Freestyle Pilsner | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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Freestyle PilsnerFreestyle Pilsner
171 Ratings
Freestyle PilsnerFreestyle Pilsner

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

Style: German Pilsner

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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 171 |  Reviews: 51
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
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 kgotcher
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
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 bennetj17
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
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 pkeigs
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
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 djeucalyptus
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
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 chugalug06
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
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 mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
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 Rayek
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
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 Beaver13
3/5  rDev -18.3%
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 rawfish
3.67/5  rDev 0%
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 Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +18%
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 ArrogantB
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
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 emmasdad
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
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 canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
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 Domingo
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
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 woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +20.7%
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 indiapaleale
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
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 twiggamortis420
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
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 EvilPumpkin
4.01/5  rDev +9.3%
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 LXIXME
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
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 Wolfsdenbrew
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
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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Freestyle Pilsner from Santa Fe Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 171 ratings