Posts Tagged With: Pilsner

TYIB Goes Global: The Germans

Though we did not have a ‘traditional’ Get Blitzed Day, we did have a Get Blitzed Week. Despite the consumption of infinite litres of bier, we attempted to capture as much information on the imbibed beverages. Below is our collection of insights, stories, and reviews of some of the best beers found in Berlin!

WARSTEINER PILSNER

Beer: Pilsner
Brewery: Warsteiner Brauerei
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

We wasted (pun intended) no time getting started, and our first review was on the plane, courtesy of Lufthansa, member of the Star Alliance. We managed to acquire three of these on our transatlantic flight, in order to truly appreciate this “premium German beer” (well, to truly appreciate how generous the Lufthansa flight attendants are with booze). While perhaps not the best German Pilsner we have tried this month, Warsteiner puts forth a wholly drinkable, well-carbonated beer, with the expected Euro lager yeast and graininess of a German Pilsner. Certainly worthy of trying up on an eight-hour flight.

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AIRBRÄU JETSTREAM

Beer: Jetstream
Brewery: Airbräu Munchen
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

TYIB tip #43: If you have a layover in Munich (which is likely if you fly anywhere on Lufthansa–I once had a layover in Munich when trying to get to Madrid), find Airbräu, the brewery/biergarten in the Flughafen München Franz Josef Strauß. Not only do they brew their own beer on site (in the airport), they have a full menu of Bavarian treats and a stellar line-up of beers on tap. The Jetstream, the first beer we tried, is an unfiltered German Pilsner. It had a gorgeous straw body, and was refreshing and crisp, with a robust citrusy hop and grain flavor. This Airport Pilsner was one of the best German Pilsners this month.

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AIRBRÄU KUMULUS

Beer: Kumulus
Brewery: Airbräu Munchen
Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.4%

On a mission to try the entire run of Airbräu beers during the extent of our meager layover, the Kumulus, a hefeweizen (wheat beer), was next on the docket. In a rush to drink as much as possible (we do not recommend this tactic before you know what gate you have to run to), we had to drink it on the fly without a photograph or a full review. However, our image-negligence is not indicative of the quality of this beer. The Kumulus is as light, creamy, and fluffy as its namesake, with a clove and banana/bubble-gum presence generally found in hefeweizens.

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AIRBRÄU MAYDAY

Beer: Mayday
Brewery: Airbräu Munchen
Style: Dunkelweizen
ABV: likely 5-6%

We sadly had to put this one down pretty quickly, but it was sehr easy! The Mayday, a dunkelweizen (dark wheat) is one of Airbräu’s seasonsal brews, appropriately tapped on May 1st. Brewed with dark barley malt, the taste is a little bit spicy and a lot of bit banana/malts, kind of like a fruity cereal. The medium, low-carbonated feel accentuates this flavor profile. If you find yourself in Munich in the early summer, celebrate May Day with a Mayday. And if you’re not, look out for Airbräu’s other seasonals: Aviator (Doppelbock), Festbier (Oktoberfest), and Krampus (Winter beer).

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AUGUSTINER LAGERBIER HELL

Beer: Helles
Brewery: Augustiner Bräu
Style:
Helles
ABV: 5.2%

Whenever I go to Germany, my Nummer Eins  priority is to find the Augustiner Lagerbier Hell IMMEDIATELY. This is one of my favorite German beers of all time, as evidenced by the above photo. In fact, this is one of the highest rated/regarded helles beers in the world. Augustiner is the oldest brewery in Munich (1328!), and has been upholding the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot (“Purity Law”) of 1516 with every beer produced. The Lagerbier Hell is the sublime balance of its three ingredients…water, hops, and barley malt. It’s perfectly carbonated, perfectly balanced, and perfectly incredible. There’s a reason why there are many Yahoo! Answers entries asking, WHO WILL SHIP ME THE LAGERBIER HELL. The answer? No one. Go to Germany.

(After a little research, there appears to be one bar in Philadelphia (St. Steven’s Green) that has it in bottles. Here are the directions: DIRECTIONS TO LAGERBIER.)

