Sam Adams Noble Pils – A prologue

A review of Sam Adams’ Noble Pils is forthcoming, but first, a digression….

Maybe I’m missing something, but when Sam Adams writes about their Noble Pils brew, it reads like an oxymoron (emphasis mine):

“Samuel Adams Noble Pils is brewed with all 5 Noble hops for a distinct hop character and fresh taste. Deep golden in color with a citrusy hop aroma, Samuel Adams Noble Pils is a traditional Bohemian Pilsner.”

I am certain that someone much smarter and more adept than I can confirm this, but some rudimentary Googling (official scientific term) shows that traditional Bohemian pilsners don’t use all five of the Noble hops – Hallertaru, Saaz, Spalt, Tettnang and Hersbrucker. Based on what I found, traditional Bohemian pilsners only use Saaz.

My Czech beer server

So, when Sam Adams says they made a traditional Bohemian pilsner using all five types of hops from the Noble hop family, my mind doesn’t travel to some 19th century beer garden where buxom ladies in kroj serve me liters of sparkling-clear beer that fill my nose with hop aroma, which is what I assume this beer is intending to do. An Americanized version of this “traditional Bohemian pilser,” if you will.

I turned to Brett Robison, certified beer server and all-around nice and knowledgeable guy from to see what we could come up with.  Here’s a snapshot of a brief conversation over Twitter, captured on Storify:

Still curious? Hit the jump for more.

I also offered this conundrum to the fine folks at, where my suspicions were confirmed (complete with light chop busting). What this ultimately comes down to, then, is marketing. Brett made a fabulous point in an email exchange:

“These types of discussion may go on indefinitely, were they right in naming and describing the beer in this fashion? Arguments could be made in both directions. The greater question we must ask ourselves: does the beer somehow taste or evoke the flavor profile you expected? If the answer is yes, than I argue their labeling and description are accurate. Conversely, if the beer is far different from what you may have expected in relative terms, then the answer is no.”

What do you think? Share any thoughts, questions or tomfoolery … and feel free to check out the great work Brett does over at DivineBrew, too.


6 thoughts on “Sam Adams Noble Pils – A prologue

  1. I would say, on a Bohemian Pils, the character is more malt driven than a German pils, which tends to be the hoppier of the two. If they’re using a similar malting scheme to a bohemian, and then using all the noble hops. I think it could fly by calling it Bohemian.

  2. Great article, thanks for including my insight. Cheers!

    1. … and thanks for providing it. A big help.

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