Matt Brewing Company, who brews the Saranac line of beers from their brewery in Utica, NY, is the second oldest family-owned brewing company in the US. While many smaller breweries were taken over or put out of business by the big beer companies during the mid to late 1900’s, Matt Brewing set themselves up as an alternative to Bud and Miller. While the company has had some ups and downs, the Saranac line gained a growing following in the 1990s with the increasing interest in craft beer. Saranac has brewed a constantly evolving series of ales and lagers, including year round and seasonal selections. One of their newest releases is a pilsner named Wild Hop Pils, a Summer seasonal. Wild Hop Pils is the first beer Saranac has brewed with Belma hops, a wild hop variety found on the brewery owned land in the Yakima Valley. It is available in on draft and in 12 oz. bottles all Summer long.
Saranac Wild Hop Pils pours golden yellow, crystal clear with a small white head. The smell is very mild, a little biscuity malt and faint earthy hops. The taste is very traditional for a pilsner, the light malts lead the way with subtle touches of cracker and grain. The hops are present, contributing some pine and woodsy elements. The beer has some hoppy character, but it is more crisp than bitter. Saranac Wild Hop Pils is clean and very drinkable, a great beer for summer BBQs. At 5.2% ABV it isn’t quite a session beer, but it isn’t overly high in alcohol either. The finish is very dry with a mild refreshing hoppy tingle on the tongue. This is a very well done version of a pilsner, lots of flavor in a light and easy to drink beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.