Feb 132012
Trumer Pils label

Trumer Pils label off my bottle

Trumer Pils is a memory of Salzburg I never had.

I visited the city of Trumer’s origin with my father in 1992. We stopped there for a few hours on a train trip to Switzerland. I recall two experiences from our sightseeing walk:

  1. We walked up a hill and entered the Maria Himmelfahrt church that belonged to the nunnery Stift Nonnberg. The church was empty. No sooner had I sat down in a pew to take the place in, that the nuns began to sing. The choir’s acapella chant echoed through the space from the mezzanine, where the nuns stood hidden behind a translucent curtain. I froze in the pew, mesmerized. I can still feel the goosebumps and the chills coming in waves. I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. I could have sat there for hours, wanted to anyway.
  2. On the way back to the train, we climbed another hill, Kapuzinerberg. We were glad to get a look at Residenzplatz, Salzburg’s central square which had been closed off due to crews setting up for a Bryan Adams concert that night. The tiny workers looked busy putting final touches on the stage, topped with a canopy, milling around the seats and the trucks on the perimeter. We turned to leave, when the opening riff of “Summer Of ’69” rose from the square below, the sound bouncing off the surrounding hills, and shortly Bryan Adams belted, “I got my first real six-string / bought it at a five-and-dime…” I stopped and listened, smiling, until the song trailed off mid-way, and we turned to leave.

At 16, I had only drunk beer behind the grocery store near my high school. And though I could also steal a sip from my father’s beer at home every now and then, I couldn’t ask for one in public, not to mention in the West, which was still novel to us. Besides, we couldn’t have afforded it even if we’d known Trumer existed.

The New Music

When Trumer Pils appeared in stores and pubs here in Portland, Oregon, a few years back, it brought Salzburg along. The 400-year old brewery has brewed Trumer Pils since mid-19th century and until its license in 2004 to be brewed in Berkeley, California, it was only available locally. Its distribution soon expanded along the West Coast and beyond. It’s widely available in grocery stores, and many pubs around town serve it on draft.

Trumer Pils is the rare beer that tastes better out of the bottle, which may elicit a slight surprise since the packaging positions it among light, premium European beers. Depending on your politics, the Salzburg-Berkeley pairing on the label can play with your expectations as well.

The beer itself pours a tall, if a bit thin, head. Rich carbonation sings through the light-yellow color I associate with German lagers. The brew starts out with a light note, rising with a mild bitter in the second movement. The balanced hoppy climax reminds you that you’re drinking a pilsner, albeit without quite reaching the crescendo of flavor you expect from one. Then it leaves without ringing your taste buds with the heavy aftertaste some Central European pilsners do, and you find yourself wanting more.

Music to the palate, Trumer Pils completes my Salzburg.

Word from the Brewer

A German style Pilsner, Trumer Pils is characterized by a distinct hops flavor, high carbonation and light body. A combination of Saaz and Austrian hops, malt mashing process and proprietary yeast make Trumer Pils unique among beers. 4.9% ABV, 26 IBU, 11.5°.

American Robotnik’s Brewrating

  • Lowdown: Trumer Pils is a Berkley-infused taste of Salzburg and a wonderful pilsner for every light-beer lover’s palate.
  • Grade: B+

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