Monday, 6 June 2016

The fall and rise of Pilsner Urquell

Back when I were a fresh faced young beer bore I naturally had an antipathy to lager. But, there was one lager that I liked: Pilsner Urquell. It's a well hopped beer, and I remember a touch of honey in the taste. The latter was probably from diacetyl, but what the hell, I don't mind a bit of that.

As the Czechs went from suffering under state capitalism to suffering under market capitalism things started to change. The brewery was privatised, lagering time was cut, the wooden fermenters were replaced with stainless steel,  and it was taken over by a multinational. They even started brewing the beer in Poland.

Whatever you think about the chanages there was a very important one as far as I was concerned: it didn't taste as good. As I was now down to no lagers that I liked I spent a number of blissfully lager free years. But since then endless aeons wheeled and passed. Time and the pure essences of Heaven and the moisture of Earth, the powers of the sun and the moon all worked upon a certain beer, old as creation. Or something like that. Anyway, someone at SAB Miller seems to have realised they had in their portfolio possibly the worlds second most iconic beer* and went about re-premiumising it.

Most production returned to Pilsen, and some serious sucking up to beer bloggers went on. The chance to drink the beer unpasteurised from a cask caused a lot of excitement. But I can well understand that, unpasteurised cask beer is after all such a rarity in Britain.

Anyway, I'm starting to get a taste for Czech lager so I thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about, and if inded Pilsner Urquell had returned to the ranks of righteousness. So I bought a bottle.


And do you know what, it's not bad. Not as good as when I were a lad of course, but a pleasant drop, plenty of bitterness and definitely diacetyl. Now in a brown bottle too which is nice. If the weather stays sunny I might even be tempted to buy some more.
   









* After Ind Coope Burton Ale of course.

16 comments:

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  4. Will you cunts from LA hire a bartender fuck off and stop spamming my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Serves you right for selling out and promoting a drink from the devils own tail pipe. Diacetyl is not a virtue, never has been.

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    1. You're right I have strayed from the path of righteousness and clearly the spam is god's punishment. I'd better repent and say a few Hail Protzes before Westboro Baptist CAMRA branch start picketing my blog. I still don't mind a bit of diacetyl though.

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  6. I see the prohibition among some drinkers against diacetyl as a funny remnant of earlier days of Thou Shalt Nots when beer was trying to establish itself as a Serious Endeavor as worthy as wine. It smacks of the indignation of the Very Serious Tasters who were taught that a proper Bolognese must never have ingredient X or served with pasta Y, and to this day struggle with cognitive dissonance when travelling to Italy or reading old cookbooks and find that true Italians never followed those rules.

    Also funny is the openness of such people to the far more agressive, unusual flavors of soured and Brett inhabited beer or bourbon barrel aged beer, or whatever. It's perfectly fair for someone to dislike diacetyl or Brett or the color yellow, but it's worthwhile for people to just relax and accept that reasonable people disagree.

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    1. Though some very eminent people say diacetyl has no place in beer I think that's a totally untenable position. Not only do some ales taste better with a touch of diactyl, the original pilsner clearly has a discerible diacetyl levels.

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  7. Well if you wanna go full Amish how about thou shalt not put your beer in the refrigerator, who likes cold beverages anyway. And dont be making it fizzy either.

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    1. I've never got round to it but I have thought about getting a beer fridge I could keep at cellar temperature. And obviously the good lord, bringing beer to perfection in its cask form, only wanted beer to have gentle carbonation and frowns upon fizziness.

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  8. It smacks of the indignation of the Very Serious Tasters who were taught that a proper Bolognese must never have ingredient X or served with pasta Y, I liked your blog, Take the time to visit the me and say that the change in design and meniu?

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  9. Just out of interest, Ed, have you ever been to Plzen and tried the stuff straight out of the cask? If not, I very highly recommend going there. You can get the good stuff in two ways: go on the brewery tour, which gets you a small one served straight out of a cask (but for the love of Christ remember to bring a glass with you; beer that good being served in a plastic cup is an abomination); the better way is to go to Pivovarský šenk Na Parkánu, which is the only place in the world that always sells unfiltered unpasturised Pilsner Urquell. I cannot recommend it too highly!

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  10. Just out of interest, Ed, have you ever been to Plzen and tried the stuff straight out of the cask? If not, I very highly recommend going there. You can get the good stuff in two ways: go on the brewery tour, which gets you a small one served straight out of a cask (but for the love of Christ remember to bring a glass with you; beer that good being served in a plastic cup is an abomination); the better way is to go to Pivovarský šenk Na Parkánu, which is the only place in the world that always sells unfiltered unpasturised Pilsner Urquell. I cannot recommend it too highly!

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    Replies
    1. No, but I'm planning to organise a trip to the Czech republic for the Brewery History Society so thanks for the tip!

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  11. Unfiltered unpasturised diacetyl, eeeks, make mine a pint. Or save yourselff an air fair ive got 60 litres of diacetyl ladden devils piss that i made by mistake...note I admit my mistakes

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    1. Even if the PU does turn out to be pants the Czech republic is a lovely place and I'm sure we can find some decent beer there. Únětický springs to mind.

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