On Friday Pilsner Urquell will celebrate its 165th anniversary as the first golden beer ever produced.
“Ninety percent of beer drank now is a direct descendant of that type of style,” said Ryan Johnson, U.S. trade brewer for international brands at Miller Brewing. “Back then, as it is today, gold was looked at as being something precious.”
Miller Brewing purchased the Pilsner Urquell brewery, located in the Czech Republic, in 1999. All of the beer is still brewed there, Johnson said.
“There aren’t any recipe modifications at all,” he said. “Three or four times a month, they still brew the beer the exact way they did in 1842, in open casks. We have a whole panel (of tasters) in the Czech Republic that checks to see how perfect the beer is to the original brewing process.”
It was brewmaster Josef Groll who, in 1824, discovered the process of bottom fermenting a beer, which is known as lagering, Johnson said. The golden liquid this method produced stood out against other lagers and ales because it was something people wanted to see. The name, Pilsner Urquell, translates to “pilsner from the original source.”