I remember visiting the town of Pilsen, or Plzen, in the Czech Republic about 20 years ago. My sister and brother-in-law had taken me to Prague and we drove through on our way back to their home in Germany. There wasn’t time to tour the beer museum there, but there was time to have a cool, refreshing stein of Pilsner Urquell.
This is the beer that is the standard of all pilsners, and it’s a beauty.
Pour it into a tall, thin glass and enjoy the luscious yellow color that suggests straw in the summer. The head builds but settles so quickly it’s fairly negligible.
The nose is filled with yeast with some grassy, floral hops underneath.
Your first sip is filled with malt and yeast. It’s only on a second sip that you get a hint of sweetness —lemon and honey, maybe — as well as bitter hops and a touch of straw to match the color. The finish is clean and slightly bitter, drawing you back for more.
It’s not terribly complicated. It’s more about pure liquid refreshment. And in that, Pilsner Urquell delivers.
It also goods great with food. At the Lion and Rose, think fried for some fun match-ups. Try Chips and Petals (fried potato coins and onions), Limerick Fries (fried green beans) or Bloke’s Mushrooms. The Fish, Feather and Shell (fried fish, chicken strip and shrimp) would work just fine, but so would a pairing with a salad or even Parmesan-crusted Tilapia. Just forget about the dessert; it’s a little too bitter for sweets.