Craft pilsner may not yet be a bestselling beer style in mainstream circles, but it has never been hotter among brewers and beer geeks. Case in point: the recent Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, where pilsners from both the old and new worlds were never more prevalent and in-demand.

Which, naturally, brings us to our very own pilsner–Pivo, the dry-hopped marvel that helped pioneer a new generation of American craft pilsners. And while Pivo is not as widely available as Firestone Walker stalwarts such as Mind Haze and Hopnosis, you can now find it in 12-ounce cans with a newly designed Firestone Walker heritage look.

Taking It Back

When Brewmaster Matt Brynildson first unveiled Pivo in 2013, he observed, “Lighter beer styles like pilsner have been hijacked by industrial lager beer in the United States, and it’s time for craft brewers to take it back. Pivo is our contribution to the cause.”

Now, nine years later–and judging by the pilsner love that was so abundant at our recent beer fest–you could say that this mission is well on its way to being accomplished.

It was fitting that the fest was attended by pilsner and lager producers from around the world, as Pivo itself draws from a variety of international influences.

For example, Pivo blends the bright refined dryness of the German pilsner model along with an aromatic twist courtesy of dry hopping. “The original inspiration for this beer comes from Italy–a dry-hopped pilsner called Tipopils made by Agostino Arioli at Birrificio Italiano,” Matt said. “Experiencing the beer was the ‘aha’ moment that set the idea of Pivo into motion.” As it turns out, Pivo helped drive recognition for this “Italian Pils” style, which has since gained a widespread following.

Long Live Pilsner

For those who are wondering, pilsner is a subset of the lager style. In contrast to ales, lagers are “bottom fermented” at colder temperatures over a longer period. Pilsners can be roughly summed up as a hoppier, spicier lager.

At the time that Pivo was released, American craft pilsners were still an outlier, although Victory, Trumer (Berkeley), and others had certainly made their mark on the style. Pivo was immediately met with widespread acclaim among the beer cognoscenti, and most notably, among the brewing community.

“A well-made pilsner earns respect, because pilsner is one of the most difficult beers to perfect,” Matt said. “It’s light on the palate, yet it incorporates so much. Any off flavor just comes screaming out. It’s this naked beer that doesn’t hide flaws.”

Pivo itself is impeccably balanced, showing floral aromatics, spicy herbal nuances, and lemongrass notes from German Saphir hops.

Get your taste of Pivo today. Six-packs are available now at our three California locations and our online store, and they are rolling out to some Firestone Walker Markets. Use our Beer Finder to locate it near you.

Long live craft pilsner, and long live Pivo!