Reality Czeck | Moonlight Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Moonlight Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Czech Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-22-2005

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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 288
Photo of BrewnZ
2.65/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

14 Feb 08

I am a fan of German (and Belgian) brewing traditions so I was looking forward to Reality Czeck when I sat down at the Toronado.

A: Unfiltered but clear, deep straw look.

S: Floral hops, lager notes, woody yeast in there maybe?

T: Lager notes up front, then noble hops ring through, then rough malt. For me, too hoppy for style (typical of west coast lagers). The bigger disappointment being the rough malt character.

M: Medium bodied, seemed too big with dry pallet.

D: Medium, due to dry pallet and rough malt.

A good beer, but a Czech pils is like someone doing ballet, gracefully, elegant. This pint was more like a hip-hop dancer, definitely an American version of the style.

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Photo of portia99
3.1/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco. Served in a standard pint glass.

A - Poured a somewhat pale, golden color with excellent clarity and only a skim coat of white foam that faded quickly down to a medium sized collar on the glass. No lacing.

S - Grassy and floral hops mixed in with some sweet malt, bready and biscuity notes too. Typical, but good example of the style.

T - Followed the aroma pretty well - grainy, biscuity, balanced malty sweetness, floral hops with a big earthy and bitter hop finish. Unfortunately, got a big dose of diacetyl in here too, which is a major detractor, especially in a style as light as this. Not sure how old the keg is - no reviews from the Toronado in a while, but I would expect the keg to be fresh here. The diacetyl really killed my enthusiasm for this one.

M - Medium bodied with appropriate medium carbonation.

D - Well, I came into it wanting to like this a lot. The keg at the Magnolia kicked when I was there earlier in the day so I was very happy to see this on tap at the Toronado. My first thought is that this is just an old keg or maybe it hadn't been poured in a while and was sitting in the lines, but at a place like the Toronado I wouldn't expect this. At any rate, the diacetyl was overpowering and really killed my enjoyment level on this. I'd love to give this one another shot at some point, but at least for now, it didn't live up to the hype or my expectations.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.22/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Toronado's in San Francisco. The beer was clear with a little haze, gold colored with a thin head and no lacing. The aroma was toasted malts with some light citrus like lemons or at most orange. The taste was similar to Pilsner Urquell, at least as much as I remember it, lightly hopped and understated which is OK for the style. Good carbonation, medium body, everything is OK but not mind-blowing like I hoped from a beer that's been on the top 100 for so long. Not sure what the appeal has been with this beer, I definitely didn't feel interested enough to get a second one.

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Photo of Phatz
3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sample this beer with another BA who owes thanks for the opportunity to a trade with RedwoodGeorge.... Hand-bottled via counter-pressure system, this beer was interesting and the effort is appreciated.

As a guy who is not all that eh into to Pilsener's, I must admit in advance I tend to be hard to please in this style.

Appearance: Pour is a yellow gold with a small white head that fades fast. No notable lacing.

Smell: Odd. It had a Pilsener malt base with a attribute that seemed a bit farmhouse Saison sitting lingering atop in the nose. It had a cat-pee-ish/saison spicy overtone that caught me off guard.

Taste: It is dry and bitter and certainly a bit aggressive for a Pilsener with grain and pils malt and grassy floral hops that bite in the throat.

Mouthfeel:This is a light bodied beer that is creamy and smooth yet dry and and clean. Apropos.

Drinkability: As I got further along on this beer I started to warm up to it a bit more. By the time I was really enjoying it the bottle was gone. So, it must not have been to bad.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Damian
3.45/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank on-tap at Toronado, San Francisco, CA
Served in a tumbler

Poured a slightly hazy, bright straw yellow with a tight, bubbly, bright white, one-finger head. Short-lived rings of lacing stuck to the sides of the glass.

The aroma was very mild initially but it came out more as the beer warmed. Pilsener-style malts were noticeable along with a definite noble (and possibly saaz?) hop presence. Grassy and flowery. A touch skunky as well.

The taste was crisp, snappy and quite spicy. Piney, pithy and very dry. Somewhat grainy with lots of hop oils and practically no malt presence to speak of. Rather unbalanced and almost a bit harsh. The resonating finish was super piney, bitter and dry.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied. Creamy, lush and smooth with a fine yet intense carbonation. Mouth coating.

