Beer Types – Pilsner

Ok now onto Pilsners, which is a type of pale lager.  It takes its name from the city of Pilsen,  Bohemia, in today’s Czech Republic, where it has been developed since 1842, when a bottom-fermented beer was first produced. The original Pilsner Urquell beer is produced there today.

Pilsner is one of the youngest beer styles in the world. It is brewed all over the world;  breweries from Beijing to Rio de Janeiro and Anchorage to London produce the clean pale brew. A modern pilsner has a very light, clear colour from pale to golden yellow, and a distinct hop aroma and flavour. Czech pilsners tend toward a lighter flavour (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.

A pilsner is generally regarded as different from other pale lagers by a more prominent hop character, particularly from the use of Saaz noble hops and spring (soft) water. Some of the famous German Pilsner’s are Beck’s, Bitburger & Holsten while Amstel, Heineken (Dutch), Stella Artois & Jupiler (Belgian) have a more sweet taster.  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. One of the reasons for pilsner’s popularity is that it pairs easily with many different foods. Roasted meat, chicken, and fish – though not so well with sushi. It goes nicely with spicy Indian or Mexican dishes as well as most Asian cuisines.

I’ve featured here the Old Style Pilsner from Molson. Although not one of the more famous brands, it’s been featured heavily in my favourite sit com Corner Gas and in the movie FUBAR! Old Style Pilsner is said to be the first beer consumed by many young western Canadian males and is referred to as “Saskatchewan Champagne” by its devotees.

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