Reality Czeck | Moonlight Brewing Company

145 Reviews
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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 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 spycow
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sean and the Chicago crew for saving me some from last night's tasting. Growler opened up with a nice hiss...a great sign that its still fresh! Light bright golden color with nice carbonation and minimal lacing. Floral, grainy and hay like much better than any of the Czech pilseners I've had. Taste is very flavorful for the style getting some floral and slight citrus notes in the finish. Very drinkable, light and refreshing. They are getting everything out this style that definitely lives up to its top rating. What a great beer to be able to drink on a hot summer day. Would love try this again fresh off the tap. Definitely a recommend!!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the 2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours a clear yellow-orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and grass aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, grass, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty, refreshing, and easy to drink.

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Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Magnolia Pub & Brewery, San Francisco, CA

A: The beer is relatively clear yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high bright white head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Light to moderate aromas of biscuit malts are present in the nose along with hints of grassy hops.
T: The taste follows the smell, having flavors of biscuity and bready malts along with a heavy dose of noble hops—grassy hops seem to stand out in particular and linger into the finish, contributing a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This pilsner has a nice balance of biscuit malts and grassy hops but also offers some other complexities in the smell and taste.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear golden color and a modest head that disipates quickly but still sheets the glass with lace

Smell: Fresh noble hop aroma - it almost smells like a noble hop harvest

Taste: Starts out with a grainy flavor that builds with extreme noble hop bitterness by mid-palate; after the swallow, the bitter flavors linger but are joined by a lively floral aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Generally pilsners can be drunk in quantity, but this one is so aggressively bitter that, by the end of the pint, I felt I had to give my tastebuds a rest; the floral tones at the end of each sip were quite memorable and certainly set this beer apart

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Photo of largadeer
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Amnesia in San Francisco.

A perfectly clear straw-colored pils without much head to speak (this was mostly due to the way the bartender poured it though, because the carbonation was just fine). Pretty subtle aroma; pale malts, grainy and grassy, lots of fresh floral hops. The taste closely mirrors the smell - bready pale malts and a surprisingly strong hop kick at the end that lingers on the palate for quite a while. Very clean and simple, light in body and crisply carbonated, exactly as a pilsner should be. It reminded me quite a bit of Victory's Prima Pils, but with a cleaner taste and better balance between malt and hops.

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Photo of emerge077
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Flavor Bistro, review from written notes.
Served in a 12 oz. wilibecher glass.

Bright gold with sharp clarity and visible ascending trails of champagne bubbles. Thin layer of compact foam on top looks like a round buttermilk biscuit. Lasting head retention, sea spray foam, and concentric rings of lace on the way down.

Grassy noble hops, dry and herbal. Clean, dry crackery pilsner malt, hint of sliced apples.

Similar flavors, very crisp, dry and refreshing with a lingering bitterness from the ample noble hops. Light bready flavors of crisp crackers and sliced apple again. So crisp and clean, with enough hops to keep interest, superbly balanced with equal malt and yeast character. Extremely versatile, a timeless classic to pair with just about anything.

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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 mothman
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

White head. Lace. Golden yellow. Crisp and clean. Earthy and bready. Light floral hops with a slight herbal grassy taste. Light bodied. Light bitterness. Overall, well done and glad I finally had a chance to try this one. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at The Monk's Kettle, San Francisco on July 17, 2010.

Although I found Moonlight Brewing's Reality Czech to be a touch malty, it otherwise hit the nail right on the head. It displayed a great golden color; a perfect white froth head with good retention; a swirling aroma of spicy/floral and slightly grassy hops over gently sweetish and straw-like malt; and a solid, balancing bitterness.

Nicely done!

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Photo of mactrail
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Lovely dark golden color in the tall pint nonic. Perfect head and foam down the glass. Pleasing nose of grain and fresh straw.

Warm tones with a biscuity malt flavor. Resiny and clean sharp flavors, but the mellow malt gives it a pleasurable mouthfeel. Long hoppy aftertaste with just the right Pilsener bitterness.

