Friday, February 26, 2010

The One and Only Original: Pilsner Urquell

The Czech Republic for centuries has been one of the world's greatest brewing nations. The Czechs gave the world its first golden colored beer, and that beer is called pilsner. It had to start somewhere and with one beer. That beer is Pilsner Urquell, the Original Pilsner Beer. This golden lager in one form or another, has become the world's most popular beer style. I've had scores of examples, including some real Czech beauties such as Budweiser Budvar(Czechvar), Kozel, Crystal, and Starbrno to name just a few. But Pilsner Urquell, the original, has always been my favorite. This beer is so delicious and drinkable, with a flowery/herbal hop aroma, a soft and crisp malty body, and a wonderfully dry and grassy hop bite.

Pilsner Urquell pours to a beautiful bright, brilliant golden color with a thick, creamy white head, and a moderate amount of carbonation. The nose on this beer is very fragrant with flowery/herbal hop aromas coming from the classic Czech hop variety, Saaz. The palate on this beer is soft, with lots of good crisp pilsner malt flavors, and just a touch of diacetal, which makes the mouth feel slightly buttery. The body is so round and clean on this beer, making it so, so drinkable. Pilnser Urquell finishes with more of that good malt flavor up front, then ends with a dry, grassy, balancing hop bitterness that slightly lingers.

This is a world class brew, and in my opinion still the bench mark example of Czech pilsner. It is a wonderful beer to drink on draught at a good beer bar, or to match with a variety of dishes, working very well with fish and chicken. Urquell enjoys wide distribution in the US, and for the most part can befound with great ease in a number of bars, restaurants, liquor stores and supermarkets. The only caveat about this beer is that it is marketed in green bottles. Green glass does a horrible job of protecting beer from light, and if exposed too long, the beer will get a skunky smell and flavor. So, try to make sure the bottles of Urquell you purchase are fresh. You won't have this problem with draught Urquell, and that is why I usually drink this one on draught at one of my good beer bars. Bottled or on draught, Urquell is one beer you should seek out and enjoy. For more information visit the brewery's site at:

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