I have learned what distinguishes many different styles of beer: lagers, ales, stouts, porters, pale ales, India pale ales, etc. But for some reason, the pilsner has escaped me. Perhaps other people are as puzzled as I am. Well, this afternoon I aim to find out what it is!
Before research (you have to trust me, I haven’t looked it up yet): My first impressions upon having a pilsner are that it is an awful lot like a lager. They have a similar light golden color, similar body, and similar taste. However, the pilsner seems a little hoppier. That’s probably why I’ve enjoyed the Victory pilsners more than the Victory lagers that I have had in my fridge recently. I’ve read in descriptions on various pilsner bottles that they use German hops in pilsners. Maybe that’s all it is.
After research: Yep, that’s all it is. A pilsner is an especially hoppy lager that originated in Bohemia. Oh…
According to wikipedia (which is always correct, I know), pilsners were first developed in Pilsen, Bohemia (which is now the Czech Republic) in the 1840s. Pilsner Urquell is a example of one of the original Czech pilsners. Czech pilsners tend to have a lighter flavor, while German pilsners tend to be more bitter.
Alright, here’s your homework. Get three beers, Pilsner Urquell (Czech pilsner), Beck’s (German pilsner), and any lager (Miller, PBR, whatever). Compare the taste and see if you can tell a difference. Let me know how it goes.