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AUGUSTINER EDELSTOFF

Beer: Edelstoff
Brewery: Augustiner Bräu
Style: Helles
ABV: 5.6%

A wee more sweet than the Lagerbier, the Edelstoff is what Augustiner calls an ‘exportbier’ and is expectedly slightly more alcoholic as well (as beers labeled ‘EXPORT’ generally are). Brewed with the “nobelest materials,” the Edelstoff is nearly as amazing as its brother, Lagerbier. The additional sweetness throws the perfect balance, though. Nevertheless, it’s crisp, with a sweet malt and floral hop flavor,  and just a little bit of spice. If you want a taste of Augustiner’s second best, take a trip out to Brooklyn for a bottle, or Valhalla in Hell’s Kitchen for an exceedingly overpriced one.

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BERLINER KINDL PILSNER

Beer: Pilsner Klassik
Brewery: Berliner Kindl Brauerei
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.6%

It shouldn’t be a shock to hear that Bavarian beers are superior to a vast majority of non-Bavarian beers. This is further proved by the Berliner Kindl Pils, a pretty subpar Pilsner produced by Berlin brewery Berliner Kindl. Sure, the 1902 brewery is essentially a fetus when compared to the 700-year old Bavarian breweries, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to purchase the Berliner Pils over ANYTHING made by Bavarian brewers. I will add the caveat that we tried the Berliner Pils while watching Eurovision in Prenzlauer Berg, so maybe we mistook the bitterness of the beer for the bitterness we felt when the Buranovskiye Babushki only took second place. Or, it’s just subpar.

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CHIEMSEER HELL

  

Beer: Chiemseer Hell
Brewery: Chiemgauer Brauhaus
Style: Helles
ABV: likely 5.0-5.4%

Chiemgauer Brauhaus is located in the Chiemgau area, which is nestled in the foothills of the Alps and surrounds the Chiemsee lake. Just in case you were wondering, because we were wondering. Anyways, Chiemgauer Brauhaus puts forth a helles to rival the Lagerbier Hell! It’s exceptionally well-carbonated, light, refreshing, and tastes like Germany (i.e., German malts) in a bottle. If I could keep my fridge filled with the Chiemseer Hell, I would. But I can’t, as this might be one of the most obscure Bavarian beers.

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ROTHAUS PILSNER & TANNENZÄPFEL

Beer: Tannenzäpfle Pils
Brewery: Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%

Oh, meine liebe, Rothaus Tannenzäpfle (which means “little fir cones” in German). Rothaus’ Tannenzäpfle Pils is, hands down, the best German Pilsner. Ever. It tastes like biscuit dough, if it was a sweet, zesty, herbed, pine biscuit. It is downright disgusting just how refreshing and put-backable this little 33cl treat is. It is no surprise that there is a cult following surrounding the gold-foiled beer.

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KONIG LUDWIG WEISSBIER

Beer: Weissbier
Brewery: König Ludwig
Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.4%

After walking the depths of the Tiergarten, stumbling upon a small biergarten at the edge of a lake was the perfect context for enjoying König Ludwig’s Hefeweizen. König Ludwig, also known as the “Mad King” and “Fairy Tale King,” is most famously associated today with the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle and the patronage of Wagner. Many associate his madness and creativity with the modern wealth of Bavaria, inadvertently creating a massive tourism industry in the area. Indulge me for a second, but das König also commissioned a partial replica of Versailles, a quirky Wagner-influenced Venus Grotto, and numerous Moroccan and Turkish-themed rooms. Oh! The beer! Yeah, König Ludwig’s Hefeweizen is fit for a mad, whimsical king: it’s rich, creamy, smells like bubble gum, and oozes sweet bananas and cloves. If you’re looking to try it, just look out for a six-pack with an image of The Castle on it.

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ALSTERWASSER (“Oops”)

Beer: Alterwasser
Brewery:
Style: Radler
ABV: –

As most German beers consist of three simple (yet noble) ingredients, we can imagine that beer-drinking life MUST get a little tedious from time to time. Their solution? Dump a number random drinks into your beer. German beer mixed drinks include the Radler (half lager, half “limo” or a Sprite-like beverage), Diesel (half lager, half cola), and a Colaweizen (half hefeweizen, half cola). And then there is what we ordered by accident…the Alsterwasser. Imagine our surprise, thinking we were about to review a fresh German Pilsner. Upon first taste, we almost did one of those comical sip-spit-spray shticks. The Alsterwasser is similar to the Radler, except a Pilsner is used instead of a Lager. Excuse my German, but it was DAS SUCK. Instinctively, I wanted to devise some sort of tourniquet to stop the flow of this sodabeer. But alas, we drank the Alsterwasser anyways, if only to relay just how terrible it was.

