Beer Tastings: Sugar House Pilsner — Hopkins Brewing

Hopkins Brewing - Sugar House Pilsner

Welcome to Beer Tastings, a series in which Utah Beer News highlights an interesting (and tasty) local brew. This time: Sugar House Pilsner from Hopkins Brewing Co. What are you drinking? Let us know!

Beer Tastings: Sugar House Pilsner

Sugar House Pilsner pays homage to the Salt Lake neighborhood in which Chad Hopkins grew up, and in which he now operates Hopkins Brewing Co.

Sugar House Pilsner - Hopkins BrewingThe brewery, which opened on New Year’s Eve 2018, currently only serves its beers at its brewpub.  Its second batch of Sugar House Pilsner hit taps in mid-July, though this one is a slightly different recipe than the first.

Instead of utilizing Weyermann malt, Hopkins went local and called on Solstice Malt — Utah’s first maltster in more than a half-century — to provide the pilsner malt backbone. A dose of cracker/bread graininess complements the mild lemony-citrus flavors.

“This one turned out better,” Hopkins says. “I like (Solstice) Pilsner malt a lot.”

He kept the hops close to home as well, opting for U.S.-grown Saaz. It punches up the citrus aromas and flavors, Hopkins says, while still maintaining a slight earthy spiciness characteristic of the style.

Hops additions in the boil at 90, 60, 30, and 10 minutes provided the “layering” Hopkins sought as he aimed to brew something similar to a pre-Prohibition lager. Flaked maize provided a light honey-like sweetness.

“For being a Pilsner, it has a good complexity to it,” he says. “There’s a nice little bitterness on the end; it’s a little hoppier than a typical Pils.”

The beer ferments at 50 degrees for two weeks, ramping up into the 60s toward the end of fermentation. From there, it goes through a full 30-day lagering period at 32 degrees.

The beer pours a pale yellow with a layer of white foam that sticks around. It’s an easy-drinking, flavorful beer that Hopkins predicts will be a staple at the brewpub.

“I love this beer,” he says as we finish our pints on a hot Friday afternoon. “I could drink it all day.”

Sugar House Pilsner Stats

  • Brewery: Hopkins Brewing Co.
  • ABV: 4%
  • Serving Style: Draft
  • Date Tasted: July 19, 2019
  • Purchase Location: Hopkins Brewing Co.

Notes: The tasting notes format is adapted from a Homebrew Academy Beer Tasting Mastery course I took in 2017. Utah Beer News is not compensated for beers mentioned in the Tastings series. A version of this article originally appeared on

Sugar House Pilsner — Hopkins Brewing Co.
Sugar House Pilsner - Hopkins Brewing

Product Name: Sugar House Pilsner

Product Description: Sugar House Pilsner features Solstice Malt's Pilsner malt and U.S.-grown Saaz hops. It's refreshingly easy to drink, but still full of flavor. Notes of citrus, honey, and crackers complement the earthiness often characteristic of the style.

  • Aroma
  • Appearance
  • Flavor
  • Mouthfeel

Overall Impression

Sugar House Pilsner pays homage to the neighborhood in which Chad Hopkins grew up, and in which his brewpub now operates. The beer features Solstice Malt and U.S.-grown Saaz hops. Notes of citrus and a touch of bread in the nose, while some lemony-citrus, honey, and earthy spiciness come through in the flavor.

  • Aroma: Citrus, honey, cracker
  • Appearance: Pale yellow with a smooth cap of white foam
  • Flavor: Citrus and a touch of cracker/bread
  • Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp; refreshing

But you don’t have to take my word for it.