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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Welcome to the beer that changed the world

It is pilsner month. For the next thirty days we are diving into a style of beer that changed everything, but more on that on Friday. First we need to quench our thirst and look at our baseline for pilsner beers. 

That means we are starting with a look at the original pilsner, Pilsner Urquell, which loosely translated means "from the original source." The original source being Plzen, Czech Republic which is the home of pilsner beer, as stated earlier, more on this on Friday. This is the beer that altered how we perceive and drink beer. In a way the brewing and success of this beer is responsible for the resulting craft beer revolution we are currently undergoing. 

Not only does it look delicious,
it was delicious. 
So let us get to the enjoyment phase of this. It poured with a rich golden color that was crystal clear. This beer has a higher carbonation than most with the bubbles streaming up from the bottom making for a pleasant looking glass. It had a white fluffy head that slowly dissipated with lacing clinging to the side. It just screams, "Beer!" 

It tastes light, crisp, with some slight fruitiness and grassy aspects. It has a distinct smell to it which stems from the Saaz hops. It has a relatively mild bite, not sharp but spicy, and a lingering but light bitter aftertaste also a result of the Saaz hop. It finishes very clean. This is a very drinkable beer coming in at a session like 4.4% ABV. 

This is beer for pure refreshment which should be the most common theme throughout the month. At the time this beer was introduced it would have been the crispest, cleanest, and lightest tasting beer in the world. The question that has to be asked though is how close is this beer to the original brewed in the 1840s? One thing to understand about pilsners is that they tend to be better the fresher they are. They aren't for keeping, they are for drinking. We know this beer has already put some mileage under it, in addition Pilsner Urquell these days now falls under SABMiller, one of the goliaths of the beer world, and while they claim the recipe has been unaltered I would like to know how this tasted before it was being produced on an industrial scale. 

That said this is a good way to kick off pilsner month. Your thoughts in the comments!

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