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VELTINS PILSENER

Beer: Pilsener
Brewery: Brauerei C. & A. Veltins
Style:
German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

The Veltins Pilsner is a solid non-Bavarian German Pilsner. More on the bitter end of the Pilsner scale, Veltins is an alternative to its sometimes-too-sweet Bavarian counterparts.

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ANDECHSER HELL

Beer: Helles
Brewery: Klosterbrauerei Andechs
Style: Helles
ABV: 4.8%

To be honest, this Helles is pretty unmemorable. It has a thin body with great carbonation, but that’s all that we commented on at the time. Apparently it earned itself three pint glasses, though!

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BUDWEISER BUDVAR

Beer: Budweiser Budvar
Brewery: Brewery Budwesier Budvar
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

While Budvar is not technically a German Pilsner (it is in fact a Czech Pilsner), it was sorely overlooked during our Pilsner month and we did drink a number of them while dancing to 1970s disco in a 9′ x 10′ bar in Kreuzberg. Budvar (or, Czechvar in the USA…read about the naming CONTROVERSY here), is considered to be one of the best Pilsners in the world, and we’ll jump on that bandwagon. The highlight of BudCzechvar is the unique hop flavor dervied from Saaz hops–it’s piney, earthy, and spicy. These flavors aren’t overpowering, though, and are balanced by the biscuity, doughy Moravian malt. While always better closer to the source, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you pick up a 6 of Czechvar.

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FLENSBURGER PILSENER

Beer: Pilsener
Brewery: Flensburger Brauerei
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%

And last, but not really least, the Flensburger Pilsener. After meine leibe (Rothaus), Flensburger’s Pils is the best German Pilsner this month. It is exceptionally crisp and balanced, with a surprisingly full herbal, grassy hop flavor, tempered with a bready malt taste. While consuming countless Flensburgers didn’t help my ping pong game that night, it did expand my appreciation for German Pilsners.

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Crooked Line Tilted Smile

Beer: Tilted Smile
Brewery: Unita Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Pilsner
ABV: 9.0%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Imperial glass
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Deep golden, clear body with a dense, billowy beige head.

Smell: Terrific sweet pastry and grapefruit nose. Where’s the Pilsen malt, though? There’s a lingering ethyl alcohol note.

Flavor: It smells much better than it tastes. Flavor is like ethyl alcohol steeped with oranges and wheat bread. Tastes a little medicinal. A very slight floral hop at the end.

Feel: A little oily with great carbonation. The high ABV warms the chest.

Concluding Remark: What is this? The golden malt-to-hop ratio is not only off, but nonexistent. It just tastes bitter, and the alcohol note overpowers all other flavors in Unita Brewing Company’s (of SLC) brew. It reminds me of biting into the rind of an orange…reminiscent of fruit, but ultimately bitter and unpleasant. A European would be really pissed off for classifying this as a Pilsner. If anything, this is more of a strange double IPA than a Pilsner.

I have not been impressed with the Imperial Pilsners I have tried this month. I would much rather have two or three regular ol’ Pilsners than drink one of these. Just sayin’. But! Unita Brewing does employ local artists to design the labels of their Crooked Line, in order to “express their individuality.” Tilted Line is rendered by Leia Bell. And I can get behind that.

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Lagunitas Czech Style PILS

Beer: PILS
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 6.2%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Imperial glass
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Hazy straw body with a frothy white head that dissipates quickly to a small brim of bubbles.

Smell: It smells like…a pretzel. A very salty pretzel. It also smells like warm beer on a beach. Apparently I’m smelling memories today. Slightly metallic, slightly bready, a light citrus.

Flavor: Ummmmm where’s the flavor? It tastes like air. Then it feels bitter, without much of a discernible hop taste. As it sits, the malt profile that develops is quite nice–subtle, and not as sweet as other Pils. The hops leave a slight sour and spice aftertaste, which could’ve absolutely been amped up.

