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4 Hands Brewing | City Museum Pilsner

4 Hands Brewing | City Museum Pilsner
Daniel Moran

The inspiration for craft beer can come from anywhere: famous historical figures, inside jokes between brewers and a host of other items, serve as inspiration and backstory for the craft beers we drink. One of the nice things about the hyper-local nature of the craft beer scene is its ability to provide insight into the local area — that was the case for me with 4 Hands Brewing’s City Museum Pilsner.

When you first pick up the City Museum Pilsner can, the orange background of the label gives way to a foreground filled with an unusual collection of architectural and industrial objects including an old airplane, a Ferris wheel, a large insect statue, and a school bus appear on the can. I was confused – is this a real place on the can?

Yes, it is a real place — Formerly the Internal Shoe Company factory and warehouse, It was purchased by artist couple Bob and Gail Cassilly and opened as a museum; the City Museum of St. Louis started as a public museum in 1997.

City Museum serves as a public art space for the city of Saint Louis, and as the most incredible jungle gym a child (or adult) could ever imagine. In addition to the items on the can, there are slides, a human-sized hamster wheel, and a giant Slinky to climb through.

City Museum
City Museum, St. Louis. (Photo: Museum Facebook Page)

ABV: 5% 

Given what I learned about the City Museum, I was curious as to how the beer would speak to the place.

Upon first pour, City Museum Pilsner presents itself as a dark orange with minimal head retention, with a clarity directly in between clear & hazy. I found the appearance to be more like an IPA than a pilsner.

The slight twist that the beer’s appearance gave continued with the scent of the beer. My first inhale of the beer gave off a big whiff of the tangerine and ginger advertised on the label. That finished with a slight hint of funk that felt more like a saison.  The smell offered a little reminder of the imported carbonated beverage Orangina.

When I took the first swig, the advertised flavors of tangerine and ginger appeared in a big way. The tangerine leads the way on your palate, and the earthiness of the ginger comes through on the end. The mineral-like finish leads to a moderate tingle of carbonation that compels you to drink more.

4 Hands include pairing suggestions on their labels, which I find highly beneficial. The proposal noted on the City Pilsner label suggests jerk chicken and goat cheese, however, I would offer an additional idea of Thai food for pairing with City Pilsner. The prominent citrus & ginger flavors play well with the flavor palate of Thai food. On a hot summer night when you don’t want to cook, there’s nothing better than some Thai take-out and a couple of City Pilsners.

I’ve always regarded 4 Hands Brewing as an underrated Midwest brewery. They’ve proven their ability to do a variety of styles well, and that continues here with City Pilsner, a refreshing take on a classic style with a few modern notes that push the boundaries of the traditional pilsner style. I’ll be having a couple of these on the patio this evening. Cheers!

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