This is kind of the ideal lager sort of beer. Reminds me of the way Mexican beers used to taste in the 1960s, at least in my mind. On tap at the Trappist in Oakland and a great quaff for lunch.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Bottled on October 3, 2006. Pay to the order of: Reality Czech Style Pilsner, 22 fluid ounces of malt, hops, water, yeast, love and dedication. Signed: Saint Humulus."

--Reality Czech label

What better way to start off "George's Unauthorized Home Bottling Project II" than with what is sure to be a pils for the ages. Glowing lemony gold with paler, moonlight edges. The head is polished ivory in color and is a collection of fine, glassy bubbles that makes the beer look regal and refined. Sheets upon sheets of delicate, lace-like lace are beginning to stick to all available surfaces.

The nose isn't quite as hoppy or an explosive as anticipated. It's still a humdinger though. I wish I knew which variety (or varieties) of hops the brewer uses because the aroma isn't especially grassy or floral or spicy or any of the other characteristics that I usually attribute to the Czech nobles. Muskily fruity is the closest that I can come to an adequate description.

There's no shortage of flavor, that's for damn sure. As expected after the sniff test, Reality Czech is a balanced beer. While the hophead in me wanted something more hoptastic, the lover and appreciator of world-class beer is more than satisfied with this incredibly delicious, fantastically drinkable pilsener.

Moderately sweet pale malt carasses and coddles the palate while the alpha acids attempt to slap it around a little bit. That perfectly meshed relationship between malt and hops is what makes this beer what it is. Still though, I'm trying to resist the impulse to call for more of the little green cones. As I enter the bottom half of the bomber, one thing has become crystal clear. If I lived in Sonoma County, Reality Czech just might be my session beer of choice.

I give George all the credit in the world for what he's been able to accomplish with his Home Bottling Projects. This is the first beer, however, that I think may have taken a small hit in terms of mouthfeel. It's still good (lightly creamy, softly carbonated), it just isn't as amazingly transcendent as I imagine it is fresh from the tap.

Reality Czech is my first Moonlight brew and I have to say that I'm impressed, especially with its balance and its drinkability. Not that I needed any more impetus, but savoring the final few ounces of this incredible beer leads me to cast my mind back to that too-long-delayed trip to Santa Rosa. In addition to wallowing in great food and great beer, I'd love to be able to thank RedwoodGeorge in person.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one I never thought i would be typing up a review for to say the least! Much, much thanks for this growler. I was blown away to even see it. Served cold and poured into a few pint glasses, this one was consumed on 07/02/2009.

Rich looking pilsner pour. Nice golden hay color with a big head of white on top, nearly three inches at first before settling down to a nice rounded half inch layer that hung there for the rest of the session. Nice carbonation throughout as well really helping to replenish the head on this one. Rich malty aroma, lots of grain with a nice touch of light citrus poking its head up. As it warms I start to pick up grassy notes as well as a touch of banana. This rolls over very smoothly as I take my first sip. Again, blown away by the smoothness of this one. It is exactly how a pilsner should taste but with a nice touch of orange peel added to the finish. Very earthy and bready with lots fo grain notes littered throuhout the taste. Light, easy drinking, and soo sessionable, this one was gone in no time.

Again soo friggin cool that I was able to land this one. I had all but written it off without a trip out west, but never say never. One of the best session beers I have ever had. I would drink this all day if I could.

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Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz counter pressure filled bottle from a keg. Poured into my Schlafly kolsch glass. It poured a hazy, light golden color with a full, foamy, bright white head to it. Nice head retention as I drank it as well.

The aroma has a bright citrusy zest to it. I get some lemony flavors mixing with some grassy, herbal hop flavors. I get a slight tart citrus flavor to it as well. Some biscuty, grainy malts come through to give it a sweet, bready flavor. Very flavorful aroma for the style and alcohol content.

