inviting.

Clean.fruity taste with a toasty carmellness with some slight grassyness, leaves a sweet malty taste with pleasing fruity tartness lingering on the palate. Well balanced and very tasty.

A fairly light mouthfeel,tangy with some slight cloying. Very easy drinking, could drink this beer all summer long. Very good summer session beer. Could keep this beer on tap all summer long

 1,069 characters

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, medium gold with a one inch beige head that has good retention. Sheets of lacing follow. Nice aroma of sweet caramel malt, lemony ctrus, and a touch of pine. Taste is extremely pleasant. The sweet malt backbone is well balanced by the bittering and aromatic Hallertau hops which lend considerable bittering. This one finishes clean and dry. This may be the best Pilsner I've ever sampled. Certainly, the best American pilsner I've had. This is only my second brew from Penn, but I've been very impressed with the quality of these Pittsburgh brews.

 562 characters

Photo of cichief
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally found a few six-packs in Maryland.

A- Pours a light amber color, with a light tan head of foam, about one-half inch thick.

S- Smell is bready and slightly hoppy, very inviting.

T- Very balanced between the malt and hops, with a slightly toasty flavor, followed by the hops.

M- Very well carbonated, not too thin, not too fizzy.

D- A very good beer, which could, and no doubt, will be, enjoyed all night.

 426 characters

Photo of goindownsouth
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I will not mince words on this one. This Pilsner ranks up there with domestic micros like Scrimshaw and imports like Jever, in my humble estimation. This brew oozed from the 12 ounce bottle a wonderful glowing golden color and left a respectable head for admiring - albeit a temporary thing. The aroma was bready, earthy and ever so slightly spicy. A great attribute of the German pilsner style. The flavor gives you something rarely found...a solid tasting German-style pilsner. If you can get your hands on this one, you will not be disappointed.


 559 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single, twelve-ounce bottle just copped from New
Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan...
Pours a ruddy, tawny, deep, dark-amber hue with a modest head that left a minimal amount of lacing...
Sweet, malty, bread and butter aroma on the nose...
Taste was replete with caramel, candied sugars, honey, bread and butter, malts, and honey...
Good, rich, creamy mouthfeel along with a superb level of drinkability make for a teriffic depiction of the style...

 481 characters

Photo of cooch69
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured a light copper. It was as clear as can be and it came with only a few strings of lace on top.

Nose comes off immediatly as a Lager due to the extremely obvious clean sulfuric character. Also very clean crisp sweet bready caramelly malts.

Taste is immediatly sweet malts with a nice amount of balancing hops, mostly bittering. Malts come back and push through the finish to leave the mouth refreshed.

Many Penn beers and never a bad one yet.

Hip Hip Horay Penn Brewery!!!

 494 characters

Photo of proc
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a reddish-amber in the glass with a large head. Aroma is that of malt and bread dough. The taste here is very good -- no make that excellent. The Pilsner style is so underdone by American micros, that this was such a pleasant surprise. Malt is prevelant, with a light citrus touch, giving way to a hoppy, but not overly done finish.

Easy to drink. This is a very good pils.

 390 characters

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.16/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date poured into American shaker pint.

A--Orange and honey-toned body with a fizzy one finger head that dies immediately without lacing--even the skim is faint and ringed.

S--Heluva nose for a subtly hopped lager. Really an accomplishment: I get grassy brightness followed by crackery, husky malt, and even a bit of lemon tang in the back, at the very end of the sniff. Definite interplay between the malt and the hops that is both straightforward and totally satisfying. Wow, couldn't ask for much more and still stay authentic.

T--Very close to the nose, especially the husks and the breadcrusty and crackery character of the malt--very pronounced and complex barley presence, which also contains caramel aspects. Hops are noble and quite present at the end of the tasting, lending bitterness if not that dry-hopped puckering (or even the citric elements of a Boston Lager's finish). No off sulfur flavors, and the hops are so delicate that you even get a bit of that lemon tang from the nose carried over into the mouth.

M--A bit watery, but that might just be me being bitchy and nit-picky. Carbonation is spot-on and inviting for another big swallow. Definitely embodies the lager gulpability principle, as this ain't no sippin beer.

D--See above--gulpability is more appropriate. I'd love a few of these in the summer over a barbecue or just sitting out in the sun. Refreshing and full-flavored. The gold or the kaiser pils might be better for dog days weather, but right up to then this sucker would work great. It also is extremely versatile with food, as different aspects of its profile come out depending if you are eating something sweet, spicy, bitter, etc.

If you like SA Boston Lager or Brooklyn Lager, I'd say give this one a try. Doesn't have the same hop character--American style hopping is truly unique--but is much fresher than a similar-styled beer coming from Germany. Not a pilsner, so the name's stupid, but just forget that once you pour it into a glass!

 2,019 characters

Photo of
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Crystal clear, true golden color. Modest, off white head.

Bread/dough aroma. Sweet wheat bread, but faint. Grassy & floral notes.

Herbal & spicy, with a biscuity malt character. Very little sweet flavor, if any. Bitter lingers nicely.

Light in body, with medium + carbonation (perhaps a bit too high). Dry.

Excellent. A fine beer. Refreshing & sessionable. Not going to blow your mind with flavor or ABV, but a pleasure to drink. I think this is going to start me exploring this category again.

 523 characters

Photo of kush6875
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

penn pilsner bottle poured into a pint glass:

pale golden caramel like color

smells of toasted malts and grains

nice crisp german lager. very true to style. toasty malt backbone with just a litte hop presence.

overall a very easy drinking, basic , quality craft beer. great beer to drink in the spring and summer months.

 324 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Penn Pilsner from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.61 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.