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Beer of the Month: Sudwerk Imperial Pilsner

February 03, 2011
  (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

The Davis, Calif., brewpub Sudwerk specializes in classic German beers. For its 20th anniversary, it's stepping out a little with this brew, which has nothing but a great big S for a label. It's an "imperialized" Pilsner — that is, amped up with more hops, more malt and more alcohol (7%, as against the typical 5% for this style).

It has a huge, dense head like a proper Pilsner, with a clean, floral nose. The malt makes it noticeably sweeter, though not as sweet as a bock. The main effect of the hops is not so much aroma or bitterness but a neat cleanup of the finish, which starts on the sweet side but dries up smoothly in a matter of seconds.

It would go well with many foods, particularly grilled sausages and chicken. The malt level makes it particularly suited to cheese nachos.

— Charles Perry

Quick sip

Style: An extra-big Pilsner, still graceful despite having its hiking boots on.

Price: $5.29 to $5.99 per 22-ounce bottle.

Where to find it: Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822,; Wade's Wines in Westlake Village, (818) 597-9463,; Total Wine stores (for locations, go to; and Beverages and More stores (for locations, visit

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