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Pilsner Urquell tour: the men who invented lager | The Craft Beer Channel

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Jonny and the Brad head to the Czech Republic to visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Not only didn't Pilsner Urquell invent modern lager, but fresh from a tank it's still one of the best lagers in the world. We find out how it's made and what goes in, and get lost in a cellar. * DISCLAIMER: Pilsner Urquell paid for our trip up as well as hotels but they also took us to lots of other cool breweries.
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Text Comments (80)
Varian 1 (4 months ago)
PLEASE BUY A WIRELESS MIC, something like a rode VideoMic Pro. The horrible audio makes your videos almost unwatchable. I like your channel and the material, but its nearly impossible to actually listen when you're in a giant echoing room. For someone who has minor hearing impairment like me, it would make a huge difference. Cheers guys.
The Craft Beer Channel (4 months ago)
Hi there. So we shot this 4 years ago and actually had that exact microphone. Shooting in these noisy, huge places is very hard. These days we use rode lapel mics so hopefully the later vids are better for you!
George Morley (5 months ago)
I've just started noticing that they are selling it in stubby tins over here in the UK and I am happy with that!
The Craft Beer Channel (5 months ago)
Are they?! What kinda shops? Supermarkets?
Joe ENGLAND (8 months ago)
awesome show.
ondra svoboda (10 months ago)
Czech-out lol
Trespasser (1 year ago)
Manni Schmidt (1 year ago)
What is Czech in "Pilsner Urquell"? Pilsner: German for "from Pilsen", using German spelling of town name. Urquell: German for "ancient or original spring". (Reminder: Germans were ethnically cleansed from Czechoslovakia in 1945).
Martin Stanek (2 months ago)
Also, Herr Schmidt ... What is Czech about Pilsner Urquell? Well, just about everything. It's made out of Czech water, Czech hop and Czech malt in Czech city Plzeň which has been claimed a city by a Czech King with very non German name Václav II Přemysl and this place used to be known even 300 years before that as the place where another Czech King with very non-german name Boleslav II Přemysl won the battle against a German King Otto II (yeah, seems that the tradition of fuck-up with the neighbours is a German's national sport for centuries now - and still not funny btw). It is made by Czech people which were always majority in the city since it's veeeery long existence. It's made in brewery founded and invested by proud Czech citizens of the city. Yes, the product has German name, as it comes from the ages when (as couple times in history) Germans tried hard to vanish Czech identity (sorry bro, didn't happen ...). And yes, the first brewer-master was German, nobody denies that, he was hired for that job and did very well – thanks. I know that in the Germany, you have a bit alternative history perception - so I'm not surprised that You are not aware of the fact that Germans were loudly and promptly asked to leave the country since they kind of managed to kill the 300 000 Czech people! Three-hundred-bloody-thousands! I guess, they'd prefer to be asked to leave instead of being murdered. So, that - I hope - roughly answers the question.
J0J0McM0M0 (3 months ago)
George Morley it's not though...you could argue it's both german and czech. but claiming it's solely czech is wrong. go read up the history of pilsner urquell (the name is german fyi) - Plzeňský Prazdroj is the czech translation. the brewery was founded by a german.
George Morley (5 months ago)
It's Czech because it's brewed in the Czech Republic and always has been. The English call the Czech town Plzen "Pilsen", as well as the Germans, but English people aren't claiming this beer as being English. That's because it isn't English and it isn't German - it's Czech. Hence Pilsener lager. Pale lagers were first brewed in Germany, and these were based upon pale ale which the English invented, but this style of lager is Czech in origin. There's no doubt about it.
Jindřich Šrámek (7 months ago)
and i think its still a bad thing, because we czechs still share a hundreds years of common history and good relations with germans since the first germanic and slavic tribes where we coexisted in peace
Jindřich Šrámek (7 months ago)
Manni Schmidt as a czech, im really sorry for that ethnical cleansing of german people, but you must consider fact, that these events took a place after ww2 ending where everyone was quite pissed at germans, because they were pro german occupation of czechoslovakia and wanted to do ethnical cleansing of slavic people in central and eastern europe as well. Our ethnical cleansing was at least made in way that we expelled germans from czechoslovakia back to germany and not gasing them in a camps lol.
Wessel R (1 year ago)
There are still things they don,t show tourists i think! Its always the feeling that things aren't romantic as they seem on a brewery nowadays...looks like pilsner urquell is also brewed in a lot of other places in czech republic...it was a pitty that we dont get a change to watch in the copper kettles..exactly we not even saw any beer in progress. but besides that.....i's a great Beer!!
I believe it is all still brewed on the one site. If not, they have a lot of lawsuits coming their way! We saw fermentation going on (it's in the video) but no brewing. Either way I think that points to it being made here still. Would have loved to see the "open flames" under the kettles - there may be an embellishment there perhaps.
tatuira93 (1 year ago)
I was drooling just by looking at the lacing on that plastic cup at the end.
