ALL ABOUT PILSNERS
A light-bodied beer that has a golden hue and typically features a subtle bitterness, pilsners popularity in the United States continues to grow as one of the most approachable and easy-to-drink styles. Many pilsners vary in style based on the country they’re brewed in and come highly rated by beer enthusiasts. Check out some of our excellent brands to choose from, and get yours delivered today!
Pilsner beer originated in the city of Pilzen, Czech Republic. The history dates back to 1842 when Bavarian brewer Josef Groll created the world’s first light-colored lager using Saaz hops, soft water, and pale malts. Originally called “pilsener” after its place of origin, Pilsen, this new style quickly became popular throughout Europe due to its lighter body and drinkability compared to the quality and taste of the top-fermenting ales being produced. Made with bottom-fermenting yeast at cooler temperatures, it gained notoriety quickly as one of the most popular beers. Today it is incredibly popular worldwide and is often referred to simply as “pils” or “pilsner” for short.
How Pilsner is Made
Since pilsners group into the lager family, brewers craft them at cooler temperatures with bottom-fermentation, where the yeast sits at the bottom of the batch. This process creates much smoother and light beers that many seek out for their refreshing qualities.
First, you take a malt that fits your flavor profile. Next, boil the malt for 90 minutes to remove any unwanted compounds. This creates the wort, which brewers then add hops to in order to add specific flavors.The definite trait between many pilsners lies in the hops, which provide different flavors based on the regions in which they grow.
The hops then get boiled into the wort in small batches before getting placed in an ice bath or refrigerator to lower temperatures. After the wort cools, they agitate the mixture vigorously before adding yeast to it. This mixture ferments for three weeks before it gets moved to another container to get back to room temperature. Once it reaches this stage, the container gets left to refrigerate for another 4 to 6 weeks before bottling.
- Czech Pilsner - Czech Pilsners flavor profiles come across with tastes reminiscent of sweet breads. They tend to be less bitter than German Pilsners and have a more pronounced hop flavor with floral and herbal notes. The malt character also tends to be more complex with notes of honey, toast, and caramel. Czech Pilsners sometimes get referred to as Bohemian Pilsners or Bohemian style lagers, an older name for a large portion of the Czech Republic.
- American Craft Pilsner - American craft brewers took the traditional pilsner style and gave it their own twist over the years. American craft pilsners tend to carry softer flavors than their European cousins with more hop bitterness and aroma from American hops like Cascade or Centennial hops. Malt flavor can range from sweet bready notes all the way up to intense caramel flavors depending on which grain bill is used by the brewer.
- Bohemian Style Pilsner - Another name for Czech Pilsners, Bohemian style pilsners typically appear light golden in color with a slightly sweet maltiness. Their assertive hop flavor comes from using Saaz hops, which are native to the Czech Republic. The hop bitterness tends to be higher than other styles of pilsner, but still gets balanced by the sweetness of the malt.
- German Style Pilsner - German style pilsners usually appear straw to pale golden in color and present a more herbal hop character than Bohemian style pilsners. They often taste more bitter than other styles as a balance between light lagers and dark, hoppy ales, but still maintain a nice balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness. German brewers often use Hallertauer hops for these beers, which lend them their distinctive herbal notes.
- Imperial/Double Pilsner - Imperial or double pilsners, using higher amounts of alcohol and hops, get brewed with the intention of being stronger versions of traditional pilsners. These beers tend to present more in both flavor and aroma, with intense hoppiness balanced by sweet malt flavors often backed by a higher alcohol by volume (ABV). Imperial/double pilsners range from deep gold to dark brown in color depending on the amount of specialty malts used during brewing.