Pilsner, sometimes pilsener or simply pils, is a
pale lager, developed in the 19th century in the city of Pilsen, Bohemia( Plzeňin the Czech Republic).
Until the mid-1840s, most Bohemian beers were top-fermented, dark and cloudy. The taste and standards of quality often varied to the worse, and in 1838, consumers even dumped whole barrels to show their dissatisfaction. The citizens of Pilsen decided in 1839 to found and build a brewery of their own, called _de. "Bürger Brauerei" (Citizens' Brewery) [http://www.traveliana.com/de/about-czech/pilsen.html] [http://www.prazdroj.cz/en/about-the-company/history] (now
Plzeňský Prazdroj), which should brew beer according to the Bavarian style of brewing. Bavarian brewers had begun experiments with the storage ( _de. "Lager") of beer in cool caves using bottom-fermenting yeasts, which improved the beer's clarity, flavour, and shelf-life. Most of this research benefited from the knowledge already expounded on in a German book (printed since 1794, in Czech since 1801), written by František Ondřej Poupě (1753–1805) from Brno. [Basařová G.: Der legendäre böhmische Brauer František Ondřej Poupě (Franz Andreas Paupie) 1753-1805. Jahrbuch 2003 Gesellschaft für die Geschichte und Bibliographie des Brauwesens E.V. (GGB), (2003) 1, 128-146.]
The "Bürger Brauerei" recruited the Bavarian brewer
Josef Groll(1813 – 1887) who, using new techniques and the newly available paler malts, presented his first batch of modern Pilsner on 5 October 1842. The combination of pale colour from the new malts, Pilsen's remarkably soft water, noble hopsfrom nearby Saaz and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer which was regarded as a sensation.
Improving transport and communications also meant that this new beer was soon available throughout
Central Europe, and the _de. "Pilsner Brauart" style of brewing was soon widely imitated. In 1859, “Pilsner Bier” was registered as a brand name at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Pilsen. In 1898, the Pilsner Urquelltrade mark was created to put emphasis on being the original brewery.
The introduction to Germany of modern refrigeration by
Carl von Lindein the late 19th century removed the need for caves in which to store the beer and thus allowed many places to brew bottom-fermenting beer which were unable to do so before ["Altbier im Alltag" by Genno Fonk, 1999, page 11] ; however, even until recently the Pilsner Urquellbrewery still fermented its beer using open barrels in the cellars underneath their brewery. This technology was changed in 1993 with the use of large cylindrical tanks; however, small samples are still brewed in a traditional way for taste comparisons. Pilsner also has the unique claim to being "the world's first golden beer."
A modern Pilsner has a very light, clear colour from pale, really pale up to a golden yellow, and a distinct hop aroma and flavour. Czech Pilsners tend toward a lighter flavour with good examples being Pilsner Urquell and
Staropramen, while those in a German style can be more bitter (particularly in the north, e.g. Jever) or even "earthy" in flavour. Distinctive examples of German Pilsners are Flensburger Brauerei's Flensburger Pilsener, Beck's, Bitburger, Fürstenberg, Veltins, König Pilsner, Krombacher, Radeberger, Holsten, Warsteiner, Henninger's Kaiser Pilsner, Brauerei Schwelm's Schwelmer Pils, Augustiner Bräu's Augustiner Pils, Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren Jubiläums Pils and Wernesgrüner. On the other hand, Dutch ( Heineken, Amstel) and Belgian Pilsners ( Jupiler, Stella Artois) have a slight sweet taste.
Pilsners as a marketing category
While Pilsner is best defined in terms of its characteristics and heritage, the term is also used by some brewers (particularly in North America) to indicate their "premium" beer, whether or not it has a particular hop character. It is generally regarded as different from other
pale lagers by a more prominent hop character, particularly from the use of Saaz noble hops.
* [http://www.pilsner-urquell.com Pilsner Urquell homepage]
* [http://www.ggb-berlin.de/ihvz2003.html Gesellschaft für Geschichte des Brauwesens e.V. (GGB)]
* [http://www.brno.cz/index.php?nav01=2222&nav02=2220&nav03=2447&idosobnosti=196 Die Kunst des Bierbrauens]
* [http://feefhs.org/maps/ah/ah-bohem.html Pilsen on 1882 Map of Bohemia, from Edinburgh]
* [http://www.thefoaminghead.com/pilsner.html The Foaming Head's Pilsner Page]
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