Feel: Thin, a little oily, with nice carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Drinking Lagunitas’ PILS makes me regret giving the Staropramen only a 2.5. But, this is a 6.2% ABV Pils (unheard of), so I’m pretty darned impressed. It is balanced, although the malt/hop choreography I appreciate in a Pils is a little lackluster. But at 6.2%, it’s ever so drinkable and complex enough to keep your palate asking questions with each sip. PILS is not the best Pilsner to be found in our fine world, but a very solid American interpretation of the style nevertheless (finally).

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Josephsbrau PLZNR

Beer: PLZNR
Brewery: Josephsbrau
Style: Czech-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.4%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s Apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear straw body with a bright white, frothy head.

Smell: Cereal, dry sweetness, sweet light malt scent.

Flavor: Tastes different than it tastes. It’s metallic, and bitter.  Tastes like bad tap water.

Feel: Thin body with okay carbonation.

Concluding Remark: While it’s more complex than an a Bud, the Josephsbrau (TRADER JOE’s) PLZNR is not only missing some vowels, but balance as well. This is definitely not what one should nor would expect from a Czech-style Pilsner. It’s not a good Pilsner, but it’s a good $1 beer.

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Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Pilsner

Beer: Alpine Glacier Pilsner Lager
Brewery: Tommyknowcker Brewery
Style: German-style Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s Apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Dark golden body with a two finger iridescent white head with sparkly bubbles.

Smell: Berries, grain, and spicy hops.

Flavor: Sweet cereal taste, with flat hops and water. It tastes like a big glass of tap water with a bit of bitter hops.

Feel: Medium body with lively carbonation.

Concluding RemarksTommyknocker’s Alpine Glacier is deceiving–there is very little “Alpine” in this brew. It’s a true American Pilsner hybrid: it takes the simple yet delicious Pilsner flavor profile and douses it with hops. It actually tastes more like an American Pale Ale (although it’s a lager), likely because there’s no discernible presence of lager yeasts or traditional Pilsner malts (like Munich malts) or Pilsner hops (like Saaz or Noble). While it’s fine and drinkable, this is absolutely NOT a traditional Pilsner. If I wasn’t rating this on the style, I would give it a 2.5.  It’s kind of bitter, definitely watery, but if you’re looking for a new take on a Pilsner, I guess you could try this one.

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Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Beer: Summerfest
Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.0%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Hazy straw body of a Czech Pilsner, with a creamy white head that recedes to a foamy brim.

Smell: Lemon. And corn. It actually kind of smells like a better Budweiser.

Flavor: It tastes better than it smells. The characteristic Pilsner malt-to-hops ratio is off, with an emphasis on the malt side. The result is a sweeter, less interesting Pilsner. Oddly, it tastes like cardboard smells. Oddly.

Feel: Thin body, less carbonated than other Pils.

Concluding Remarks: Summerfest, Sierra Nevada’s moniker for their Czech Pilsner, is mediocre. It kind of tastes like watery cardboard malt seltzer (imagine it). Overall,  it’s a fine summer beer, but it’s missing the nuanced spice and hops of a Czech Pils. If Sierra added a little more hops next time, the Summerfest could put the ‘fest’ in…Summerfest.

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Dogfish Head My Antonia

Beer: My Antonia
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Style: Imperial Pilsner
ABV: 7.5%

 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s family home, NJ
Primary Consumer: Kerensa
Secondary Consumer(s): Kerensa’s family

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Straw, almost clear body with a huge, fluffy head that looks like beaten egg whites. Excellent head retention; it settles into sculptural, voluminous shapes.

Smell: Strong earthy, herbal hop aroma.

Flavor: Bitter hop note at forefront, with an herbal–thyme or parsley–bitter aftertaste.

Feel: Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This does not feel like your normal Pilsner.

Concluding Remarks: Dogfish Head’s My Antonia (named so for Willa Cather’s Bohemian heroine)  is an Imperial Pilsner.  It is a continually-hopped brew, which means that hops are added to the beer throughout the boiling process. As it sits, it begins to develop a sweet malt profile, in addition to  notes of ethyl alcohol. The flavor of the beer transforms as it goes down: first, there’s a rush of bitterness, then a sweet malt, and it finishes with a bitter herbal note. While interesting,  I highly recommend not drinking this with food. It will overpower anything else consumed in its path. It’s a nice break from the low ABV session Pils I’ve been drinking this month, though. Also, if you’re interested, look out for Dogfish Head’s collaboration with Birra del Borgo. They produced this Imperial Pilsner before Dogfish went off and did its own thing with Antonia Shimerda. They do make a good brew, but I would be curious to try and discern the difference between Dogfish with and without Italy’s help.

