From their hand to yours
In the glass, it is a thing of beauty. Inside a harvest straw-colored, crystalline liquid, a vortex of tiny bubbles forms at the top of the glass. It would look like champagne if it weren’t for the mountain of fluffy white foam that piles up above the rim. The nose is even better: aromas of fresh bread. Then a sip of vibrant hops mingling with a light, cool liquid seals the deal. If you drank it with dinner it would knock a Vinho Verde off the table. But it does just as well on its own: crunchy and refreshing, slightly sweet, but the finish is bone dry. Some days you can choose certain grades of candy cereal. Froot Loops, maybe? On others, it has the aromatic plants of a picnic in the woods. A knockout.
Meet 1265 Pilsner, one of Left Hand Brewing’s latest additions to its year-round line.
“We’ve had Polestar for centuries and unfortunately that beer was discontinued, and we had a lull without the pilsner,” said Jeff Joslin, director of brewing for Left Hand. “It was a sad time.”
Polestar Pilsner, a German-style pilsner made from pilsner malt, magnum, Mt. Hood and sterling hops, was a left hand classic for years. But tastes are changing and classic hops like the magnum are out of fashion these days.
“Polestar was a different style of pilsner than the kind of pilsner that’s popular today,” Joslin says. “So 1265 is much more accessible, crushable, drinkable, whatever adjective you want to use to describe that element. “
From a base of classic 2-row barley pilsner malt grown in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado, 1265 is hopped with sterling, “in homage to Polestar,” says Joslin, “Cascade for the Classic Craft Beer Profile. . . and then citra brings the new sexy.
1,265 clocks at 5.2 percent alcohol by volume – so you can drink a couple without getting on your face – and 23 international bitterness units, which keep your palate alive and well.
“We have a lot of confidence in her,” says Joslin. “We love beer, and we think if people try it, they’ll love it too.”
Easier said than done.
“Unfortunately, we made our debut [1265 Pilsner] in the spring of 2020, ”says Joslin. “Just when the pandemic struck. The draft sale was closed because all bars closed, and  Obviously, we had neither tracked nor footed yet, so we didn’t experience any of these offsite pantry buying benefits.
As lockdown neared in early March 2020, drinkers filled their refrigerators, pantries, basements and garages with packaged beer from grocery and liquor stores. Sales across the industry have exploded. It was a boon for standards but a failure for newcomers.
“ didn’t get that boost, ”Joslin continues. “It languished a bit for a while. And just now, he’s really starting to put his paws under him.
The moment is fortuitous. While Pilsner is a great summer beer, it’s also great for warm fall afternoons, especially when the time comes for the big Oktoberfest: Oktoberfest.
Coincidentally, this is where 1265 started.
“To get the kind of Oktoberfest profile we’re most happy with, we have to grow the yeast,” says Joslin. But they had stopped Polestar, their only lager all year round. “And we had to grow lager yeast for Oktoberfest. “
So they had to start brewing a lager again. Joslin and his team liked what they tasted, so they refined it.
“We poured barrels into the tasting room, but a lot of it was thrown out because we didn’t have a home for it,” says Joslin.
But they kept tweaking, tweaking until they settled on something they loved, and voila: 1265 Pilsner, named after 1265 Boston Avenue, Left’s home address. Hand in Longmont for 28 years. Find it wherever good beers are sold.
Michael J. Casey is the author of Boulder County Beer, a refreshing story of how a collection of young entrepreneurs turned the towns of Boulder, Longmont, Lyon and beyond into zero point for craft beer in the Centennial State.