You think the Germans and Irish drink a lot? Well they’re both still standing in line at the bar behind the Czechs – who lead the world in per-capita beer consumption (attention: Liver Surgeon Entrepreneurs!). And don’t hold this against them, but Bohemia is also the region credited with inspiring Adolphus Busch to launch Budweiser in the USA. You can read more on that story from our friends at Tastings.com
This is a zippy, pale lager which originated in the Czech city of Pilsen, Bohemia – therefore, this style is often referred to as a “Bohemian Lager” as well. This was one of the first “lawnmower beers”… originated way back in the day, when your lawnmower was your herd of sheep. If you really need a formal history lesson, check out the Wiki on the overall Pilsener style: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilsner
This style should pour clean and clear, with a light yellow color – but don’t you dare call this one a “fizzy yellow beer” and lump it in with your case of Miller Lite… no rice or corn meal in these puppies. It should be slightly less bitter than the German Pilsener, but much of the same zesty, well-carbonated, and refreshing Saaz-style hop bitterness.
Below is the Gateway Beers profile of the typical characteristics you can expect to find in a Czech Pilsener (on a 1-5 bar scale):
This style is not only fantastic on its own, but it’s a great palate cleanser for all kinds of spicy and challenging foods that wine simply does not play well with. It’s assertive enough to stand up to spicy meats and sauces, and its tangy hoppiness also goes well with the sharp, peppery bite of specialty mixed salad greens. For cheese, we’d recommend sharp cheddar or pepper-infused cheeses. For an appetizer, choose biscuits with citrus marmalade, spicy shrimp, or Thai spring rolls. The Czech Pilsener is also a great partner with most curried Indian food, and fish tacos … the list could go on all night – so have some culinary fun with this style!
This beer is well served relatively cold (but not “Super Cold” like frosted Cold Coors Light … that stuff is just Iced Out Like a Freezer), and fits nicely into a couple styles of glassware – most notably, the tall thin Pilsener glass, or the slender cylindrical Stange glass…
Czech These Out
There are around 15 varieties of Czech Pilsener that you can find here in Southeastern PA… with the following three being both well-rated, and pretty readily available across your better bottle shops and distributors in the area:
Plzensky Prazdroj – Pilsener Urquell, 4.4% ABV (Plzen, Czech Republic)
Oskar Blues – Mama’s Little Yella Pils, 5.3% ABV (Lyons, CO)
Sierra Nevada – Summerfest Lager, 5% ABV (Chico, CA)
For additional options (like Sam Adams Noble Pils, which is available only in the Winter-to-Spring timeframe), check out our Czech Pilsener page on our Beer Selector … and leave a Comment below to let us know what you think about the style!