I was fortunate enough to travel in the Czech Republic shortly after its separation from Slovakia and one of the highlights of the trip was touring the underground storage areas for pilsner production in Plzen. These cool, dark tunnels and caves were where, for the past 150 years, pilsner was stored while bottom-fermenting yeasts worked their magic. It was an exotic and exciting experience and I’ve been a fan of pilsners’ light, hoppy, slightly bitter flavors ever since. Here are a few you should explore if you’re in the market for a light beer heading into spring.
Czechvar Pilsner: Czechvar is produced as “Budweiser Budvar” in the Czech Republic. You can imagine why it’s repackaged for export to the U.S. Czechvar, more grassy and grainy than Wolter’s and less hoppy than Trumer Pils, is solidly in the middle. It’s very light and refreshing and has a zesty lemon quality that is reminiscent of a good Hefeweizen.
Wolters Pilsener: Wolters is a German-style pilsner that is very mild and laid back. Lacking the distinctiveness of Czechvar or the strong hops notes of Trumer, it is a very good session beer that doesn’t exhaust the palate or the stomach. As mentioned, Wolters has grass and grain notes and is a touch maltier than the other two here.
Trumer Pils: Trumer is another German-style pilsner that brings on the hops and, with them, more bitter and aromatic qualities than Wolters or Czechvar. Trumer has a very light body with strong carbonation. This makes it more suited to warmer days when there are snacks lingering nearby. It’s very crisp, a touch dry and is a great expression of how a pilsner should be drinkable while remaining interesting. – GS