The North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner may have some history behind it, but its appearance leaves much to be desired. Poured from a bottle with no apparent packaging date or ABV information, it immediately loses points in terms of consumer-friendliness. The label’s absence of crucial details like ABV, which is apparently exempt for beers below 5.5%, is rather disappointing. In the glass, Scrimshaw presents itself with a deep golden hue and a substantial, buttermilk-colored head that overshadows the vessel’s edges. This coloration is notably darker than your typical modern pilsner, and the foam is thicker and more towering as well.


Upon raising the glass to your nose, Scrimshaw reveals aromas reminiscent of honeyed bread rolls, cream of wheat, and even a somewhat unconventional scent of creamed corn – an offbeat note for pilsner malt. Although these might be considered “off-flavors,” they are strangely characteristic of this brew. As you delve deeper, the beer unveils a robust foundation filled with bready richness and a substantial malt density. Subtle hints of spicy noble hops add a restrained balance throughout, leading to a gratifying finish.


Scrimshaw’s taste experience is where it truly shines. It manages to stay impressively loyal to its German origins, embodying every facet from its color and remarkable head retention to its mild bitterness and captivating maltiness. In Franconia, Germany, it’s not uncommon to find pilsners with a pronounced maltiness and minimal hop character, and Scrimshaw perfectly encapsulates that essence. The focus here is on the lushness of the malt and the dense mouthfeel, qualities that Scrimshaw possesses in abundance.


The mouthfeel of Scrimshaw is truly a standout feature, setting it apart from many American craft pilsners. Lively carbonation ensures the beer remains light on the palate, never becoming overly cumbersome or excessively sticky. It manages to maintain a clean and straightforward profile, presenting a spectacular mouthfeel that is a rare find in the world of American craft pilsners.


In conclusion, North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner leaves a lasting impression. While it may not excel in terms of labeling clarity, its dedication to German brewing traditions and its ability to faithfully replicate the characteristics of Franconian pale lagers are commendable. This beer offers a unique experience within the realm of modern American craft pilsners, standing shoulder to shoulder with German counterparts and particularly Franconian pale lagers.

Similar Beers

Modern American craft pilsners often lean towards brighter colors, higher bitterness, and more pronounced aroma hops. In contrast, Scrimshaw aligns more closely with Helles lagers due to its rich maltiness, relatively modest bitterness, and subtle hop aroma. However, it truly shines when compared to German pilsners, especially those hailing from the Franconia region with their emphasis on malt richness and dense mouthfeel.