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5 good reasons to drink a Pilsner in Germany

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Probably the most popular beer in Germany is still the Pilsner beer. In the north, people like to enjoy the Pils beer very tart, but further south the tartness decreases and you can get to know the tender and softer notes of hops with a Bavarian Pilsner. No matter whether north, east, south or west – the Pils beer remains the most popular beer of the Germans.

The Pils, also called Pilsner Bier, Pilsener or Pilsner, is a light, bottom-fermented beer named after the place of origin Pilsen in the Czech Republic. To find out what the city of Pilsen (PLZEN) has to do with it, you have to take a closer look at the history of the city and the beer of the same name. The beginnings of Pils beer take us back to 1842.

Good reason number 1: Everyone likes Pils

Pilsner

Did you know that, according to a representative survey, 37 percent of Germans prefer to drink a Pilsner? This is followed by wheat beer with 10.3 percent. The Pils is by far the most popular beer. If you are not sure which beer you would like to offer in a larger group, you can confidently reach for the Pils. 

It tastes as good as anyone. Because a Pils is very tasty and always a pleasure. Pils is part of every successful celebration and also part of a good meal. It is a welcome and refreshing drink on any occasion.

Pilsner alone makes up 55.1% of the entire German beer market. According to information from the German Brewers’ Association, LEH and + GAM Germany, which collect statistics on the ranking of beer types, this type of beer is in the lead in 2010. How far this percentage has changed in recent years has not yet been recorded.

Good reason number 2: A Pils is distinctive and versatile

Pilsner

The taste of the beer is unique. One sip is enough and everyone knows that it is a Pilsner-style beer. The tart taste with the strong emphasis on hops and its slight bitterness make the bottom-fermented beer an all-rounder. It’s refreshing in summer and stimulating in winter. 

A pilsner relaxes after work and is also welcome in good company. It is very pleasant to drink and does not create a feeling of fullness, although it is one of the full beers. The dry finish is particularly pleasant. If you want a little less alcohol, you don’t have to do without the Pils. 

There are very delicious alcohol-reduced or alcohol-free recipes that translate the taste of the Pils into a lighter variant.

Good reason number 3: A pilsner for good taste

Pilsner

Pilsner beer feels particularly good on the dining table. The Pils always goes well with a hearty meal or a light fish dish. It stimulates the appetite with its bitter taste and is therefore the ideal drink for starters. 

It stimulates the metabolism and sensitizes the taste buds. So the food tastes twice as good. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely do it. Just enjoy a glass of beer before you eat. The meal will taste even better in a minute.

Good reason number 4: A pilsner has history

Pilsner

The Pilsener comes from the Bohemian city of Pilsen. But the Bavarian master brewer Joseph Groll brought the recipe to Pilsen in the middle of the 19th century. 

The city wanted to modernize its brewing art, built a new brewery and hired the Bavarian as master brewer. He turned his father’s recipe into the brewery’s house variety. That was a big change for the Pilsen art of brewing, because bottom-fermented beer was traditionally brewed here. With the renewal of the brewing culture, top-fermented beer came to Pilsen, which immediately enjoyed great popularity. 

In order to be able to brew and store this beer all year round at the optimal temperature, ice was collected in winter and stored in deep cellars and caves. This effort shows the passion that Pilseners have for their beer. It is not without reason that it became the most popular beer in Germany. Drinking a beer with an interesting story brings a topic of conversation to the table.

Good reason number 5: A pilsner is a challenge

Pilsner

For the ambitious hobby brewer, it is not only worth reaching for the beer to drink it. Brewing it is a challenge to face. Brewing bottom-fermented beers is challenging because the yeast  only works at low temperatures and is sensitive. 

With a good pilsner you can develop your art of brewing. If your Pilsner tastes dry and makes you want another one, you’ve done everything right. If you have never tried your hand at a bottom-fermented beer, you will need a few brewing processes before the pilsner succeeds. 

Accept the challenge and your repertoire will expand to include a popular type of beer from your own home brewery. So you can always offer a beer that everyone likes.

The history of the Pilsner Beer

Like some beer styles, Pils beer was not invented in Germany or brewed for the first time, but in Pilsen – in the Czech Republic. The beer, the Bohemian city belonged to the Austrian monarchy at the time, and the quality of the beer was not very good. The Pilsen magistrate even decreed in 1838 that 36 barrels of beer should be publicly released in front of the town hall, because the beer was so bad. 

In order to remedy this “beery” grievances, not only top-fermented beer should be brewed in Pilsen according to the old tradition, but also bottom-fermented dark beer, which was known from neighboring Bavaria. To brew such a beer, they were looking for a young Bavarian master brewer. The choice was obvious at the time: Josef Groll, 29 years old, from Vilshofener, who came from a brewery family.

Since the temperature and the equipment in Bohemia were similar to those in Bavaria, Josef Groll was able to brew beer, just like at home. There were enough cellars filled with ice. This was the only way to brew a bottom-fermented beer and then store it under ideal conditions. In order to be able to brew bottom-fermented brews, you need a constant temperature of four to nine degrees Celsius in the fermentation cellar during the fermentation process. Since there was no refrigerator at the time, bottom-fermented brewing was not an easy endeavor.

Another problem: Bavarian dark beer had a typical trait that could not be imitated in Pilsen at the time. Even with the same recipe, there were differences in taste compared to the Bavarian dark, which Josef Groll was not satisfied with. The reason: The dark beer from Bavaria was brewed with brewing water that had a very high carbon hardness. Brewing a dark beer with the very soft water (low in salt and low residual alkalinity) from Pilsen was very difficult.

That is why Josef Groll used very light barley malt and a lot of hops instead of the dark malt to create a new, unprecedented beer – the beer that is now called Pilsen beer. On October 5, 1842, the first brew of that light beer was brewed, whose light color and special hops note today stands for a whole variety: the Pils or Pilsener. On November 11th of the same year it was served for the first time and began its triumphal march around the world. After only five years, Josef Groll turned the city of Pilsen into a true beer city with his beer, whose fame and fame continues to this day.

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Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.
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