35222 - The history of the pilsner

Pilsner beer gets its name from a Bohemian City called Plzeň located in modern day Czech Republic. In 1842, Plzeň was under the control of the Austrian Empire.  Josef Groll, a Bavarian-born brewer, was the father of the pilsner.  There are several stories of how the pilsner came to be but we like the one that suggest a monk somehow smuggled the lager yeast out of Bavaria and got it to Plzeň in 1840.  The brewer used only light barley that was partially malted and none of the roasted or smoked barley that the German brewers were using.  In addition, Groll added lots of Saaz hops to his brew. The result:  a beer that was a clear pale straw colour that was more refreshing than any other beer available.

Another part that played a big role for the introduction of this beer was the soft water available in Plzeň as well as the large caverns available in the local sandstone.  This set the stage for lager brewing.

Just like today when a new brew is introduced, the brewers of the time feared this new beer would dip into their market share.  So, in response, European brewers started on their own variation of this easy drinking beer.  The more things change, the more they stay the same ....