Storm Trooper Imperial Pilsener pushes the boundaries of craft beer. It’s a delicate yet robust pilsener by Sydney’s Australian Brewery and Perth’s Feral Brewers that packs a punch with high alcohol content (8.1%).

The can itself is a neat piece of design that features a Stormtrooper (the foot soldiers of the evil galactic empire in Star Wars). Fittingly, the beer had its Sydney launch at The Local Taphouse on May 4 - otherwise known as Star Wars Day.

With a craft-beer scene flooded with IPAs, English ales and American ambers, producing a pilsener or lager with the characteristics of craft beer is no easy feat. Australian Brewery’s head brewer Neal Cameron, and Brandan Varis of Feral Brewing, spanned the great divide of east and west to do something different.

“A pilsener is technically a very hard beer to brew,” says Australian Brewery ambassador, David Ward. “Getting a crisp, well-balanced, not-too-bitter yet not-too-watery beer is not easy.” Unlike ales, a pilsener’s flavour is not dependent on the heavy use of hops. “People are throwing heaps of hops in beers but you can’t do that with pilsener. It’s not part of the style,” says Ward. “I can easily grab a handful of hops and throw them into a brew and it is going to be a hoppie, high-alcohol-content beer.”

With less hops, a typical lager will ferment at a slower rate and spend up to three weeks in the fermenter, as opposed to the typical 12 days for an ale.

Australian Brewing uses a DME brewhouse system from Canada, and head brewer Neal Cameron “sterile filters” the final product as opposed to the widely practiced pasteurisation process in order to keep the characteristic flavours of the yeast intact.

Building on the foundation of what is widely accepted as one of Australia’s best pilseners (simply called, The Pilsener), Storm Trooper is continuing Australian Brewing’s tradition of making award- winning beers: it won a Silver Medal at last weekend’s Australian International Beer Awards.

Storm Trooper Imperial Pilsener is currently on tap at The Union and The Bank Hotel in Newtown, The Keg & Brew in Surry Hills and Bitter Phew in Darlinghurst. Fresh tinnies can be picked up at Camperdown Cellars and from online retailer Beerbud.