“1842” – Year when the Legend was Born

Send by e-mail

“1842” – Year when the Legend was Born

At the beginning of the 19th century, there was still no indication that the town of Pilsen should become world-class icon of the most commonly sold type of beer – bottom-fermented lager. Beer used to be brewed by citizens granted the brewing, or gruit, right, which entitled them to brew beer in their houses.

Beer, until recently prepared by means of top-fermentation, was at that time of unstable quality. Therefore, in 1839, citizens decided to build a new brewery producing good-quality and tasty beer, to be called Citizens’ Brewery (Měšťanský pivovar) and located at the suburbs of Pilsen.

Bavarian Know-How and Czech Ingredients

Young, though experienced brewer from Bavarian town of Vilshofen called Josef Groll was commissioned to brew bottom-fermented beer, type usually made in Bavaria and fairly popular among the Czechs. To produce such beer, he used yeast from Bavaria, barley from Pilsen, hops from Žatec and water from brewery wells, exceptional for its softness. It should be noted that water, among other good-quality ingredients, plays a very important role in the final taste of this lager, a benchmark breweries all around the world strive to achieve.

Bitter-Flavoured Success

The first batch of beer was ready on 5 October 1842. Despite not matching the brewer’s original intentions, the outcome was beyond all expectations: clear highly fermented golden-coloured lager of rich taste. Moreover, it was abundant in bite – mildly bitter flavour left also as aftertaste. Thus, completely new class of Pilsner beer came into existence, its indication of pils, pilsner or pilsener has now been on labels of hundreds of bottom-fermented beers all around the world.

The Reputation Must be Protected

No wonder that the reputation of Pilsner beer became soon widespread; already in the 1870s it was drunk in Vienna, Paris as well as in America. In 1859, the Citizens‘ Brewery registered the trademark Pilsner Beer (Plzeňské pivo). However, with the town of Pilsen itself having seen an upsurge of breweries keen to share the Citizens’s Brewery success, the trademark was changed in 1898 and since that time it has been known as Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj). The Brewery itself houses a Czech Specials Restaurant called Na Spilce, offering savouring potato dumplings stuffed with smoked meat and garnished with famous cabbage registered as křimické zelí.

Subscribe for newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and we will notify you whenever new articles are added