The History of Pilsner

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Here’s what you may not know about the revolutionary Pilsner


Pilsner is a type of pale lager. Yet to describe this libation as such is to undermine it. It’s like saying a job defines you, or a sport is just a game; it only scratches the surface and fails to shine a light that conjures the sort of divine inspiration that changes how we view not only ourselves but the world. My fellow beer friends, nerds, geeks and goons - for those of you unacquainted with the history of the pilsner or for those looking for a light hearted refresher, read on, I promise you’ll find it worth your while.

Pilsner beer derives its name from a Bohemian City called Plzeň located in modern day Czech Republic. At the time of its inception in 1842 it was under the control of the Austrian Empire.

In 1307, Plzen formed its first brewery and not long afterward, realized its first strides toward commercial brewing. With the aid of subsequently formed guilds, the brewing industry strengthened, and the economic and artistic importance of brewing became ensconced in Bohemian culture. King Wenceslas II was so instrumental in maintaining and furthering the art of brewing that he was honored as the patron saint of brewing by the Bohemian guild (

The brewery that crafted the pilsner is known today as Pilsner Urquell and their quest to create this delicious brew is not without its intrigue. Buoyed by the marvelous Germanic art of brewing they hired Josef Groll, a Bavarian brewer well versed in the German lagering method.

The legends vary but they suggest that a bottom-fermenting Bavarian yeast was smuggled out of Bavaria and into the town of Plzen. One legend suggests it was a Monk who did the dastardly deed in 1840, another (more likely tale) suggests it was Josef himself. In any event, nothing ventured and nothing gained as the end result was something the world had never seen.

Using light barley that was only partially malted and none of the roasted or smoked barley that the German brewers were using, Groll added generous portions of the fragrant Saaz hops to his brew. On October 5, 1842, he and the other brewers of Plzen gathered for their first taste of the new beer (

The brew they created was of a clear pale gold color, far lighter and more refreshing then any contemporary at the time.
Notice was served to brewers across the globe as the seed of competition was planted; and a bit of fear along with it. Local brewers across Europe did not want pilsner overtaking their own offerings so they vigilantly worked to combat this glorious beer with tantalizingly tasty variations of their own.

To this day Pilsners remain one of the most popular and oft consumed styles of beer throughout the globe. The pilsner is, in my opinion, is ideal of outdoors drinking on a hot summer day. Typically light, crisp and refreshing a well-made pilsner will never disappoint.


Upcoming Events

Heartland Brewery – Thursday June 15th – Heartland is releasing 4 new Brews! a Pilsner, a Helles, a Heffeweizen and an IPA. Our podcast will finally be of legal drinking age as we will be recording Episode number 21! We can’t wait for what will surely be a very dope show.

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The Brewer’s Collective – Saturday July 29th

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Thirsty for a pilsner? Make sure you have the proper glassware! Grab the Libbey Giant Pub Pilsner Glasses (Set of 6), 22-1/2 oz, and upgrade your glassware today!




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