Sunday, August 6, 2023

Evolution of Pilsner Brewing

The origins of Pilsener beer can be traced back to the historical city of Plzen, which is located in the western part of the Czech Republic and was once a part of the Bohemian kingdom. The initial Pilsner brew, known as Pilsner Urquell, emerged as a response to a movement by dissatisfied consumers in 1838 who were unhappy with the inferior taste and quality of top-fermented beer.

Plzen's influence on beer history started in 1295 when King Wenceslas II established the town of New Plzen along the Radbuza River. The city of Plzeň was granted brewing rights in 1307, but until the mid-1840s, most Bohemian beers were of the top-fermented variety.

Josef Groll (1813–1887), a brewmaster from Bavaria, was hired by the Měšťanský pivovar Plzeň brewery (Citizens' Brewery), owned by the city of Pilsen, to create a pale lager with a refined taste that would later become synonymous with this style of beer.

Using Moravian barley malt low in protein, prepared through indirect kilning, and intentionally avoiding the roasted or smoked barley commonly used by German brewers, Groll incorporated generous amounts of aromatic Saaz hops from the nearby Žatec region into his brew.

On October 5th, 1842, Josef Groll introduced the first pilsner beer to the public, and it became an immediate sensation. With its straw-like color, the beer was both light and transparent, allowing one to easily look through the Bohemian crystal glass.

The proliferation of railways in Europe and the introduction of refrigeration technology facilitated the popularity of Pilsners, which spread to northern Germany and across Europe. The style underwent adaptations to fit the brewing resources of each locality.

By 1853, this beer could be enjoyed in 35 pubs throughout Prague. It reached Vienna in 1856 and Paris in 1862. In contemporary times, most Pilsners are fermented in cylindrical tanks, although a small quantity (used for taste comparisons) is still produced using the traditional method of open barrel fermentation in cellars.
Evolution of Pilsner Brewing

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