Pils, a beer named after the city of Pilsen

Anyone who is sitting on a terrace drinking a beer will not easily wonder where that drink comes from and what the golden-yellow stuff with foam head is named after. But like so many things, lager also has a history. Pils was first brewed by Josef Groll in the town of Pilsen from which it owes its name. It is remarkable that a beer brand with the name Grolsch existed well before that time, which was brewed in the Grollsche Brauerei by the father of Josef Groll, but that has nothing to do with the Dutch brewery Grolsch. That Dutch name Grolsch is in fact derived from Grol which is the old name of the Dutch city of Groenlo where the first factory of that beer brand was located.

Low alcoholic drink

Pils belongs to the so-called weak alcoholic drinks, contains approximately 5% alcohol and is also known as pilsener or pilsner. It is a bottom-fermenting beer with a golden yellow color that is best drunk at a temperature of four degrees Celsius. The brewing process uses yeast, hops, malt and water with sometimes addition of sugar and grains such as barley and maize or other cereals or caramel to obtain a darker color.

Beer umbrella name for beer types

There are sometimes misunderstandings about the name lager due to confusion with the name beer. Beer is an umbrella name for many types of beer. One of those types of beer is lager. In addition, there are also other popular types of beer, such as triple and white beer. Beer types are also often named after brand names. When ordering a beer, a beer is usually meant. In all other cases, it must be clearly stated whether it concerns, for example, a tripel or white beer or whether beer is required from a specific brand such as Amstel, Bavaria, Dommelsch, Grolsch, Heineken, etc.

Fermentation ways

There are two ways of fermenting beer: top fermentation and bottom fermentation.

Top fermentation

With top fermentation (also called high fermentation) the yeast floats on top of the wort (sugar-rich aqueous solution). Depending on the type of beer, top fermentation takes place between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Bottom fermentation

In the case of bottom fermentation (also known as low fermentation), the yeast sinks to the bottom of the fermentation tub during the process. This fermentation takes place at lower temperatures than top fermentation and depending on the type of beer between 4 and 12 degrees Celsius.

Named after Pilsen city

Josef Groll was the first brewer of a new brewery in Pilsen that was specially built to improve the quality of the beer. Pilsen is a city of more than 160,000 inhabitants and is located in the west of the Czech Republic. As the capital of the region of the same name, it is the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic. A brewery museum has been located in the city since 1959 as part of the West Bohemian Museum in which the history and production of lager is given a lot of attention.

Died drinking beer

In 1842, Groll succeeded in producing a beer that the population was very satisfied with. But three years later, Groll left the town of Pilsen and took over the Grollsche Brauerei from his father in Vilshofen. Although that brewery no longer exists, there is still talk of Josef Groll Pils that is brewed by another brewery in Vilshofen called Brauerei Wolferstetter. Groll died, at the age of 74, under the fate that this happened at the table of a pub in Vilshofen.

Pils Popularity

In order to achieve the most consistent quality possible, brewing at that time was only possible in places that were cool, such as caves and grooves. Around the third quarter of the nineteenth century, cooling machines became available and it was possible to brew much more controlled. From that time on, the malt could be dried better so that it retained its light color and lager was given a golden yellow color. The popularity of lager then strongly increased compared to the turbid beers of the past. And the popularity of lager is still very high even though many other types of beer are being marketed today.

Video: Pilsner Urquell brewery, Pilsen, Plzeň, Czech Republic, Europe (February 2020).

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