Style Guide – Pilsner

Pilsner Style

The Pilsner style of beer first originated in 1842 in the city of Plzen, Bohemia, Czech Republic, making it one of the youngest styles of beer. It has since gained in popularity and production as more than half of the world beer production is modelled after the pilsner style. Pilsner is a type of pale lager that is traditionally produced using bottom fermenting yeast and cooler, longer fermentation processes. When it was originally produced it incorporated the use of caves during the fermentation process, but modern day pilsners have the luxury of refrigeration. Pilsner is traditionally brewed using soft water, paler malts and the Saaz noble variety of hops. Pilsners are light, clear and with a colour ranging from pale yellow to golden and they typically have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 4.5-5% and have a bitterness (IBU) ranging from 25-45 on the bitterness units scale. Traditional pilsners should be both crisp and bitter with a dry to medium dry finish.

Different Style of Pilsners:

Czech Style Pilsners- Golden, full of colour, high foaming and lighter in flavour.

German Style Pilsners- Light straw to golden in colour, bitter and earthy.

European Style Pilsners- Slightly sweet.


Three Beers, One Style: Pilsner Urquell, Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner and King Pilsner

Three Pilsners

Pilsner Urquell, Plzen, Czech Republic (LCBO #255380, #388900)

Pilsner Urquell translates to Pilsner “from the source” because it is produced in the same Czech town and by the same soft water source since 1842.

Colour: Light straw yellow/ golden.

Smell: Grassy, tomato vine and basil.

Taste: Pear and butter. Very clean and crisp taste start to finish.

ABV: 4.4%

IBU: 40


Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner, Creemore, ON (LCBO #53681)

This is a traditional Czech style pilsner fire-brewed using local spring water. Brewed using traditional methods, but with their own uniqueness to the style this pilsner is complex and refreshing.

Colour: Deep golden.

Smell: Almost odorless, with slight floral notes.

Taste: Cheese and crackers, butter bread, slight grapefruit bitterness/ citrus at the beginning.

ABV: 5.3%

IBU: 26


King Pilsner, Nobleton, ON (LCBO #356063)

This is a traditional Czech style pilsner brewed with imported Bohemian malts, Saaz hops and a traditional Czech strain of yeast. It is a full bodied beer with a refreshing taste.

Colour: Golden, deep straw yellow.

Smell: Grassy sweetness, slight brine.

Taste: Nectar, honey and lime with subtle tongue prickling bitterness and a clean finish.

ABV: 4.8%

IBU: 38


Food Pairings for Pilsners:

  • Grilled German sausages
  • Tomato, feta, basil and red onion salad
  • Fresh, young cheeses such as brie
  • New England lobster bake
  • Chicken wings




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