Freestyle Pilsner | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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Freestyle PilsnerFreestyle Pilsner

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

Style: German Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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.

Added by Wolfsdenbrew on 05-14-2006

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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 161
Photo of russpowell
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
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

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Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
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?

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
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

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Photo of beergoot
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
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...

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Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of busternuggz
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
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!

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Photo of mjurney
4.16/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straw color, clear. Highly carbonated. Frothy head.

Grainy, grassy, spicy hops, very crisp and clean.

Sweet malts, grainy, grassy, biscuit. Hop bitterness is medium, mostly spicy, a little floral. Finish is very crisp, yet pretty dry. Light bodied, crisp, refreshing, slight dryness, super drinkable.

It's an excellent Pilsner.

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Photo of Domingo
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another canned brew from Santa Fe. This time it's a pilsner. While it's playfully claiming to not fall into any normal pils guidelines, it's pretty close to a south German one.
Pours a pale straw color with a massive head. Lighter than most, but falling closer to the south German pilsners...which are a little lighter.
Saaz hops and a hint of pale malt on the nose.
Sweetness hits the tongue right away, but is followed by floral bitter hops and just a hint of honey-like lager yeast.
Texture and drinkability are pretty much what you'd get from a Munich pils. I'd say that was probably their inspiration and this has turned out to be a good take on one.
A good summer beer that you can have several of and pair with something off the grill.
NM is cranking out some pretty solid beers these days!

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Photo of chugalug06
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of EvilPumpkin
4.01/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a Bell's Tulip glass. Light straw color, almost completely clear. Very clean looking. Ivory white head that dissipates at a moderate rate. A great looking beer, my only complaint is that the head didn't stick around as long as I would have liked, although this is a minor complaint.

S: A light grainy sweetness with some lager yeast, followed by a tad of crisp hop bitterness. Pretty standard, to-style pilsner smell with a little more hops than expected but still the sweet grainy lager smell that made me expect a typical sweet pilsner.

T: Like in the nose, an initial grainy sweetness typical to style but followed by a crisp hoppy bitterness much greater than in the nose. Finishes with a wonderfully refreshing mix of sweetness and crisp, green hops.

M: A standard light beer mouthfeel. Light in thickness with a nice light carbonation that dances on the tongue.

D: Balances the typical grainy sweetness of pilsners nicely with some well-appreciated cripst bitterness. Maintains a crisp, refreshing drinkability.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +7.2%
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.


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Photo of stephens101
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Effusive froth and pale yellow in color. Smells earthy, malty and grainy with some damp hay thrown in for good measure. Melon, grain, furtive spice and slightly vegetal on the tongue. Smooth with no rough edges makes for very fine Pilnser drinking.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of indiapaleale
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - light golden, straw-like in color with a thin head that is quick to disappear. Clean and clear in appearance with a good carbonation level.

Aroma - a little bit grainy, hay, grass with a touch of citrus.

Taste - grainy, malty with some nice hints of floral citrus and bitterness from the hops. This is light bodied and very refreshing on the palate. It finishes dry with some tanginess and a lingering hop bite. A very well done pilsner that has some nice unique touches to it.

Overall - smooth, satisfying and very refreshing. A solid and unique take on a traditional style. Easy drinking and well worthy of the investment.

Would I buy more of it? - sure, there are a few canned craft pilsners and this is one of the better ones.

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Photo of akolb
3.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big lemon aroma sets expectation high. Smells like a pale ale with some crackery pilsner goodness.
Taste is bready, spicy, malty, lemony. Finishes dry. This is a wonderful American-style pilsner. It nods to tradition while taking things in a contemporary hoppy direction. Best beer I've had from Santa Fe.

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Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden yellow, with a moderate white head. Lots of clinging lace.

Aroma has that typical lager yeast smell and a slight dry hop bouquet.

Taste is dry and crisp with a really nice bitterness, maybe a little more than to style, but i really enjoyed it. Definitely saaz hops here.

A light beer that is slightly lacking in malt backbone, but only slightly. Nic epilsner that is highly carbonated and very refreshing.

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Photo of Rayek
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Typical golden pilsner color with a two finger bubbly head.

Aroma- Nutty pilsner malt with some citrus and sweetness.

Taste- Follows suit with the nose with lime and nutty flavors.

Mouthfeel- Crisp, noticeable carbonation, and a clean aftertaste.

Overall- Nothing that is going to make you say wow, but its simplicity is its strongest feature. Its a simple hoppy pilsner thats perfect for relaxing with or pairing with spicy food. (89/100)

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Photo of emmasdad
3.88/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of Harrison8
3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear pale yellow with a 1 1/2 centimeter white head. Head retention is moderate-good with only a little lacing left behind. Nice lowkey pine hops with a subtle biscuit malt backbone. Very low aroma. Biscuit malts, a little Belgian spice and yeast populate a mild flavor profile. Mouth feel is bubbly, with about a medium-thin consistency. Overall, it's a fun brew that works well. Definitely easy to crush.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Freestyle Pilsner from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 161 ratings.
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