Toronto has a temple for Pilsner at Steam Whistle Brewery, but there’s another brewery that has made this particular style their flagship beer.

To find them you have to hop the 501 Streetcar eastbound along Queen St., across the Don River to the Riverside Neighbourhood, and then walk down Saulter St. to the end to find the Saulter Street Brewery in an alleyway.

Pilsner is a pale style of lager originating from the town of Pilsen in Bohemia in the mid19th Century.

To be really simplistic, a Pilsner is a hoppy lager, in this case with Saaz hops. Unlike ales, you won’t be hit with hop flavours to the same degree as an IPA, think more like a lagered pale ale in strength.

Also unlike ales, pilsners are nowhere near as heavy, making them very drinkable in the summer months when the temperatures climb.

Getting back to the Saulter St. Riverside  Pilsner, it does not have the characteristic pale gold people associate with this beer style, but a clear dark copper colour distinguishing it from other Pilsners on the market.

At first glance, you would think someone poured you an ESB –  some purists aren’t going to be happy about that,  but the taste is straight out of Pilsen Bohemia.

Off the top I’m getting spicy and toasted grain notes at first smell. The in terms of taste, I’m getting butterscotch, some input from the Saas hops.

Like all well-crafted Pilsners, the Riverside Pilsner has a very clean aftertaste. The ABV clocks in at 4.7% within the range for this style of beer.

The Riverside Pilsner is versatile, pairing well a variety of pub favourites on the food menu, and great for just sipping on the patio.

You can find this on tap in select Toronto bars and restaurants (hopefully their patios too, once the weather warms up), at select LCBO and Beer Store locations and of course at the Saulter St. Brewery itself, but you have to find it first.


Bill Smith
Bill Smith is a storyteller, writer, blogger, photography geek, ski bum, explorer and outdoors enthusiast. He has been seen in Toronto, Oakville and off the beaten path. Favourite beers include well-brewed IPAs, brown ales, porters and pale ales.
Bill Smith
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