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Drake's Zatec Pilsner | Drake's Brewing Co.

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24 Ratings

Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mark on 09-10-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 23
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ounce bottle sealed with a very colorful and nicely decorated crown cap. Simple brown glass bottle is covered in one of those plastic shields where the see through parts lend the impression that the bottle has separate front, back and neck labels, when in fact it does not. Standard “Drake’s” 12oz design is differentiated only with the words “Zatec Pilsner” against a Golden Yellow background. Described as a Pilsner Lager made from German Pilsner Malt and Czech Saaz Hops. Listed at 4.8% Alc/Vol.

Appearance: I am emotionally torn on marking the appearance, on the one hand it looks nothing at all like a Pilsner so I erred on a a 3.0. Moreover, it resembles a Belgian Wit with a murky lightly hazed soft golden yellow body and half decent white head. That said, one the hand, it looks rather good if you put the assumed style to one side, which I do often as I’m no style Nazi so I’m going with the 3.5 regardless, style guidelines be damned. The head retention is average though, but the creamy white cap maintains a half covering throughout and laces nicely with a smattered like lacing so deserves an extra half point. Super-fine conditioning almost looks milky at times when swirled. Looks good, regardless of what it is supposed to be.

Nose: Delicate nose has a low but firm odor when chilled; only when it warms a little past its best for the taste does the strength or the aromas beef up to a decent level. Background has soft Pilsner malts, lightly toasted with a gentle hop character that has a little spice.

Taste: The body is average, as indeed are the strength of the tastes, but that is to be expected to a certain extent. This is a very clean Pilsner and as such it is easy to dissect the essential components. Well rounded soft toasted German Pilsner Malts do not disappoint. The Czech Saaz Hops do though; they seem a little too muted, what is here is not enough. Dry finish with some herbal earthiness to it, some wood too and a hint of the yeast used. The ending lingers for a short while, but the separation is exceptionally clean and it undocks with no hassles or trailing cables, this does tend to leave you wanting more though and it ups the Drinkability no end I find.

Mouthfeel: Positively fizzes on the tongue with each mouthful, the finely dissolved carbon dioxide helps to lend a bigger feel than this probably has. Light body with a healthy poise, it can easily step up and fight a weight higher than it actually is. Very smooth and clean.

Drinkability: I just picked up the one of these, but I’m headed back for a Six-Pack, this was reasonably priced and the Drinkability is such that you could easily do some serious damage to a Six-Pack in no time I feel.

Overall: I almost missed this one on the shelves, and my experience with Drake’s was a little up and down in the past, but recently the freshness and quality have both improved to a point where I dabble in a few bottles now and then. I won’t make the mistake of buying a single next time - it will be a Six-Pack for sure. Despite the confusing looks, this is a recommended purchase. Now, if they only added a little more Saaz Hops into this one, it would really kick ass I think.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to fartingdog for this bottle obtained in a trade. I am a pilsner fan so I am always looking to try a new one even if it is categorized as American All-Malt Lager on BA. Pours with a thin head. Light yellow color expected of a pils. Fairly hoppy in smell but not as hoppy as Victory's Prima Pils. Tastes clean and a bit hoppy for a pils. Low ABV and good mouthfeel so this is easy to drink. A good brew all in all.


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Photo of magictrokini
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear gold with a puffy white head. Sweet, grassy aroma with lemon, bread, and powdered sugar. Clean, crisp taste of malt and grain. Biscuits, sweetbread, and citrus-hop blend well, but tends to be on the sweet side. Was a bit disappointing, given the brewer involved.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up as a single at Total Wine in Roseville, CA this afternoon (this is one of those rare occasions where I'm rating the beer the same day it was bought). Super ploughy head from the yellow pour, amazing head. Really one of the most impressive lagers I've seen (looks).

Aroma was very much Saaz and dryness. Taste, more of the same, plenty of flavor in this light style beer. You would think this was straight outta Germany from the way it tastes. Big time Euro hop crispness, very pale malt.

While I wouldn't trade this for some denogginizer or their regular ipa, this is a very good change of pace, (especially when you're in humid ass Visalia for your cousin's wedding).

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.37/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

There's a slight chill haze to the pale yellow liquid in the glass. Looks more like a Wit than Pilsner to me.
A nice snow-white half finger head tops it, but melts pretty quickly to a ring of sticky lacing.
Aromas are bright and clean...lager yeast and a bit of bread dough.
Flavor is bright with only a hint of the pale malt sweetness in it, then very drying from light citrus hops. It becomes a little too drying as the bready yeast seems to take over at the end, though, distracting from the refreshing qualities I look for in a good Pilsner.
Great flavor....short on the aftertaste and a bit too drying.
I feel a little guilty being the low score (so far) on this beer, but it is following a fresh Victory Pils and honestly, there is little comparison there.

