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 gman1602
1/5  rDev -73.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Looks like Bud Light, Tastes like Bud light, Basically they made Bud Light. Seriously, tasting it side by side with a Bud Light that is 5 years old in my fridge that was leftover from a Bachelor party. Fairly similar.

I love the brewery, LOVE their Saison and IPA, but this tastes like Bud Light (I think it's the finish for me). Most beer drinkers could probably recognize the taste, I disagree with selling this as a Pilsner. Only my two cents as a lover of beer...
Cook with it, good for Chili or something else, but only at bud light prices, not at craft beer prices. Unhappy with this beer but they do offer some fantastic other options.

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Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Traditional looking pilsner with maybe less clarity. Average white head, lace, retention. Aroma was a bit different. Couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a belgian yeast or a saison.

Hoppiness jumps out on the taste, wouldn't say its particularly good though. Spicy at times. I guess freestyle means just throwing a bunch of random shit in and seeing what happens sometimes.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.06/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Because I've never had a beer from New Mexico may not be a good reason to buy a beer it is nevertheless the reason I bought this beer. Gold with good retention for a pils. Smells like cereal grain and spicy saaz. Has the body of a German pils and the prickly pepper spice of a Czech pils. Aight. Best beer I've ever had from New Mexico.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

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Photo of phishsihq
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
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!


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Photo of Libationguy
3.37/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.37/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Clear 8-oz. tumbler glass
From: Trader Joe’s in (Uptown) Albuquerque, N.M.
Price: $1.34
Purchased: May 6, 2016
Consumed: May 7, 2016
Misc.: No BOD

Can read “Hoppy. Refreshing. Doing It’s Own Thing.” Sounded like a hoppy pilsner, so count me in. Have some high hopes on this one.

Poured a yellow, golden, clear color with two fingers of offwhite, frothy head. Lots of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Average among of uneven foamy lacing. Below average retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Definitely some hops in the nose, but no hiding the pilsner notes. Getting grainy malts, buttery malts, spoiled fruit, dry Cascade, German hops, sourdough bread, saltine crackers, grassy hops, hints of soapy pine and some lingering spiciness in the nose. (Smell - 3.25)

Taste followed the nose for the most part, getting corn, buttery sourdough bread, saltine crackers, grainy malts, spoiled peach, grassy hops, dish soap, spicy notes, lemon zest and German hops. (Taste - 3.25)

Light body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Lively carbonation. Abrupt, spicy, but clean finish. (Feel - 3.75)

This was not nearly as good as I hoped it would be. Couldn’t get over those buttery notes. Probably still overrated it a tad. (Overall - 3.50)

3.38 | 77 | B-

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Photo of tone77
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

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Photo of bump8628
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.61/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.66/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of rawfish
3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of pkeigs
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

A: poured into a Pilesner glass to a pale yellow that's a little hazy with a finger and a half of dense and soapy white head that retains well
S: smells of clean malt aromas with a little bit of spicy hop aroma
T: taste is clean and bready malt that's a little sweet, some slight hop bitterness and some spicy flavor from the Saaz. swallow is more clean maltyness, a little banana, a slight mineral taste and a slight amount of citrusy hop bitterness on the finish
M: fairly light in body with slightly prickly carbonation and a refreshing finish
O: Not a bad stab at the style. very light with decent flavors and it's definitely a good summer brew

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Photo of JMad
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of kgotcher
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
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...

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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