Drinability was rather disappointing, especially for the style. A similar hop profile may have been acceptable for a an imperial pilsner with a much higher ABV, but not for a beer that rings in at a modest 4.8%.

Reality Czeck is simply a super hopped up version of a Czech pilsener. Frankly, I was expecting a whole lot more from this brew.

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Photo of JDV
3.57/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at CIty Beer Store in S.F. Thanks to Craig for the sample of this. Smell was somehow of a spiced cream corn, and not corn in the way that cheap beers smell or taste of corn. Light clearish yellow color with a unique taste to match the smell. Has a nice almost spiced maybe subtle bitter bite to it, and was quite nice. An interesting beer worth trying if you can get a shot at it.

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Photo of errantnight
3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Expanded from notes taken 1/3 @ The Toronado - SF

Something of a disappointment, and (to my tastes) quite clearly a product of its limited distribution and hype (it's far and away the most well reviewed pilsner out there). This is by no means a bad beer, but it's not the best Czech Pilsner out there, let alone the best Pilsner. It's not even the best US made Czech Pils I've ever had. All that said... it's good, and I'd happily drink it again.

Looks like you'd expect a pilsner to look. It's pale gold with just a hint of head and no serious lacing to speak of.

Aroma is malt forward... and that's alright. I like pilsner malt aromas. But the hops are firmly in the background, and overall it seems a bit thin, even for a pils.

The taste is almost shocking... it's slightly full bodied for a pilsner, and the wallop is that it's a kind of raggedy malt profile that again dominates the palate, and a shy, vaguely spicy bitterness that hides at the end. There's a bit of a toffee note around the edge (at first I thought this might be diacetyl, but I think it's just a slightly too far forward melanoidin character).

Despite the slightly fuller feel, I'm alright with the mouthfeel, it's carbonated right (although that's more Toronado knowing what the hell they're doing than anything), and it's not HEAVY, it provides a more substantial experience than your typical watery nothing american lager descendant.

While a perfectly drinkable and perfectly easy to drink beer... this isn't something I see myself asking for again. Particularly when it's dark cousin (Death and Taxes) keeps calling my name so seductively.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.59/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Toronado in San Francisco. A good pilsener is one of me favourite styles of beer, so I was very excited to try the top-rated example here on BA.

Pours a bright and slightly hazed straw yellow colour. Head is fine, leaving excellent white and intricate lace, that starts as sheets down the glass. Light body with some fine carbonation. Looks very good, and very stylistically true.

Nose is disappointingly bland. Grainy for the most part, giving a pilsner grain backbone to which nothing else connects. A little vegetative bit, but minimal depth of character.

Taste is grainy, again—the pilsener grain character is pronounced, but it feels like it's all it has going for it. Otherwise, a slight funk of frozen peas, minimal bitterness and no fragrant hoppiness. It's crisp and drinkable, but still rather bland.

Light and drinkable, but also very standard, and rather uninspiring. It's fair to say I was deeply disappointed with this beer, being nothing more than a middle-of-the-road pils. As far as I'm concerned, New Zealand has the jump on this style nowadays—Croucher and Emersons far outstrip this one.

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Photo of samie85
3.62/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes; originally 6/9/11.

A-A very clear golden color with a finger of white foam in a pint glass... I've seen this one before.

S-Lemon and spicy hop notes with light and bready malt notes.

T-Light, bready malt notes with some tart and bitter lemon on the finish.

M-Light side of medium bodied with ample carbonation and a prickly slightly drying feel.

D-A very easy drinking beer that I wouldn't mind having regular access to; however, I don't see what all the fuss is about with this beer as I've had other Czech pilseners that were equal or better than this one.

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Photo of MexicanSkittel
3.66/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So having this on tap now.

Poured a slight hazy golden yellow with slight orange glow. There was a 1/4 inch off white head, that left in about a min. The haze was one as well after it set to a bright gold.

The smell is faint, little straw and malt.

Taste is kinda mild too. Watery straw tea, I find sone citrus.

Mouthfeel is nice and easy. Aside from a light bitterness on the finish, I could easily take down six of these on a hot sunny day. Granted it's drizzling today so mostlikely just one today.

