The first batch of Mount Hoodie was also my first lager. I had been planning to jump into the lager end of the pool for a while and intended to do so with a classic Czech Pilsner. Then I had the idea for this beer and the long planned Pilsner got bumped. Sometimes the beers I have planned the longest are the ones that are the most likely to get pushed back. Sometimes it’s because the original excitement has died down, sometimes it’s because I build the beer up in my head to the point of intimidating myself into being afraid to start it and sometimes I just get so excited about a new idea that I have to get it done ASAP. That was the case with Mount Hoodie.
There were two things that led me to the idea for this beer. First, in researching for the Pilsner, I fell into the internet rabbit hole comparing American grown versions of European hops to American varieties that are bred to replace those European hops. Mount Hood, which I’d used a few times, kept coming up. While I’d used this hop in a few of my early batches, usually from kits, I’d never given it a starring role. The idea of using it instead of Saaz and turning my Czech Pilsner American crossed my mind, but after drinking Pilsner Urquell in Prague, I wanted to stay true to Pilsner’s roots. I needed somewhere else to showcase Mount Hoods.
The second tidbit that brought the idea together came while reading the great Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion. In it, he said that the only real choice of beer to pair with pizza was Vienna lager. I had to disagree as American Pale Ales are my favorite pizza pairing. Granted, the book is old and while Anchor’s Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale had been around for a long time, the APA style was not as well formed as it is now. Maybe he had a point, though. That malty amber lager would match the dough well and maybe those citrusy American hops, while good for cutting through the rich mozzarella cheese were maybe too aggressive.
My idea at that point was to use Mount Hood hops in a Vienna Lager souped up to APA hoppyness. I shied back a bit on the hops and eventually ended up with something that had the malt character of a Vienna lager and the hop presence of a Pilsner. And what do you know, it worked. This was one of my favorite beers.
I brewed the Pilsner afterwards, and it was pretty good too, but I’ve already re-brewed Mount Hoodie and have no plans for another Czech Pilsner. Pairing this beer with pizza is great. Drinking it by itself is satisfying in itself.
This first batch was a partial mash. For a recipe converted to all grain (despite some brew day issues) and for more about Mount Hood hops, check out the post about this year’s batch. The original, partial mash recipe is below.
Styles: American Amber Lager
5 lb 2 Row Pale Malt
1 lb Vienna Malt
.5 lb Aromatic Malt
.25 lb Crystal 10L
.25 lb Crystal 60L
3 lb Extra Light DME
60 min Cascade to 21 IBU
20 min Mount Hood to 6 IBU
10 min Mount Hood o 4 IBU
0 min Mount Hood, 1 oz
Dry Hop: Mount Hood, 1 oz
14 Days in Primary at 50ishº
45 Days at Lagering temperature
14 Days in bottle conditioning