Pilsner Beer – it is not just brewed in the Czech city of Pilsen, but nearly everywhere in Germany!
Pilsner beer is very popular in the entire world and, of course, especially in Germany, where the origins of this beer style are to be found. But isn’t Pilsen a city of the Czech Republic?! Yes, it is indeed! Regarding Pilsner, Pilsener or Pils, as it is mainly called in Germany, its story is strongly linked to European history and the brewer having developed Pilsner who was a German from a small town on the Dabube, near Passau.
In 1842 Pilsen was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which existed until being defeated in WW1. The beer brewed in Pilsen was very unpopular at that time, there were even protests culminating in the spilling of beer from barrels on the market place. As a reaction, Josef Groll, an experienced brewer from Bavaria, was appointed brewer in Pilsen in order to make a proper beer available to the Bohemians. This was derived from Bavarian brewing procedures, and was brewed for the fist time on October 5th 1842. Pilsner had its breakthrough on the German and European market, when efficient cooling machines were developed in the 1870s. This was essential, Pilsner is a bottom-fermented beer and requires low temperatures during fermentation. At the time of the first Pilsner beer, caves were used to ensure the right fermentation temperatures.
Today, Pilsner is very popular and there are a huge number of German breweries with all kinds of Pilsner brands. Surely, Pilsner is a beer style, but you will be able to taste a great difference when comparing a Warsteiner with a Jever.
10 Facts on Pilsner Beer
- Beer from Pilsen was known to be very unpleasant, before a German brewer brought his knowledge on Bavarian beer brewing to the Bohemian city.
- Pilsner was developed by the Bavarian brewer Josef Groll from Vilshofen, a small town near the city of Passau in Bavaria.
- Pilsner is a bottom-fermented beer, requiring cold temperatures during the fermentation process.
- In comparison to other beer styles, especially Helles with which it should not be mixed up, Pilsner has more hops and thus a higher degree of bitterness.
- Pilsner has an alcohol content ranging from about 4,4 % to 5,0 %.
- According the German beer classification, Pilsner is a “Vollbier” due to its original gravity of up to 12.5%.
- The Radeberger Brauerei located in the Saxon city of Dresden was the first German brewery to bring a Pilsner style beer to the market.
- Pilsner Beers are the most produced and sold beers in Germany and in the entire world.
- There are several funny names for Pilsner beers in Germany, such as “Pilsken” or “kühles Blonde” meaning “a cool blond” (also used for Kolsch / Koelsch beers from the City of Cologne).
- Pilsner Urquell is produced since 1842, and is still brewed according to the original recipe of Josef Groll – the trademark was already registered in 1898.
10 famous German Pilsner Beer Brands*!
- Warsteiner (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Veltins (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Krombacher (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Jever (Lower Saxony)
- Bitburger (Rhineland-Palatinate)
- Radeberger (Saxony)
- Oettinger (Bavaria)
- König Pilsener (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Beck’s (Bremen)
- Hasseröder (Saxony-Anhalt)
* The list is unordered and does not give any information on the taste or quality of the individual Pilsner. Information on the federal state, where each beer is brewed, is given, too. Be sure, we will present many more Pilsner beers, among them beer brands of smaller rather unknown German breweries also brewing in a Pilsner-style.
You should of course try Pilsner Urquell, when wanting to taste the variety of Pilsner beers, although it is now officially produced in the Czech Republic!
We would also recommend some non alcoholic beers the typical Pilsner breweries produce, e.g. Warsteiner Alkoholfrei, Bitburger 0,0% or Clausthaler. Decide for yourself whether alcohol is essential in creating the unique beer taste.