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Photo of Troyone
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a white frothy hazy and light golden color with maybe a lemon hue, has sediment suspension with lots of action.

A sweet, slightly caramel, malt smell with florals.

A sweet barley pale malt grain taste with a pine and grapefruit/orange/lime hops flavor throughout, also has a hint of butter in the background.

Light/medium bodied, slight butter and resinous feel, lively soft carbonation.

Definitely a session beer, the hops are great and blended well with the malt, this is well balanced.

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Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Sits in the glass a clear pale gold. Clarity is good, though I've seen clearer. A stream of rising bubbles provides nice head retention and a bit of lace.

Smell: Sweet cereal grains over subtle notes of hay and flowers. I'd like a stronger hop presence, but this is decent.

Taste & mouthfeel: Much like the nose suggests, this is a maltier pils with ample cereal grain like sweetness. The finish brings out a pleasant note of floral hops, but it's not quite as dry as I'd like and there's a slight buttery slickness to it.

Notes: A very decent pils, but there are better examples coming from the West Coast.

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Photo of Murchmac
4.09/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glows a california mayan gold with bubbles of a dynasty long drunk on the shores of lake menochova. Smells wicked hoppy and spicy with a faint beer smell, what MGD would try in it's visions of amber waves. You can taste each individual grains with the first couple sips. Tastes wicked spicy and hoppy with a good mouthfeel and wide balance. Lasting finish, makes you burp a couple times, good session beer if youre a conquistador.

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Photo of Zorro
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly chill hazed yellow beer with a good white head.

Smell is Herbal and grassy with a good Nobel hop scent, slightly soapy smelling. This has the trademark Saffron like spiciness of a good pilsner.

The taste starts out very mildly sweet with a straw aftertaste. Neutral grain flavor with a nice crisp hops bite. Little bit astringent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is OK.

An OK beer but not one I would normally buy mass quantities of. It is just OK.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired concurrently from fartingdog (from Birthday Club 2) and IntriqKen, so a big "Thank you" goes out to them. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a very light yellow color with a very thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very sweet with bready but light malts, lager yeast and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is bready and a lot hoppier than I had expected along with flavors of lager yeast and grain. Despite the breadiness, the malt character is very thin and the sweetness that you get in the smell seems to disappear. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light body, heavy carbonation, very clean finish.

D: A little tasty, not filling at all, not much of a kick, good representation of style, it's a decent mild beer to drink for a whole evening.

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Photo of Mark
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very clear pale gold, pure white head topped it off. Lacing was quite pronounced from mid glass on down. Not much in the aroma dept, kind of average. Smotth saaz taste was nice and refreshing on yet another hot friggin day. Light mouthfeel, easy drinking and decently refreshing. One could do worse but Drake's other offerings are of a higher caliber.

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Photo of hopdog
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade.

Poured a light to medium and slightly hazy golden color with an averaged sized white head. Aromas of grass, lemons, light grains, and it had a spiciness to it. Tastes of lemons, grass, light biscuit, and it had a light honey sweetness. Quite drinkable, and this one surprised me a little bit (but how can I be surprised by Drakes and I find all their beers to be solid).

Notes from 2/26/07

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Looks nice, yellow beer, clarity, 5/6" white head. Aroma dropped noble earth lemons. Floral, light, pilsen malt.

Taste followed the aroma. Traditional and vibrant at the same time. Light on its feet, ample carbonation, ample old world hops. This is probably exactly what they were going for, executed well.

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Photo of flexabull
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright gold color, clear, with lots of carbonation visible, and a nice white head.

Aromas are faint, some bread, spice, yeast, and a bit of malts.

Tastes starts out slightly sweet, with some creamy malt flavors. Finish is dry, a bit spicy, with a mild mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is good, well carbonated and full feeling.

Drinkability is pretty good. It's a decent pilsner. Not great, but certainly not bad. I wouldn't turn one down, but I don't think I'd grab this one off the shelf again either.

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Photo of BrewnZ
4.36/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a mid-day pint at the newish Revival Bar & Kitchen in Berkeley. An upscale cocktail/wine bar with three great taps.

A: Clear straw with white head, decent foam stand.

S: Malt & mellow black pepper spiciness from hops

T: Crisp malt with peppery hops, delicate and layered. The flavors move across your tongue in waves as the flavor changes.

M: Med-light bodied with med-high CO2

D: A very good US brewed pils, which is tough to find on the West Coast, Trumer being an exception. Still lacking some of the delicate malt character I remember from the Czech Republic. Looking forward to more!

