Subscriber Exclusive

Brewing Alsatian-Style Pilsner with Notch

C’est quoi? First there was “Italian-style” pils, and now there’s a French one? Chris Lohring, founder and head brewer at lager-centric Notch in Salem, Massachusetts, describes the background and elements of their Bière d’Alsace.

Chris Lohring Nov 4, 2021 - 5 min read

Brewing Alsatian-Style Pilsner with Notch Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/

I don’t understand “Mexican lager” or “Italian pils” being called those things when brewed in the United States. When you no longer brew them in Italy or Mexico, both of those are simply German-influenced beers. So, when I saw “French pils,” I thought the same at first—here we go again.

But there are key aspects here that differentiate French, or more accurately Alsatian-style, pils: French pilsner malt, Alsatian hops, cereal mash, and decoction.

Our Bière d’Alsace is really driven by the French pils malt and Strisselspalt hops. Both have a unique character that sets this beer apart. Then you layer in decoction and a cereal mash, and you have something truly unique.

Inspiration & Homework

Make & Drink Better Beer

Subscribe today to access all of the premium brewing content available (including this article). With thousands of reviews, our subscribers call it "the perfect beer magazine" and "worth every penny." Your subscription is protected by a 100% money back guarantee.