Overall, not bad, but certainly not my favorite. I was expecting just a little bit more. I'll revisited again though.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at Toronado. Yellow coloured body with a white head. Grainy. Very nice session ale. Medium mouthfeel.Lightly sweet. To me, a good lager. Not much hops detected by my palate, and its early in the day. I am open minded, but I was expecting more.Appropriate carbonation.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado San Francisco in August 2009.

A: Pours a golden color with a white head.

S: A decent amount of German noble hops, but nothing overpowering, and there isn't really too much else going on.

T: A good amount of grain matched against the noble hops, but nothing terribly special. Maybe it's the hype, but this one really didn't live up to my expectations. Nothing really set it apart from other pilsners that I've had.

M: Light with moderate carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable, but not more so than most for the style. I didn't detect nearly as much of a hop presence as others have discussed, so I'll make sure to revisit it again in the future.

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Photo of craytonic
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pour is a near-clear pale lemon gold with a light chill haze, decent head and lacing.

Smell: I was expecting it to be crisp but it was a bit muddled. Slightly earthy, perhaps ozone is what I am getting.

Taste: Again, a slightly muddled. Sadly didn't bring back memories of my trip to the Prague. Nice balance with the hops, well done. Slight metallic taste to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Nice, creamy and light. Shines here.

Overall/Drinkability: Great session beer, was our first beer for the night.

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Photo of dgilks
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado SF.

Clear pale golden colour with a small head and nice lacing. Poor head retention.

Light spicy hop aroma with mild pilsner malts.

Smooth, light grainy malt with a hint of spice. Moderate herbal bitterness.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. Solid.

A very good Czech pilsner with good flavour and balance.

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Photo of Philousa
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Imbibed on tap at burger. Santa Cruz on 5/25/13.

Pours a clear, tawny yellow, bordering on orange. The thin white head sinks back to the glass after each sip. Tart, somewhat sweet, tangy, and a little walnut, this beer's aroma is dominated by yeast characteristics. Flavor has more sweetness in honey with biscuit and cracker. The hops are bright and nectary with a green, young bitterness to them. Finish is fairly sweet and feel is watery, as a good Pils should be.

I like this beer, but I think I'd reach for a Death and Taxes instead because its slightly sweet for me.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a very light straw beer with amazing clarity and pristine virgin white head 1.5" thick at Toronado SF. Aroma wasn't great, a bit of that funky saaz noble hop thing going probably, no skunkiness, but if you read my reviews, thats not always frowned upon compared to your average lager reviewer.

Crisp, clean, easy drinking, slight hop and bitter twang but no aftertaste or lingering flavors, just bam, done. A very good lager and all, but allow me to fulfill the stereotype and just say that there's easily one hundred ales I'd rather have than this beer. A good beer though and something worth looking for and seeking out if you're a lager guy or girl.

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Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado and again at City Beer. At first I didn't see the appeal to this one, but on my third time having it I really got it. This is a great Czech pilsner.

A - Golden color with a medium white head and decent lacing.

S - Grassy hop aroma along with pale malt. Real nice hoppiness to it.

T - Pale malt and loads of fresh, grassy hops. Also a buttery flavor (diacetyl?) that actually works well here

M - Light, sharp, and crisp with a dry, fairly bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable. You could session the hell out of this one.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Toronado, SF. Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Lightly hazed golden wheat color. Came with half a finger of frothy white head. Decent retention and a decent amount of lacing to accompany.

4.0 S: Fresh spring water. Lightly yeasty. Grainy with grassy hops.

4.0 T: A good bit more bitter than the average for the style, but not overly so. Mix of grainy and bready malts. Earthy hop flavor.

3.5 M: Medium to heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Much thicker than I would have imagined and perhaps a touch chewy. I actually would have liked this to be a bit lighter and crispier.

4.0 D: I never thought I'd want a lighter, "less filling" body on a pilsner, but apparently that's what I want. Good taste and overall good beer though.

