TBP Presents: A closer look at Pilsner Urquell w/ Senior Trade Brewmaster Václav Berka

As an avid craft beer drinker and homebrewer one beer style that to me transcends the entirety of commercial beer’s history and evolution is the pilsner. A beer style that on its most basic level is defined as a crisp light gold lager from the town of Plzeň (Pilsen). However, over the past century the authentic or should I say true identity and flavor profile of a “pilsner” has been clouded by mass produced adjunct lagers that have flooded beer markets worldwide and who call themselves “pilsners.” So while homebrewers and craft brewers have begun to reintroduce authentic and good tasting pilsners to the masses; one beer and its brewery have in recent years begun a mission to spread the word about the true history of the pilsner, how their original and widely available pilsner should be served, and the dedication of its brewers to keeping their brewery’s traditions alive. This beer is Pilsner Urquell, the original pilsner, whose current Senior Trade Brewmaster Václav Berka has in recent years been traveling all over the world training bar staff how to serve and care for his beer in a way that displays its complete flavor profile and rich long history.

IMG_4486On April 28th I received an email from Danielle Nash (Pilsner Urquell PR) stating that Václav Berka would be in New York City in May and asked if I’d be interested interviewing him on the 10th. Having brewed a couple pilsners myself and enjoyed and respected Pilsner Urquell for quite some time I gladly accepted the opportunity…So after some back and forth emailing we decided to film the interview at Radegast Hall & Biergarten (Brooklyn) at 6:30PM.

As mentioned above Václav has been training bar staff about the correct and authentic ways to pour Pilsner Urquell. So for this The Brewed Palate special I’ve split my video footage into two videos, my formal interview of Václav and then him showing me three ways to pour the beer with the help of Trade Quality Manager Bryan Panzica (Part Two).

Topics Discussed:

  • Václav’s history at Pilsner Urquell and explanation of his current mission.
  • History of Pilsner Urquell, its ingredients, and unchanged brewing and fermentation processes.
  • Homebrewing Tip: Pilsner Urquell is triple decocted.
  • History of the pilsner beer style, Pilsner Urquell’s “role” in the US and worldwide beer markets.
  • How Pilsner Urquell’s brewers continue to ensure that they’re always staying true to its heritage (history) through making sure that each batch tastes the same as it has for many years both at the brewery in Plzeň and at bars (accounts) worldwide.

Part Two: Coming later this week…



About Barry W

Israel (formerly NJ) based sourdough baker and fermentation enthusiasts sharing his baking, fermenting, cooking, and brewing adventures on thebrewedpalate.com.
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