Staropilsen - Staropilsen Lager
- ABV: 4.7%
- Serving Temperature: 42-47° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pilsner Glass
Pouring a crystal-clear, rich golden color, topped by a big, billowing head of bright white foam, Staropilsen certainly looks like what we expect from an authentic Czech pils. Notice how the color is a shade deeper than many German pilsners – this is also a characteristic of the classic Czech version of the style. On the nose, this brew delivers a clean, lightly spicy and earthy hop aroma which overlays a noticeable malt character of crackers, mild bread, and light caramel. When you drink it, reflect on the prominence of the Saaz hops, which offer considerable bite and brightness with their spicy, earthy, and grassy tones. Look for the malts to deliver a lightly caramelized, bready core bolstered by a hint of graham cracker and a touch of sweetness to offer a counterpoint to the hops – all while delivering a light-feeling body that's easy to drink. An extremely food-friendly beer, we recommend it with shellfish dishes, spicy chicken, or pizza – we prefer pepperoni and spicy Italian sausage. Cheers!
When people think of pilsner beer, they often think of Germany – and why not? German pilsners have made an indelible mark on the world of beer. Who hasn't had a Beck's, St. Pauli Girl, or perhaps a Warsteiner at some point in their lives? But what many casual beer drinkers may not be aware of is that pilsner didn't originate in Germany. Instead, this style of beer, which has gone on to become the most popular in the world and has given rise to myriad cheap imposters based heavily on rice and/or corn (Budweiser, Miller, Coors – we're looking at you), was actually born in what is now the Czech Republic, although with a little German help.
To a modern mind, the classic image of beer is pale golden, crystal clear, and topped with bright white foam. But, until relatively recently in the history of beer (which dates back thousands of years), beer was considerably darker, owing to the roasted barley malt used in its production. The pilsner revolution came about when the Czechs hired Bavarian brewer Josef Groll to come to the historic brewing town of Pilsen (or "Plzeň" in Czech) to introduce lager brewing technology.
The Germans were pioneers in the lager technique, whereby beer is brewed with "bottom-fermenting" yeast instead of typical "top-fermenting" ale yeast, and then "lagered," or kept in cold storage to condition prior to being released for sale. When Groll came to Pilsen, he set about making a lager beer brewed with only very lightly roasted malts and featuring an aromatic dose of indigenous Czech Saaz hops. While some pale-ish beers had begun being brewed in Bavaria in the years immediately prior, this bright golden brew with a crisp hoppy note was unique – and it was a sensation. The result, enjoyed for the first time in 1842, became known as Pilsner (or Pilsener), after the town of its birth.
Staropilsen, based in Plzeň, Czech Republic, continues this town's brewing tradition, producing authentic Czech (a.k.a. Bohemian) Pilsner. In addition to their classic Staropilsen brand, they also produce a variety of recipes under the Král, Bruncvík, Česká Koruna, and Zlatá Praha labels. All beers feature locally grown and malted barley, locally grown and harvested Saaz hops, and the incredibly soft water that is a hallmark of the classic lagers of central and eastern Europe.
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