+tatuira93 sign of a well made beer!
Squire Muldoon (1 year ago)
There is no way that the same Pilsner Urquell i see in every shelf here in the US is made the same place shown here (copper kettle, oak barrels) , Im sure the one made for export is contract brewed by robots in a factory somewhere else. The only way to try the real thing is to go to the actual brewery.
Is that right?! I'm not sure it can be. I know for a fact that De Dolle export there but don't pasteurise. Same for Cantillon and all the lambics. In fact pretty much all Belgian beers! Unless they break the rules, which is also perfectly likely knowing the Belgians.
chris kennedy (1 year ago)
unfortunately they have the pasteurize it because its illegal to import unpasteurized beer into the US.
+Christian Guerrero I know it can feel like that but they take great pride in saying it's all made there. And that's one hell of a sword to fall on. I believe it is but the issue is it is nowhere near the beer it is in tank once in bottle. And one pasteurised. For me this is one of the best beers in the world when fresh and unpasteurised. In bottle and can it is ruined. So long live their tank beer!
Ralph Rodriguez (1 year ago)
Thanks for making this video. I just picked up a six pack of Urquell, and it makes me excited to crack the first bottle open. Great video.
+Ralph Rodriguez bottle is decent but the tank stuff is the true liquid gold.
z43 (1 year ago)
if i'm nit wrong Caracole still use fire instead of electricity
otto Vonostrovo (2 years ago)
Invented by a Bavarian of course! The Pilsen brewery recruited a Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (1813–1887) who, using new techniques and paler malts, presented his first batch of pilsner on 5 October 1842. The combination of a light roasted malt and Pilsen's remarkably soft water, local Saaz noble hops from nearby Žatec and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer. Groll returned to Vilshofen three years later in 1845 and inherited his father's brewery. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilsner_Urquell_Brewery#Pilsner_Fest)
Jan Kubát (1 year ago)
Yet Budweiser (the real Budweiser from Budějovice) style lager beer was brewed like this for much longer, and traditional 4 ingredient beer has been brewed in Czech republic long time before (for example in world's oldest brewery in Břevnov monastery) Germans had to imply Purity laws, since their beer was awful. So it's not like Czech beer wouldn't exist without Germans (it actually existed long time before Germens even started brewing it with history reaching as far as 6th century, with arrival of Slavic tribes in Bohemia).
otto Vonostrovo (2 years ago)
Do they still do a triple decoction?
The Craft Beer Channel (2 years ago)
I believe so.
S. Hutchens (2 years ago)
I SWEAR I hear the dulcet tones of Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting's voice in the background at 7:06!!
The Craft Beer Channel (2 years ago)
S. Hutchens you probably do. He visited at the same time!
cowboy0212 (2 years ago)
Sippin' a cold one right now!
QuantumMan12 (2 years ago)
I've been there as well. It's amazing how complex and interesting the beer is drinking it straight from their wooden tank in the dank cave. Even drinking a can of Pilsner Urquell in Plzen, the taste is so much more mundane. It's crazy
The Craft Beer Channel (2 years ago)
QuantumMan12 yeah they say there shouldn't be a difference but there definitely is! Of course freshness and context plays a role but it is more complex and somehow lighter to.
ruto (3 years ago)
as alan partridge might say, the best czech pilsner brewing facility is like the best intercourse - humbling and sweaty. read good things about co-op's czech offering but it seemed watery and tasteless compared to urquell
The Craft Beer Channel (3 years ago)
+ruto so many lagers do! Though from he bottle PU is only a shadow of it's barrel or tank version.
The Craft Beer Channel (3 years ago)
+ruto so many lagers do! Though from he bottle PU is only a shadow of it's barrel or tank version.
James D. Wheeler (3 years ago)
Its always been my favorite Pils! Great job guys! Im glad I subscribed!
The Full Mug (3 years ago)
Huge coincidence! I was just drinking / filming that beer review. Anyway, in the bottle it is a very nice pilsner but fresh like I had several times in the Czech Rep it is something else. If I remember well, in Zlateho Tygra (iconic Prague pub) they serve it and it is awesome. Cheers
The Craft Beer Channel (3 years ago)
+The Full Mug yeah there is nothing like it fresh and unpasteurised. People rarely believe me til they try it.
JohnS1704 (3 years ago)
Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh use direct fired coppers still. Pity their beer is so bloody ordinary.
The Craft Beer Channel (3 years ago)
+JohnS1704 do they really? Well I never. It is a shame you couldn't tell.
royal nass (3 years ago)
awesome mate i need to try some pilsner urquell sometime
Sirchud68 (3 years ago)
Only had from bottles. I love this beer but it is a bit copper penny'ish. Is that normal?!?
