Overall Score: 90.00, A- Reviewed 11/04/2011.
For my first review here I’ll be tasting Pilsner Urquell. I realize I’m probably committing beer blog suicide by reviewing something other than a double IPA or barrel aged imperial stout for my first review, but this is what’s in my fridge. Besides, Wikipedia describes it as “more strongly hopped than most pilsner beers”, so it’s gotta be good, right? Anyway, it’s only appropriate that my first review here is one of the more historical beers in the world. As the first ever pilsner beer (first brewed by Josef Groll in 1842) and one of the first bottom-fermented beers, it’s certainly got an interesting backstory. And did you know Urquell means “original source” in German? So, translated literally, Pilsner Urquell means “from the original source, Pilsen”. Alas, it seems the beer is not what it used to be, as recent changes in the brewing process (now fermented in steel vessels instead of oak) and a change in brewing situs and management (now brewed in Poland and owned by SABMiller) have created a new beer that many say is only a shadow of the great original pilsner. Interestingly, it also seems to have spawned from a bit of civil unrest (over a bad batch of beer!). We can only hope that something so useful comes from the recent Occupy Wall Street protests!
Well, time to crack it open…
Iconic green bottle with spiffy labels proudly announcing its birth-year of 1842 and the title “The Original Pilsner”. Back of the bottle has a cool little embossing of the arched entrance to the brewery and a best-by date of February 24, 2012. Pours a sparkling bright gold with an impressive puffy white head that slowly fizzles away.
The aroma is a blast of spicy floral hops with a bit of musty yeast and slight graininess. Nice overall, but I admit there’s a hint of skunkiness sneaking in, probably because of the green bottle. The taste favors the sweet grainy malt, although the hops provide a nice spicy zing and a bitterness that is quite apparent as well. As smooth, crisp, and refreshing of a beer as you will ever find, this is the perfect beer to help pull your BMC drinking buddies’ heads out of the sand, and at 4.4% ABV it’s also perfect for knocking back a few on a hot summer day. The green bottle always worries me though, and I would love to taste a fresh one of these in a café in Prague.
Overall, I’ve always enjoyed this beer and still do. I feel like it’s probably not doing it justice to drink it from a green bottle after being transported halfway around the world, and it’s a shame that it apparently has lost some of its luster due to recent changes, but it’s still a very good beer. Plus, I really learned a lot researching it prior to drinking.
Looks: 10/10 Smell: 8.5/10 Taste: 9/10 All-Around: 9/10