Secrets and history of the production of Pilsner Urquell
4.5.2017 | seolight
The Beginnings of Beer Production
Beer used to be produced in almost every house in Pilsen. To get a permit to sell it, the people needed to bring a sample to the town hall where it would be tasted and tested. The beer would be spilled on a wooden desk which was neither impregnated nor lacquered. Someone wearing leather pants would sit on the beer and if the pants stuck to it, the beer was considered to be of good quality and so its maker was allowed to sell it to the townspeople. If the beer was not found to be of a high standard, it was only allowed to be sold outside the city. To let the locals know that the house was selling beer, a green wreath made from fir branches was hung on the door. If the house ran out of its supplies, it would hang a dried-up wreath.
HOW BEER WAS MADE BEFORE
Beer used to be made with a top fermentation method. That meant that the beer was boiled, then it was cooled down to 20-25°C and yeast were added to the top. Because of this technique it went bad soon. At the beginning of the 19th century the overall quality of beer decreased significantly and in 1838 thirty-six barrels of beer were spilled in front of the town hall because it was fermenting too quickly. The brewmasters decided that change was necessary and so they met to discuss the future together. They agreed that instead of making numerous beer types at home they would create one.
THE AGREEMENT OF THE 289 BREWERS IN 1839
Their decision was to make a unified recipe and to build a brewery where it would be made. The builder they have chosen, Martin Salvert, travelled to Bavaria where there were breweries and where he met Josef Groll, a brewer with whom they wanted to create the recipe. They invited Groll but his son arrived instead. His experience was unknown and so the result was uncertain. He experimented with brewing and finally tried to boil the beer, then cool it down and add yeast for bottom fermentation, which turned out to be a functioning method.
THE NEW RECIPE
On the 5th of October they succeeded in making the bitter beer which tasted well and lasted for a longer time, just like they wanted. After trying it they agreed that this is the beer they would make, and thus they created the formula which is still being used today, even though it is fairly expensive. This was just before the celebrations of Saint Martin which took place on the 11th of November that year. To celebrate the event there were markets where the brewers let the locals taste the beer. The people were amazed and so it was decided to be made under the brand of Pilsner Urquell.
THE BREWER’S SON
After some time the young brewer was fired because of his attitude towards the other workers. He returned to Bavaria where he attempted to make a similar beer but it turned out to be impossible. The Pilsen beer is special not only in its recipe but also in the ingredients which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. This mainly concerns the bitter hop from Žatec which is also referred to as the green gold, the high-quality malt and last but not least the water from the Pilsen wells which has a huge effect on the results too. 50 years later the brewery was already run in three shifts and a jubilee gate was built, as well as a waterworks tower. The Czech beer from Pilsen was being presented at various expositions all throughout the world.
FINDING THE BEST PILSNER URQUELL BEER
The best Pilsner Urquell beer can only be found at a few locations since it does not last very long. You can drink it exclusively in the brewery in Pilsen in its restaurant called “Spilka”. There are also three restaurants in Prague to which it is directly imported. As the technology advanced, it led to the creation of tank beer which keeps the authentic flavor and is available at more places. The taste is also affected by the number of people visiting the restaurant – the bigger the amount of the beer tapped, the better the quality. To find the best beer, look for a restaurant full of people. They are often hard to get into, especially if you are coming in a group, so you should definitely make a reservation in advance. We hope you enjoy it!
Author: Tereza Zoumpalova Photo: R. Klochuryak
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