Beer 101: Let’s Talk About Pilsners

downtown sports bar

It’s not often you find histories behind the beer you’re drinking at your local downtown sports bar. We’re not like other restaurants and bars, so let’s pop into a pilsner and hear about where they came from.

During the mid-1800s in a little Czech town called Plzen — or Pilsen, beer had a long-standing history. The trouble with brewing back then was keeping beer unspoiled. They didn’t have the technology and quality regulations we have now, so they’d often see beer that didn’t turn out very well. It so happened in Plzen that the brewers were so off-put by a batch, they rolled their casks into the streets and broke them open to discard the rotten brew. A deeply saddening scene, to be sure.

Prior to their frustration and subsequent dumping of their bad beer, Plzen’s breweries had hundreds of years of brewing experience, but it was in making ale. Why does that matter? Let’s pause for some quick beerology beyond the downtown sports bar scene.

As far as types go, there are two major categories under the umbrella of beer: lagers and ales. Where they differentiate is the fermentation process and style. While ales are top-fermentedlagers are bottom-fermented, meaning they use different yeast strains. These strains not only have different flavor profiles but react at different temperatures and locations during the fermentation process. That’s the basic gist without delving into overly-scientific complexities.

After hitting their quality roadblock, they got a hold of a guy named Josef Groll. A Bavarian brewer, he came to Plzen with bottom fermenting yeast and proceeded to teach the lagering style that German breweries were (and still are) famous for.

As fortune and impeccable geographic location would have it, the lagering method thrived in Plzen. Combined with a specific type of Bohemian hop — Saaz hops — and the soft water of the region, they would produce a lager that was unlike anything that had ever been seen in Bohemia.

Golden, crystal clear, a refreshing balance of bitter and malty, and smoothed by the properties of the local water, in 1842 the Pilsner was born. Named for its birthplace, it spread like wildfire, everyone striving to create something similar. But, the specificity of Saaz hops and soft water used in the process in the little town of Plzen made it stand alone.

That same beer is around today and still producing one of a kind Pilsner. You might’ve heard of it: Pilsner Urquell. In German, urquell means the ancient source. Fitting for the birthplace of Pilsner. The style became so popular that, though the name “Pilsner” began as a geographically-based title for a lager typefrom Plzen, it grew into its own classification. You can get it all over the world and it’s ideal for summer sipping.

If you’re looking for something crisp and golden to wash your cheeseburger down, we’ve got you covered. Come join us. The U.S. bar industry sold 196.9 million kegs of beer last year and we’re proudly contributing to those numbers. We’ll hook you up with the best burger and downtown sports bar experience you’ll find in the area. Crack open a Pilsner and enjoy. Prost.

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