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Beer Reviews

Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell
Czech Republic

Style: Pilsener
ABV: 4.4%

Rings’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Pair With:
• Bass
• Brats
• Cod
• Crab
• Lobster
• Oysters
• Salami
• Salmon
• Salsa
• Shrimp
This is probably one of the most famous and influential beers in the world.

It can be fairly argued that the style of Plzeň, Bohemia (modern Czech Republic), influenced the rest of the beer drinking world to go pale, dry  … and, eventually, yellow and fizzy as 95 percent of the world’s beer is nowadays. All because of the isolation of lager yeast and the development of pale malt married with Saaz hops.

Of course, “pilsner” beer has become a style attached to everything from Shorts to Miller Lite, unlike the other Bohemian style of Budweis, which has become a much debated brand name.

The brewery itself is a great visit. Plzeňský Prazdroj was founded in 1842 as locals revolted against the substandard ales of the time and built a new brewery led by Bavarian brewmaster Joseph Groll. Today, it’s better known by its German name, Pilsner Urquell, meaning the “Well (or Fountain) of Pilsen.” Until the 1980s, they were actually still fermenting in wood—which makes the mass quality all the more remarkable over the years, even during Communist rule. Although it’s now part of the SABMiller empire, they are still brewing at the source and maintaining their flavorful standards.

Back in the days after the Berlin Wall fell, we used to enjoy fresh Urquell, Budwar or Staropraman on the streets of Prague, with hundreds our closest Bohemian friends, for pennies on the dollar. Today, the price is a little higher, but the brand is pretty much everywhere in the world.

Of course, I’m sampling from an import bottle, so it isn’t the same as it was in those days. It pours a deep yellow color with large bubbles that drop to a thin head—a noticeable difference from a local pour. The Saaz hops presents a nice spicy floral aroma on the nose. Opening with a light malt palate, it follows with a sharp noble hop bite and a long dry finish.

This is much better than most green bottle import beers, however, that’s not saying much.

Reviewed by Rings on February 27, 2013.
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