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Hofbräuhaus Traunstein Fürstenpils

Beer: Fürstenpils
Brewery: Hofbräuhaus Traunstein
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%

 Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Stein
Drinking Establishment: Zum Schneider, East Village
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Clear, golden body with a huge, white, pillowy head.

Smell: Earthy, metallic aroma.

Flavor: Overall citrus and coppery taste that quickly fades to a watery aftertaste.

Feel: Watery with high carbonation.

Concluding Remarks: I’ll be brief, as I’m out and looking forward to putting this one back with a few bretzn ASAP. Hofbräuhaus Traunstein, a 400-year old brewery in the heart of Bavaria, is impossible to find in the US. Unless you take a trek (ein bissen reise) to Zum Schneider, the best German bar in all of New York City. Zum Schneider is the exclusive provider of  Traunstein in this United States. If you need more reason to visit Zum than simply checking out a rare German brewer in the heart of Alphabet City, let this Fürstenpils do the talking (and you do the drinking). The Fürstenpils style, as explained by the brewers, is a “specialty beer with especially refreshing bubbles and a fine head.” I would have to agree that this Pilsner IS especially refreshing and DOES have a fine head. All in all, it’s a very balanced German Pilsner with pleasant notes of hops and citrus. Traunstein says that this Fürstenpils is “a must for a discerning quality of life.” Yeah, sure. Oh, hell with the snarky comments, this is a solid Pilsner, and I’m going to order another pretzel.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Pinkus Organic Unfiltered Ur Pils

Beer: Organic Ur Pils
Brewery: Brauerei Pinkus Mueller
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.2%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Cloudy, bright, soft yellow body. Upon first pour, there’s a huge white head that settles to a centimeter brim.

Smell: It smells like an explosion of Munich malt with a note of citrusy zest. It reminds me a bit of a Helles, which should be no surprise as this style was modeled after it.

Flavor: It doesn’t taste quite as delicious as it smells, but the Munich malts and light Noble hops are quite pleasant. There are also subtle notes of metallic and lime. Decent flavor at the fore, but there is absolutely no aftertaste. The only flavor that lingers is carbonated water.

Feel: Very thin, almost watery–yet creamy–body, with high carbonation.

Concluding Remarks: Our first Pilsner of the month is a German! So take note of the German characteristics now and notice the difference between it and the Czech Pilsners we will inevitably review. Also, Pinkus’s Ur Pils is in fact a “ur pils,” or in German, an “original pils.”  In this case, the “original” style refers to the fact that this beer is unfiltered, as modern filtration techniques were not part of the original brewing process. Pilsners are not usually unfiltered, so this Pilsner has an uncharacteristic creaminess and cloudiness that is associated with other unfiltered brews, such as the Hefeweizen.

All in all, this Pinkus’ Ur Pils is veryyyyyy easy to drink, but won’t knock your socks off. It tastes like a malted seltzer with a spritz of Noble hops. I’ll give it props for being organic, but I’m not about to go spend another $4 for a bottle. Well. Maybe once more.

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From the Caves of Plzeň Emerges the Pilsner: A History

What better way to ring in the outdoor drinking season than to focus on one of the most consumed beer styles in the world, the Pilsner? According to the German Beer Institute, nine out of ten beer consumed worldwide are Pilsners. This style is often misidentified as a “light beer” (e.g. Coors Light) or as synonymous with a Lager. And while both a lighter beer and a style of Lager, the nuances of this session beer have been generally under-appreciated. No longer, we say!  Bring the Pils our way!

The glory of the Pilsner.

The Pilsner is commonly found in the Czech Republic and Germany. While the Czech Pilsner and the German Pilsner have similar traits, there are some noticeable differences. You may have heard of Pilsner Urquell? That is a Czech beer, and one of their most popular (or at least most widely-distributed; in the Czech Republic itself, Staropromen is the more popular brew).  In Germany, the popular Pilsner is Jever.

