Friday, October 5, 2007

Happy 165th Pilsner Beer

On this day in 1842 the first Pilsner, which is the basis more nearly all macro brewed American beer today, was produced in the city of Pilsen, Bohemia (now called Plzeň in the Czech Republic) by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll. Back in the late 1830's, citizens of Pilsen were consuming top-fermented Oberhefenbier however they became unsatisfied with it's dark and cloudy texture and continued low quality and varied taste. They even went as far as to empty several casks in the streets of the city to publicly show their distaste for their current brew.

The citizens finally had enough and went forward with a plan to build a new bottom-fermentation brewery and hire Groll, a Bavarian brewer [who were considered the masters of their trade], to produce a higher quality beer know as the Bavarian beer, which had an excellent reputation. Josef Groll's father owned a brewery in Vilshofen in Lower Bavaria and had long experimented with new recipes for bottom-fermented beer. Groll produced the first batch of his Urquell beer, which was characterized by the use of soft Bohemian water, very pale malt, and Saaz hops and was first served in the public houses Zum Goldenen Anker, Zur weißen Rose and Hanes on 11 November 1842 to great local praise. Groll continued to produce beer in the Bürgerliches Brauhaus until April 30, 1845.

Groll returned to Vilshofen and later inherited his father's brewery. Josef Groll died on October 22, 1887 at the age of 74. The long time brewer died doing the thing he loved - sitting at the regulars' table of the public house Wolferstetter Keller in Vilshofen, drinking beer. So today let's lift a pint of Pilsner and that cheers and thank you to Josef Groll.

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