The taste starts out with more of the zesty, lemony citrus flavor. Midway more of the bready, grainy flavor starts to come out. In the finish I get more of an herbal, grassy, slightly tart citrus flavors coming out of the hoppiness along with a nice balancing bitterness.

The mouthfeel is light with carbonation being above average. Overall it was a very good beer of the style. I found it very flavorful and balanced. It wasn't a beer that blew me away with flavors, but it was probably the best version of the style I've had. Very solid beer overall, easy drinking as well as flavorful. Rating with style in mind definitely gives this one a little boost in my scores since as I said, it's probably the best of the style I can remember having.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa.

A: A hazy pale golden color with a fluffy white head which leaves some mild lacing. Served in an absolutely awesome Moonlight brewing glass (which I purchased).

S: A nice earthy and spicy hop aroma accompanied by citrus notes and a bit of sweet malt.

T: The flavors are quite similar to the nose. The hops definitely take the lead and lend a great earthy and spicy quality to the beer. The malt is certainly there, as are the citrus flavors. A pretty nice balance.

M: The carbonation is plentiful and helps to create a light, refreshing beer drinking experience.

D: This is a really refreshing and easy drinking beer. I'm not generally much of a lager fan, but this just has such great flavors and a nice light feel to it.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance - Pale straw yellow with a white head. Settles to just a ring and some wisps.

Smell - Earthy and very slightly grassy hops. Mild. Biscuity pale malts. Spicy?

Taste - Mimics the smell. Slightly more emphasis on the hops. Hardly what I'd call hoppy, but it's got a presence. Clean pilsener malts. Just a little toasty. Dry in the finish. Exactly what I'm looking for.

Mouthfeel - The finish seals the deal for this one. Yes, it's light and drinkable,nut so are many average pilseners. This one is dry and slightly spicy. Excellent.

Overall - I'm not a lager fan, but so many pilseners are awful. This is an exception. When it's good, it's very good.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think the defining achievement of this beer is its smooth tone. So many pilsners seem to have some aftertaste or lingering character that is a distraction or detractor. This one does not. Smooth with a mildly grassy tone and subtle hop spicy bits added in. This is extremely drinkable.

Beers like this show why the American brewing scene is now king, and will be so for a very long time.

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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 MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado. Served in a pint glass.

A - It looks like a pils - transparent golden color. It's hard to get a read on head volume as the T bartenders are diligent about filling the glass to the brim. Maybe a finger of creamy white foam that dissipated to a solid cap and left plenty of sticky lacing.

S - Pilsener malt, some floral hoppiness with a touch of orange citrus, a bit of twangy lager yeast. It is what it is - an extremely pleasant session pilsener.

T - Spicy Saaz hops, pilsener malt, a touch of orange zest, and unfortunately like Arbitrator pointed out a touch of corny adjunct in the aftertaste before fading into an impressive amount of bitterness. Lots of flavor in such a low ABV brew, but nothing mind-blowing here.

M - Lively carbonation, maybe a bit too much. Nice dry finish with plenty of residual stickiness.

D - Super drinkable. I finished my glass in no time and could easily have had plenty of this, although flavor-wise it paled in comparison to the amazing Death & Taxes.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

08/04/05- On tap at Zeitgeist in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- From the tap into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Lighter golden color with a very minimal head. The slightest of lacing. This is the least strongest point of this beer.

Smell- A very fruity hop scent as well as a small grainy background.

Taste- Wow! Everyone is right. This is the taste you are going for in a perfect pils. Very high hop presence. Fruitier than most pils. Not the extreme bitterness you find in most. Mild grain flavor. Sweet but in a perfect way.

Mouthfeel- Very creamy, lower carbonation (weird, but I like it) and a fuller mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Please, oh please bottle this!!! Session beer at it's best. Best pils hands down. So well put together and balanced.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of my #1 beer series, the supposedly best Czech lager, according to this website. Served on draft at Flavor Bistro, served in a 16 ounce Moonlight Brewing company imperial pint glass.