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Hue is a murky straw color, head is white sparkly soap essence that dissipates to a puff, some thin lacing
S- Light bread and biscuit malts, lager yeast, some light citrus and floral hops
T- Smooth and crisp flavor, dominated by clean pilsner malts, a touch of subtle hops, some grassy flavors
M- Light-bodied, slightly viscous texture, light carbonation
D- I would place this in the middle of the pack for the pilsner style, nothing really stands out here and i'm not a huge fan of the style, basic and easy drinking session lager sums it up

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm absolutely shocked to see that this beer is from the U.S. The entire experience with this beer lead me to beleive that we were dealing with an authentic Czech Pils. The beer pours with a standard, firm straw color, abundantly carbonated, and left a light, airy head that retained and laced well. Smells spicy with fresh noble hops (saaz), and a pleasant pilsner malt / raw grain scent that comes across bready and yeasty. The beer tastes quite sweet, with some residual sweetness that rides high, even above the maltiness and assertive hop additions. Hops, however, play a role in the bitterness (still struggling to offset the sweetness), while contributing earthy, grassy, herbal, and spicy characteristics throughout. Textrue is fairly light, but with a light (yet firm) malty texture. Sweetness takes on a light oily (I shy away from syrupy) feel going into the finish. The CO2 and hop dryness shakes off some residual sugars and slick textrues, and helps to clean the beer up, going into the finish. I found that the dms in this beer was easily controled (or hidden) by the hops and malt / grain balance. Any acetaldehyde was as much a complement to the beer as a deterant. A nice Czech Pils that is on par with Bitburger and Warsteiner; however the sweetness is more appropriate for Bohemian Pils.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden with a thick, pure white head that slowly fades. Smells on the softer side, with some lemony citrus, a soft grassiness, and slightly creamy. The taste is still soft and citrusy at the outset, then quite bitter and floral at the end. Certainly not a classic pilsner- the citrus alone makes that clear, and it is a good deal less crisp than I like my pilsners, this one being soft and creamy in the mouth rather dry and crisp. Not a terrible beer, just a bit all over the place.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle enjoyed with a pork chop dinner, on to the beer:

Watch out! A major gusher from the bottle. Cloudy?!? Sediment?!? What's this doing in my lager? The head is fine, sticky, retains well. This tastes like a simple pilsner with a bit of a phenolic nudge. Some citrus with a spicy note....not a lot to note about, but it's good.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy light yellow with a thin white head.

S - Lager yeasty aroma with some bready malt and a touch of spicy, grassy hops.

T - Taste likes it smells with a little more hop bitterness and flavor. Bready malt, lager yeast and a spicy grassy hop.

M - Smooth and crisp with a dry finish.

D - A solid pilsner that I would drink again but just seems to lack a little something compared to some of the other beers of the same style.

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Photo of Floydster
3.07/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle purchased as part of a six pack for $8.99 from Village Wine Shop in El Segundo, poured into a pint glass

A-Golden yellow color that is a little on light side, 1/2 inch foamy white head that does not last long at all, not much retention, no lacing
S-Lots of malt, floral accents, mild hoppiness, slightly spicy aroma at times, grains, also straw, grassy accents, slight twist of citrusy fruits, and herbs
T-At first this beer is a bit sweet, middle is made of up of pilsner malt with very limited chewiness, finish is borderline dry with some weird spice flavor as well, gets sweeter as it warms, almost a creamy flavor to it, especially in the aftertaste, not what I was expecting and just felt off to me, taste was not terrible but something was definitely missing, not much balance and needed more dryness mostly, by the end it was too sweet for a pils
M-Thin body, not enough carbonation for it to be enjoyable, mouthfeel is light and slightly dry, taste did not last long at all, very weak feel
D-Could drink a few bottles of this stuff but it sweetens up quite a bit, alcohol may be low and hidden but not super easy to drink, taste gets tiresome too, not my pick for a session beer

Not Drake's best beer and if I was choosing a six pack from them it would most certainly be their IPA, I was looking for something on the lighter side and it did not turn out to be just that, probably would not drink again, might be worth trying

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Photo of shelby415
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of rkuhnel
3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got a six pack of this at the North Coast Coop in Arcata, CA. Hazy yellow with a white head. Nose of light malts and some citrus hops. Light but smooth mouthfeel. Flavor is classic pils, but is just a little milder than I like, but it is easy to drink. This one may have been too cold. We will see what the next bottle rates like when it is a little warmer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a classic golden yellow with a firm white head, nice looking pils.

S: Very malty, with notes of spice and wildflowers.

T: Sweet cereal and gruel meal character. Hop character is light and spicy, and interesting take on the pilsner style, if not a typical flavour.

M: Light-bodied, needs a crisper body though in this style.

D: An OK pils, I'm not a huge fan, but it'll do in a pinch.

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Drake's Zatec Pilsner from Drake's Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 24 ratings
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