Pilsner Urquell, a Towering Beer



Urquell is on top of the city, Toronto in this case, which is not to suggest it is the best beer in the city, but it is amongst them, certainly.  The rich, bitter-sweet taste, enhanced by a bare two months from packaging (per date code on base), is pretty much unique and also gastronomically very satisfying. There is a typical barley character to it, I recognize it in some other beers, that, matched with the Saaz herbal/flowery taste, is a unique stamp, one I recognize since starting to drink the beer in the 70’s.

We have never gotten it here in better condition, in fact. In James Roberston’s “The Connoisseur’s Guide To Beer”, Caroline House Publishers, 1982, he described it thusly:

“Deep yellow color, huge malty hop aroma [compared to AAL, he meant], heavy body, marvellous malt-hop flavor with an attractive sour dryness, excellent balance between hops and malt. A fine beer, worthy of its reputation”.

True then, true now.


4 thoughts on “Pilsner Urquell, a Towering Beer”

  1. Gary,
    Is this available on draught in Toronto?
    If so, how does it compare?
    Have you ever had it thus?

    • Alan, yes we have the draft and I know it well. It is quite similar to the canned version, so I didn’t mention it.

      In parts of Europe, they get something called tankovna, which is a less processed form of Urquell, I believe unpasteurized. I’ve had it myself in Prague. Local is always best but the distribution of Urquell is very efficient in our market and we get a very good quality. The bottled, including the newly available brown bottle version here, is never bad but the canned and draft are always superior IMO. This is because no light can get in the package.


  2. Don’t forget that Pilsner Urquell has diacetyl. I have a special place in my heart for Pilsner Urquell because of it.

    Diacetyl has such an unfair rap from so many beer snobs, but they run into an iceberg when it comes to Pilsner Urquell — they end up giving it a pass with handwaving statements like “well, it’s appropriate here because that’s the style.”

    There’s a ruinous trend of rote memorization to beer snobbery which leads to this kind of dysfunctional thinking — they’ve been taught to identify diacetyl, they’re taught it’s a fault, and so they no longer can think enjoyment of the whole first and worry about styles and components later, if at all.

    Pilsner Urquell is a fine beer that would never get made if many modern craft brewers had their way, but fortunately its quality means that some craft beer fans have come around to realizing that received wisdom often is nothing more than arbitrary nonsense.

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