Beer is yellow with a decent head on it, leaves some lacing behind. Head is made up of a thin monolayer of tiny bubbles and bigger, stray, medium and large bubbles that gravitate toward the edges and pop. Carbonation is moderate and steady.

Aroma is weak but it smell exactly like I expect it to, sweet pilsen malt aroma, no hint of yeast or sulfur.

Beer is light in body and served way too damn cold IMO. I wait and warm it up a little but get impatient. Shame on you Flavor, shame. Beer is mildly sweet up front and has moderate carbonation on the palate and finishes cleanly without being too dry. This was a high quality DONG tick for me and while I really appreciate the simplicity of this beer and it is done well, I can't think of anything that makes it special. Its not bittered, its just a classic example of the style, it embodies what a Czech pils is about. I'd have it again but I won't go out of my way for it again. Solid all around.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.71/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, and I must send a shout out to the Hopcam, otherwise I may have missed this opportunity. On to the beer:

Beautiful. This beer is deep golden straw in color, topped by an airy, puffy head that stays airy and puffy on top all the way until the last drop. Lots of healthy lacing sticks to the glass. It smells like a pilsner. Hay, grassy, herbal. The taste follows the smell. Lots of grass, hay, pale malt, and citric hop flavor, but blended together in harmony to create a beer that lifts off your tongue without effort. I wouldn't call this beer "light", I would call it lean.

I find it hard to believe that this beer is less than 5% ABV, but is full of all the pilsner qualities, and more, then molded together in a way like no other. No matter how you slice it, it's an outstanding pilsner. Only Brazil's very own Bamberg Tcheca comes close among pilsners in my book.

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Photo of plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Flavor Bistro, Santa Rosa, CA.

Poured a hazy medium straw hue with a one and a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light biscuity malt and vibrant noble hop spice.

The taste consisted of competing forces of grainy yet soft pilsner malt and spicy noble hops.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a superior pils.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado. Finally getting around to reviewing this after having had it a number of times. Great brewery and a great beer. Pours pale gold with a pure white head and some lacing. Aromas of spicy hops and some lager yeast. Long and spicy in the nose. Very nice hops that seem super fresh. The taste is similar with a nice crispness, especially fresh and spicy hops for the style, and a long yeasty finish. Full and rounded, with the trademark softness of the Czech Pilsner style, but a bit spicier and tangier than Czech versions while not approaching the earthy bitterness and uber crispness of the German style. A bit spritzy on the moiuthfeel, not necessarily a bad thing. just a fine beer all around.

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Photo of biegaman
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Toronado, in San Francisco.

Its immaculate body awash in soft strokes of gold, its head pristine white and ultra-fleecy, like a big cotton ball, leaving a lacing that looks like a massive tidal wave frozen in motion against the side of the glass. Well that's an easy 5. No two ways about it.

Smelling this pilsner you instantly understand what beer geeks have against the big commercial breweries: adjunct corn and light-struck skunkiness have no business in this style. Unlike mass-produced so-called pilsners, there's nothing unpleasant about this scent of clean, bread-like, cereal graininess nor, for that matter, the earthy hops that balances it out.

Any mainstream lager drinker will know instantly what they've been missing. This beer is plenty easy-going and approachable, and with a relatively light body, but its cereal graininess is replete with bready-sweet flavour. There's no ants at this picnic - just clean, pure, wholesome, high-quality malts that have a gripping earthy hoppiness for a sidekick.

Hops aren't tasted so much as felt; a brittle but pungent bitterness breaks over the palate like benign, warm-water waves brushing the shoreline. The soapiness of those hops, as they fade into the aftertaste, leaves a colourful postcard to remember them by. But it's not too strong. Have a pint and see first hand why yellow lagers became so popular the world over.

While it may be the best pilsner brewed this side of the Atlantic (or should I say Pacific?) I think part of the acclaim it receives stems from the unfortunate fact that this clean, agreeable - yet uncompromising - kind of pilsner is so often dishonored, and dishonored so badly, that many overlook the fact that this hoppy but easy beer is just simply what a pilsner is.

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