I visited the brewery to see how Pilsner Urquell is made today, as well as to see some of the equipment and methods that were used in the past. Barrel-fermented, unfiltered pilsner? Don't mind if I do...
'pilsner' on Serious Eats
Firestone Walker's recently released Pivo Hoppy Pils was influenced by Czech and German pilsners, but was actually inspired by a dry-hopped pils from Birrifico Italiano in Northern Italy.
When it's fresh and crisp, served on draft from a well-maintained line, there's not much that can beat a pilsner on a hot day. But imported pilsners are often over the hill by the time they make it here. Trumer's answer: they brew fresh pilsner in Berkeley, following the recipe and using the same base ingredients as the Trumer brewery in Austria, so you can drink it fresh.
Whenever someone refers to themselves as a "beer snob," my imagination takes me to a weird place. I envision a guy in a three-piece suit, monocle firmly wedged in the crinkle of his eye, daintily sipping his beer and complaining loudly about the lack of complexity in XYZ Brewery's new Kölsch. It's an exaggeration, surely, but the hyperbole forces recognition of what it was about snobbery that I so despise: the negativity.
This beer would be right at home with salty meats—try grilled bratwurst or pastrami sandwiches. Have you ever tried an Imperial Pilsner? Is this a style you'd seek out?
In my world, Pilsner is the perfect beer. Poured into a tall, tapered glass and capped with a fluffy inch of white foam, its brilliant golden hue has a way of making me seriously thirsty. It's also a great accompaniment to a wide range of dishes.
Traditionally this medium-bodied style has a rich, grainy malt flavor that is complimented by a spicy and floral hop character. The dry finish should vanish on the tongue and leave you wanting more. Unfortunately, big breweries have changed the pilsner to be a boring and watered down representation of the original classic. But homebrewers can make this delicious lager to show their friends and family what a great, fresh pilsner can taste like.
Brewers have been known to describe pilsners as the hardest style of beer to produce. Good pilsners have clean, light malt flavors like grain and crackers, often backed up by herbal and grassy hops. There are only a few ingredients in most pilsners, and they're outwardly simple beers. This simplicity and minimalism means there's nowhere for a brewer to hide flaws in their method—imperfections are laid bare to taste and smell. That said, I was blown away by the generally high quality of the US-brewed pilsners we tasted for this roundup.
Goan fish curries are built on a piquant paste of fiery chilies, garlic, and the earthy and floral flavors of cumin and coriander. The nutty sweetness of coconut tames the spicy intensity while the tang of tamarind provides a touch of acidity. Luckily, these flavors are even better with the right beer alongside them. So what are the best beers to pair with this dish?