The Origin of the Czech Pilsner

The history of the Pilsner in the Czech Republic actually has its roots in the Ale.  Apparently, in the 1830s, the citizens of the Czech town Plzeň (then Austria Hungary) saw a horrifying sight one day: barrels and barrels of Ale were being poured down the city streets by consumers unhappy with the increasingly deteriorating quality of their beer. At the time, bacteria was prone to grow in Ale yeast, and the brewers were growing increasingly frustrated by their production of an unconsumable product.

In 1840, a group of brewers in Bohemia sought a new way of producing beer. They commissioned Bavarian brewer Josef Groll to teach them how to brew in the bottom-fermenting method (a.k.a. the method used to produce a Lager), as Germans were renowned for this method. Groll brought with him Lager yeast–the first time it had crossed into the Czech lands. Using the Lager yeasts and local Saaz hops (closely familiar to the Noble hops that Groll would have used in Germany), Groll began brewing a new Lager, in the German style of a Helles bock, alongside the Bohemian brewers in the caverns of Plzeň.

The beer that emerged out of these caves was clearer than anything Groll & Company had expected; the Czech brewers were accustomed to brewing dark, murky Ales, not this clear, straw-colored, super-refreshing Lager. And in those caverns, in 1842, the Pilsner style was born. The name became a brand in 1859, and the first Pilsner to be mass-produced was the aforementioned Pilsner Urquell in 1898.

The iconic gate outside of the Pilsner Urquell brewery that is found on their logo.

While a number of variations on the recipe have emerged over the last one-and-a-half centuries, Pilsners are most commonly made with Saaz hops, Lager yeast, and soft water, which brings out the flavor of the grains. The recipe has been tinkered with by major American breweries, such as Budweiser, as it is such a crisp, drinkable style. These breweries, to reduce costs, have replaced some barley with rice, cutting the alcohol (and flavor) content. These variations, sometimes still marketed as a “Pilsner,” are more actually  “American Light” lagers, so…BEWARE. If you go out and try to find a Pilsner tonight, don’t be fooled when Coors tells you it’s a Pilsner. It’s not; it just wishes it was.

Molson’s “Old Style Pilsner”…Old Style apparently meaning a time when Native Americans lived in teepees while early airplanes flew overhead and cars cruised around country roads.

While the origin story of the Pilsner has its roots in Bohemia and Bavaria, the Pilsner did not make its way to Germany until a little while later (Radeburger debuted a Pilsner in 1872). The style is slightly different there, too. The German Pilsner (or Pils, as it’s sometimes abbreviated to) is more bitter and earthy. Popular German examples are Jever and Becks’s (found in the North) and Bitburger (found in the South). German Pilsners also vary depending on their geographic orientation. Northern Pilsners are associated with an even more bitter, almost aggressive, hop presence and zest due to the hard water in this region and the Southerners are generally more mellow.

Imitators have since popped up in Belgium, Poland, and other neighboring countries, where they are often sweeter and are more closely aligned with the European Lager. Although we slammed the early American adaptation of the Pilsner, there have been a number of craft breweries that have done what US craft breweries do best: take a traditional style and amp up the alcohol content. The Imperial Pilsner emerged in the US in the last few decades, and they are generally spicier, more bitter, and a helluva lot more alcoholic. Go, Team USA.

So, what to expect?

Sight: Look for a clear, straw body with a light, white, long-lasting head.

Smell: The aroma will be of light malts, a little spice, and little hop.

Flavor: Expect a crisp grain taste with a lingering hop bitterness. Czech Pils will also have a floral note (characteristic of the Saaz hop). The German counterpart will be on the bitter-er side, but will be balanced with a citrus presence.

So, go get your Pilsner on!

What we’re trying to say is, enjoy the month. Go outside, order a Pilsner (Urquell or otherwise), and drink that 4.5% beer until it finally gives you a buzz. Frequent your favorite local beer garden, order some smažený sýr (fried cheese) or wurst, and let the glory of this simple yet delicious beer sink in whilst you sit outside in the sun. What. Is. Better. Than. That?

The Czechs consume the most beer per capita in the world; now’s the month to discover why! (Just please, be wary of American Light impostors.)

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