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Friday
Aug172012

PILSNER/PILS/PILSENER

If you’re one of the great unwashed beer swillers who think Pilsners are for pussies, we’ve got news for you: most mainstream beers are Pilsners. If you don’t see a particular style written on the label (and, often, even if you do), you’re probably quaffing a Pilsner. The list is long and includes: Budweiser, Beck’s, Heineken, Tsingtao, Snow Beer, Asahi, Singha, Kingfisher, Amstel, Grolsch and even Kirin. Even most light and low-calorie beers are adulterated Pilsners.

No such beer existed 200 years ago, so its world domination must have an underlying reason that combines ease of manufacture with drinking appeal.

We’ll use “Pilsner” if for no other reason that it rewards Pilsner-Urquell for inventing it. Well, sort of.

The other Pilsners, the citizens of Pilzen, in today’s Czech Republic, had revolted at the inconsistency of the beer they were being plied with, so the ruling class built a new brewery and hired a 22-year-old German brewer from neighbouring Bavaria to solve the problem.

Pale malts had just come into being, so he slung them in with local hops and the low-mineral water of the local river and then lagered it all for the season and out came Pils/Pilsner/Pilzner/Pilsener.

Bavaria’s Helles beers are essentially the same style as Pilsner, though a proper Pilsner is more bitter than a Helles.

See all Pilsners