Review: Summit Brewing - Dakota Soul Czech style Pilsener

I was in Minot a few months ago and I had a few people telling me that I should check out Summit Brewing's Dakota Soul Pilsener. As you probably know, I'm not a fan of pils(e)ners for the most part, but they've grown on me in recent history. I've had a few of Summit's beers in the past and I've found them to be pretty solid but nothing revolutionary, great when you're at a smaller liquor store and their most interesting product is Moosehead, but nothing to write home when you go to a real craft beer store.

After a few people telling me to try Dakota Soul, I finally tried it at Minot's Pour House. I was surprised how much I liked it - it was sweet, crisp, easy to drink on that hot summer day, and had a nice light hop presence to it.

Dakota Soul is a Czech-style Pilsener brewed with a strain of barley called Moravian 37 that is sourced from a farm near Rugby, North Dakota. Rugby's only a 45 minute-ish drive from the Manitoba border, so it's kind of local to me, in a sense. One thing I liked about the label is that the beer has a map of Northern North Dakota, focusing on the Rugby region, so I see places like Bottineau, the Souris River and a sliver of Manitoba in the Turtle Mountain Provincial Park area.

Appearance: Mildy cloudy golden ale with a good amount of carbonation throughout the body. The head is light yet comes off as light snowy white. I'm really liking the cloudiness of this beer, it's giving the beer a bit more personality compared to most pilsners/pilseners out there right now.

Aroma: Sweet grainy profile with notes of bread, a bit of a light sweetness that reminds me of most macro pilsners (like Kokanee) but in a sense that it's giving me nostalgic memories of my teens when I preferred a pilsner over anything else. Light floral and grassy hops and an insanely faint aroma that reminds me of fresh picked cucumber.

Taste: Very crisp and light on the palate, easy to drink and definitely a summer time hit. There's a light sweet malt profile that has a hint of straw to it, a light toasted malt profile that gives it a bit of a light bitterness that almost reminds me of a rye malt.. but just ever so slightly. Light breadiness and a light grassy and floral hop profile at the end. Decently sweet, tad of graininess, easy to drink.

Overall Thoughts: Solid Czech pils, a bit sweeter than most craft pilsners I've had in recent history but it has something about it that brings back nostalgia, memories of hot summers on the prairies, and the image of barley swaying against the field for as far as the eye can see. This one has more of a toasted grain profile than I'm used to for a pilsner, but it's not a bad thing, just something different.

This isn't the first time I've ever had a beer brewed with ingredients in fairly close proximity of where I live.. In fact, it's not even the first one I've had in this past week as I sampled some Fresh Hopped Harvest Ale from Winnipeg's Half Pints Brewing that features hops grown at Prairie Mountain Hops, one mile north of Turtle Mountain Provincial Park (and just a 46 minute-ish drive to the very farm where Dakota Soul's barley comes from). I've had the pleasure of sampling a lot of beer over the years that features grains sourced from farms owned by people I know personally. It's awesome when you see a different side of the beer scene, the agricultural side, being featured. As a farm boy, I have deep respect to the hard working farmers, malters and brewers to come up with such a complex yet simple beverage that's savoured by a wide range of people all over the world.

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