1977Futre (2 years ago)
I don't think it was funk more the buttery thing yeh with an off cheese smell...I think the former. Luckily the majority of the cans I have picked up here are ok tho.
The Craft Beer Channel (2 years ago)
you mean the buttery diacetyl thing? A creamy sweetness? Or do you like more funk?
The Craft Beer Channel (2 years ago)
Hmmm...cheesy definitely not. There was an issue round 2 years ago where their cans got infected but I believe this was all sorted. Do you remember the date on the cans? This beer should have a slightly sweet butteryness from the diacytl but otherwise all saaz hops and malt!
Sirchud68 (2 years ago)
+1977Futre this may sound weird, but I like my pilsners with a cheesy kind of taste. That's how I describe a good lager. I'm sure there is a better word for it, though. I certainly don't like the old, funky, unclean tap line taste, though. Lord knows I've had plenty of drafts from hole in the wall dive bars that have probably never changed their tap lines.
1977Futre (2 years ago)
I had a can of it the other day exported to Taiwan and it had a cheesy smell. Not as sharp, bitter and distinctive as the bottle ...more akin to yeasty/unclean pipes in a pub. Is that normal for the canned version? I ask because it is at a local convenience store for far more than the local stuff and I don't want to buy more and find it's all the same. It is worth noting that I have had it a lot in bottles and it has never had this characteristic.
yellow man (4 years ago)
Need a glass of this NOW! !!
Cypeq (4 years ago)
That's quite interesting story when people went with enough with the bad beer! Popularity of a bad eurolagers is outstanding nowadays =) well urquell is not a craft beer but sets a very high bar for a macro breweries.
Marty toofree (3 years ago)
+Cypeq czechs never drinked bad beers, but to be honest quality of some breweries went rapidly down since they don't have czceh owners anymore, now are most popular small breweries here
whydoesthismatter (4 years ago)
This title is awful. Inventing pale lager is not the same as inventing lager in general.
0kewl (5 months ago)
How bland does your day have to be to take so much offense in a youtube video title? If somebody uses this channel exclusively to learn of beer; they deserve to be mislead. Treat lemmings as lemmings.
James Miller (1 year ago)
are you a virgin be honest
Loki Don (1 year ago)
Here comes Mama boy from the basement.
The Craft Beer Channel (3 years ago)
+Lenier Ashcraft Trying to find some common ground here chap, with you and people on youtube. If youre just trying to troll I'll stop, but this is an important point. Beer journalism is riddled with attempts to make beer like wine - examples of vineyards before simple grape types are explained or derisive comments about vintages before readers realise how influential climate is. We don't want people buying the wrong thing because they are confused and uninspired by the people meant to be guiding them. This video helps show interested people the origins of lager as they understand it - we have lots of videos to expand that interest if they want - and we have a video on the way to precisely follow on from this. The video title is vague but by no means misleading to 99.9% of the population and to argue otherwise is to be part of the problem, not the solution to beer's secondary status to many drinks in terms of cultural value.
Lenier Ashcraft (3 years ago)
So in trying to educated people who likely aren't going to click on the channel anyway, you purposely mislead in order for what? All it takes is in a video saying "Pilsner is one of the most popular kinds of lager today"  People aren't dumb, but this title sure is.
vivamorrissey1 (4 years ago)
Unfiltered barrell PU > Tankova Unpasturised PU > Standard draft (keg) PU > bottled PU Budvar Tankova is also very good. Two mass produced beers that knock most 'craft' beers into a cocked hat.
Jason Jones (4 years ago)
watching this while drinking my favourite beer.. Hoegaarden Belgium wheat beer, life is good!!!
Jason Jones (4 years ago)
I love weiss beers, am lucky enough to have family living in germany so i visit a lot.. they put a lot of thinking in their beers it's great!!
The Craft Beer Channel (4 years ago)
Good beer. Try Schneide weiss and Weihenstephan too. Slightly different beers (coz they're German) but they are the best wheat beers around!
xBris (4 years ago)
I have a simple answer to your question: No. But it's nice for a mass product :)
The Craft Beer Channel (4 years ago)
Which would you say is best?
dailyhotguy (4 years ago)
Beer jacuzzis! Plus I like the history bits - well done. 
Stefan Stefansson (4 years ago)
Pilsner Urquel is my favorite pilsner, but I have only tasted it from 1/2 liter cans.
Dank Boi (4 months ago)
Come to the Czech Republic and taste it on tap straight from a beer tank. You will never want to leave
Jamie Oliver - Drinks (4 years ago)
Lovely vid lads. Those barrels are IMMENSE.
Eddie Hippisley-Cox (4 years ago)
Shame Pilsner has one of the most annoying pint glasses to pour in, it's brittle and stupidly tall. 
The Craft Beer Channel (4 years ago)
They also have some amazing glass tankards though. Try to get hold of them!

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