A Hot New Bombshell Enters the Villa…West Coast Pilsner!!

A little history for the nerds

 In 2016, two brewers at Highland Park Brewery in Los Angeles decided to combine their West Coast IPA with their house pilsner in a specialty cask. The novel combination of the two beers created a refreshing pilsner with the hop character of a West Coast IPA. Now, almost seven years later, the “West Coast Pilsners” have broken free from their Los Angeles roots and are beginning to appear in breweries across the US and beyond. Some of the breweries with notable West Coast Pilsners are Original Pattern, Temescal and Pfriem Family Brewers.

What in the West Coast?

Since the West Coast Pilsner has yet to become a more officially recognized style, the guidelines on what characterizes the brew lack definition. Generally, the profile of the beer is described as having the initial strong taste and smell of a modern IPA, which quickly gives way to the crisp, malty, freshness of a pilsner. For many American brewers, “West Coast” refers to the use of American hops instead of the more traditional  European noble hops. In the case of the West Coast Pilsner, one hallmark of the style is its distinct bold, citrusy, and tropical hop profile provided by American and/or New World hops.

With its enticing hop character, combined with easy drinkability and low ABV, the West Coast Pilsner is quickly becoming a new favorite for beer enthusiasts. It is certainly possible that, given time, the West Coast Pilsner could become a popular cornerstone of American lager brewing. Some critics have even theorized a future name change from “West Coast Pilsner” to simply “American Pilsner”.

 Where to start

Typically, West Coast pilsners are brewed with 100% pilsner malt, however, some brewers use a blend of malt. For example, Highland Park, the birthplace of the style, uses 40% pilsner, 40% two-row, 10% Vienna, and 10% Carafoam. Commonly used hops include Citra, Mosaic, and Centennial. Additionally, dry hopping is an absolute must. Excess sulfur is a common issue, so proper lagering time and temperature should be closely adhered to.

For those looking to brew West Coast Pilsner, BSI has put together some recommended yeast strains to get you started.


3470 German Lager for your West Coast Pilsner

Basic yet beautiful, this widely used strain is great for pilsners and is known for its ability to accentuate hops.


BSI-950 Bavarian Pilsner for your West Coast Pilsner





Another great option for building a German pilsner base with a Bavarian origin.



L-72 for your West Coast Pilsner






Sourced from Philadelphia, this strain can be used to make a true “American Pilsner”. USA from top to bottom.


Other Options: L-47, L-05, BSI-800


Folks, Jordan. “Brü It Yourself | I Swear This Is a Style West Coast Pilsner.” Brülosophy, 12 Aug. 2023, brulosophy.com/2023/05/26/bru-it-yourself-i-swear-this-is-a-style-west-coast-pilsner.

Alworth, Jeff. “West Coast Pilsner — Beervana.” Beervana, 23 Aug. 2023, www.beervanablog.com/beervana/2023/8/21/west-coast-pilsner.

Bernot, Kate. “Writing the Rules of West Coast Pilsner (so They Can Be Broken).” Craft Beer & Brewing, 2 Oct. 2023, beerandbrewing.com/writing-the-rules-of-west-coast-pilsner.

K, Ben. “Bo Berry Pils – West Coast Pilsner Recipe – Yeast Driven.” Yeast Driven – Brewing, Baking, and Beyond, 3 Oct. 2021, www.yeastdriven.com/2019/02/27/west-coast-mosaic-pilsner.

“West Coast Pilsner – All Grain Version.” Bader Beer & Wine Supply, 7 July 2023, www.baderbrewing.com/products/american-ale-kits/west-coast-pilsner-all-grain-version.

By Ailsa Connors, BSI Microtechnologist