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Photo of weeare138
3.97/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Toronado in San Fran...
Appears a semi transparent gold with a small, off-white head that fades into a mild collar. Plenty of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of citrusy, orange rind with lemony notes on top of some doughy yeast. There is also aromas of light cracked corn coming through.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with the cracked corn, grain, and floral notes coming through. It's on the hoppy side, that's for sure. Hmmm...
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spritzy, yeasty with the pils malt shining through and the herbal/floral hoppy bitterness settling on the middle of the tongue. Citrus and yeasty notes battle it out to the semi-bitter ending.
I'll admit that I'm not the biggest pilsner fan out there but I'm just not understanding why everyone is going ape-shit for this brew. I would actually place Victory's Prima Pils (on tap) ahead of this beer. Argue if you must but I'm standing my ground.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.97/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellow with amazing clarity and a soft white head just under 2 inches. Aroma was a noble blast.

Real crisp and clean with higher levels of hopping, but from the usual varieties. Its definitely a top tier lager, but I tend to like the uber proprietary hopped lagers that are out there after this one had been top dog for so long.

Anyways, totally crooshable summer lager stuff right here.

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Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a shaker pint glass, fill to the rim at the Toronado in San Francisco.

A simple dull but bright and slightly hazy body color. Dull to light lemon with no collar presented. Some lively carbonation surprisingly, but a good solid looking pils in character.

Big bready notes. A perfect example of balance though in terms of the malt chewy character and hop bitterness. Hop character though very buried even in terms of light pils, you have to look for it. An impressive sense of neutrality if I could say that. But this aroma is not impressive, but solid and decent. Very good.

Palate seems to continue the bouquet sense with a little bit more panache. Mild hop presence more distinct on the nose in the mid and aftertaste. Dough like qualities more in character to German pilsner quality with a great and solid dense backbone. Good simple mouthfeel that carries everything nicely, but forgoes crispness and pop on the character.

This is just simply a decent pils, very good. A world class beer? I am going to have to say no sorry. Would I like try more beers from this brewery? Absolutely yes without question.

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Photo of treyrab
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Took a trip out to San Francisco to swim Alcatraz and while there made sure to stop in and get a pint of this on tap at Toronado. After a long walk down the psychedelic Haight Street, we strolled in here through the double doors.

A: Reality Czeck pours a clear golden bronze with a nice foamy white head. Look is similar to a Prima Pils, but perhaps a few SRMs darker. Very clear, and nice and cold such that it starts to fog the class. The head sticks around, but does not lace. Active carbonation throughout.

S: The smell is lively with toasted grains, some underlying Saaz, and a touch of corn. Nice and light smelling, and the true scent comes from the grains. Very grainy, but not as hoppy as I was expecting. Pretty plain, with a clean Czech lager yeast scent.

T: Very nice and smooth European Lager. This is very balanced and thirst quenching on a hot San Francisco day. The grainy character is there again in the taste, and really overpowers the hop presence. When I think of good American lagers I think of Prima Pils, Stoudts, and Pikeland. Primarily because those have a nice German/Czech spicy hop character. I was missing that in Reality Czeck.

Overall, a very well done lager. This could gain gratefully with the addition of a few more spicy, grassy hops, but very well done throughout nonetheless.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Flavor bistro in Santa Rosa and served in a Moonlight Brewing pint glass (proper glassware). Bright yellow, clear, huge pillow of white head. Aroma is nice and fruity , malts, hint of lager yeast. Flavor is lager yeast, crisp, fruity, pretty much one of the best pilsners I've tasted and something you just want to gulp down.

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Photo of Lothore
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours light yellowish with a decent head that fades to some lacing with very few carbonation bubbles visible.

S- Smell is generic pilsener in a good way, earthy a bit spicy, that indescribably lager yeast quality in the nose.

T- Taste is light, floral, crisp, refreshing. Not as much to it as I was expecting but everything there is tasty.

M- Mouthfeel is a bit thin with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This could easily be a session beer. I had Pliny the Younger right before this and I think the awesomeness of that beer overshadowed this one a lot. It's a good brew but I don't think it can hold a candle to prima pils.

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Photo of oakbluff
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado SF Sept 19. Pours the usual golden pils colour with good clarity. Reasonable ivory coloured head. Nose- spicy , fresh mown grass. Taste- light toasty malts with the spicy/grassy kick of the saaz hops. Finishes quite dry with crisp bitterness. Carbonation levels are moderate making for an easy refreshing quaffer.

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Reality Czeck from Moonlight Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 288 ratings.
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