In the world of craft beer, they say pilsners are the mark of true expertise. The beer is so simple, so pure, that there’s nowhere for your mistakes to hide.
Pilsners are crisp and clear with a hint of hops, so if your batch comes out hazy or sour even the casual craft beer drinker will catch on. Which makes Snake Lake Brewing Company’s recent win at the Canadian Brewing Awards all the more impressive.
“We won GOLD for our Kinabik Pilsner at the Canadian Brewing Awards on September 12! The Kinabik also won gold at the Alberta Beer Awards earlier this spring,” says Adam Nachbaur, Managing Partner of Snake Lake Brewing.
German and Czech brewers say it can take over a year to master a pilsner, but once you’ve got the technique down you can probably handle any other style of beer. Snake Lake Brewing only launched in 2018, so to win a national award just two years later is quite a feat.
“These are incredible awards,” Nachbaur says. “To be recognized on a provincial and national level is very surreal.”
A lot of Snake Lake’s success is thanks to Head Brewer Octavio Pauley, who came to Sylvan Lake from R&B Brewing in Vancouver.
“He’s an artist who lives and breathes his craft. He creates amazing beers of on-point styles at an absolute remarkable level,” Nachbaur says. “We’re very happy to be working with him and his incredible foresight into the craft beer industry.”
The Kinabik Pilsner wasn’t the only winner for Snake Lake at the Canadian Brewing Awards — their Varsity Hall Red Ale won gold too. Ready to visit Sylvan Lake for a tasting flight? The brewery has over a dozen beers on tap at any given time, but here are three to get you started, each with its own local history lesson!
- Sidewinder IPA: Named for the infamous slide at the now-closed Wild Rapids Waterslide Park, the Sidewinder is a bold citrus IPA that’s not overwhelmingly bitter.
- Kinabik Pilsner: Kinabik is the Cree word for snake, and there used to be a lot of them around Sylvan Lake. So many that settlers called it Snake Lake until the population grew and the snakes receded. Crack open this award-winning, approachable brew for a bright, smooth drink.
- Varsity Hall Red Ale: The sturdy malt ale with a hint of pine and citrus is named after a local watering hole that was bustling in the 50s and 60s along with the oil boom.