Tag Archives: Pilsners

170. Perła Chmielowa

After that Baltika No. 3 Classic didn’t prove too much of a disappointment, it may be worth a return visit to our new favourite Eastern European food shop, Eastern European Food, to see what else they can furnish us with.

This will do nicely. You can find plenty of canned Polish lagers in the convenience stores of South London, but Perła Chmielowa is one I haven’t seen before. Let’s take a can or two back to our park bench, as is probably fairly traditional for a lager of this calibre.

Perła Chmielowa in Dulwich Park

Perła Chmielowa is listed in The Book as a Pilsner, so it’s a can of lager then. It packs a fairly respectable punch at 6.0% ABV and perhaps that’s why there’s a distinct aroma of Special Brew about it. That carries over to the taste too. It’s pretty thick and sweet for a lager, and the booze isn’t exactly hidden.

I’ve a feeling this is probably a cut above the more commonplace Polish lagers. Faint praise perhaps, but while it was always going to be difficult to find much of interest to say about this one, I don’t hate it. That said, I’m in no particular hurry to crack open the second can, and instead head to The Plough for lunch and to see what they have on tap.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Perła Brewery, Lublin, Poland
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 6.0% ABV
Found at: Eastern European Food, Lordship Lane, London SE22
Serving: 500ml can

128. Jever Pilsener

Time for another visit to Germany. Well, to a pub in South London, to be more accurate. But Zeitgeist is a German-run pub with a good range of German beers that aren’t always easy to find elsewhere, and it’s a very pleasant place to while away a quiet weekend afternoon.

Jever Pilsener is fairly accurately named: it’s a Pilsner, which the Germans spell Pilsener and it’s from Jever which, I learn, is the capital of the district of Friesland in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Jever Pilsener at Zeitgeist London

There are no surprises in the looks department, with Jever Pilsener pouring a standard lagery straw-like colour with a hearty dose of white froth that hangs around tenaciously.

It smells kind of lagery too and a little malty, though there’s a distinct whiffiness typical of a beer that’s spent a fraction too long exposed to daylight, which can occasionally be a problem with green glass bottles.

This one tastes alright though. Still, Jever Pilsener is in many ways your standard continental lager, and there isn’t a great deal more that one can say about it. It’s a high quality example of the style, certainly. It’s relatively complex, well-balanced, and there’s quite a pleasing crisp, dry citrus aspect to it that’s quite moreish.

Not that a second bottle was a foregone conclusion, as the gassiness so typical of the style soon became slightly tiresome, and quite frankly there are more interesting beers to be sampled at Zeitgeist.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever, Jever, Germany
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 4.9% ABV
Found at: Zeitgeist, Black Prince Road, London SE11
Serving: 500ml bottle

98. Pilsner Urquell

It may not always be obvious, but I do try to think about how to make some of these posts interesting for both my readers. And I had wondered what I could find to say about Pilsner Urquell, a beer that you can find by the bottle in any supermarket in the land.

So when the very pleasant The Canonbury up in North London announced they were to hold a Pilsner Urquell Oak Barrel Event this weekend, Threehundredbeers was predictably first on the scene.

Pilsner Urquell Oak Barrel Event

What we have here is unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell, drained directly from the lagering tanks at the brewery in Pilsen into a very limited number of oak casks, and then promptly escorted over to the UK to be dispensed by gravity into the glasses of eagerly waiting beer nerds who come from far and wide. All for the regular price of a pint of the keg stuff.

Having got in early, the beer was still settling when I arrived, and the first pint was mostly froth. It turned into actual beer quickly and I was invited to return for as many refills as I fancied, so I was a very happy camper indeed.

Oak Barelled Pilsner Urquell

As you can see, the beer is a beautiful cloudy amber colour. CAMRA types should take note that this is what “real” beer actually looks like, rather than the artificially, chemically clarified stuff they seem to prefer.

The aroma is absolutely huge for a lager, and full of Pilsner malts, oak and restrained, floral hops. Being served at room temperature certainly helps.

To taste, the beer is quite subtle and delicate at first. It’s full bodied and malty though, all Digestives and Rich Tea biscuits. This is not a sledgehammer of a beer. Instead it takes its time, and quietly works its way up to a gigantic, bitter finish, leaving you wanting more immediately. Back in the queue we go.

This really is special. It’s still a lager, but with all the flavours turned up to 11. There’s even banana fruit and a caramel richness in there, but absolutely zero sweetness. In fact this is one of the driest beers I’ve come across in a long time, and I like that.

I was told that the oaked Pilsner Urquell is the same strength as the regular stuff, which is 4.4%. Now, maybe I didn’t have enough breakfast before setting off, but this one went to my head much quicker than a beer of that strength usually would. I’ll survive.

Sadly, the last of this year’s oaked Pilsner Urquell consignment has been drunk now, but I can strongly recommend keeping your eyes peeled for future events, and making your way along if some does turn up. I certainly shall.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Plzeňský Prazdroj, Pilsen, Czech Republic
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 4.4% ABV
Found at: The Canonbury, Canonbury Place, London N1
Serving: Oak cask, gravity, somewhat more than a pint

59. Grolsch Pilsener

In retrospect, I may inadvertently have given The Commercial a bit of a hard time
when I reviewed that underwhelming pint of Hop Back Summer Lightning last week.

Which, all told, is a bit of a flimsy excuse for drifting back there today and ordering a bottle of Grolsch.

I know what you’re thinking. Grolsch doesn’t exactly have the finest reputation around these parts: in the UK, it’s typically a flavourless, slightly-too-strong-to-be-sessionable keg lager with very few redeeming features. I was surprised to find it in The Book at all.

In fairness, this is no ordinary Grolsch. This is the proper, imported, Dutch-brewed Pilsner in the tactile, sculpted green glass bottle with the famous swing-top. Young people of my generation might recognise the ceramic cap from the shoes of such popular modern beat combos as Bros. Google them, kids.

It may be my imagination, but imported Grolsch seems to get harder to get hold of as each year passes. No problem: The Commercial have it on permanent standby in the fridge, and a chilled bottle of lager seemed irresistible on this, the muggiest day of the year so far.


Well, there it is. A slightly stingily-sized 450ml bottle of lager with a fancy lid.

It tastes like a halfway decent lager, which is to say that there’s the slightest hint of malt in there to prevent it tasting of nothing at all. This, in essence, is where the imported Grolsch differs from the UK-brewed keg stuff.

It was cold and I didn’t hate it, but yeah, pint of Brooklyn Lager, please Zöe.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Koninklijke Grolsch N.V., Enschede, Netherlands
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 5.0% ABV
Found at: The Commercial, Railton Road, London SE24
Serving: 450ml Bottle

47. Bitburger Pils

It’s time to add a new category to the site, as we come to try our first Pilsner so far. In this case it’s a Pilsner not from Pilsen, or even from the Czech Republic, but from Bitburg, Germany.


Bitburger Pils pours a dark golden colour with an almost negligible amount of white foam. What there is doesn’t stick around for long. There’s a toasty malt aroma with the faintest whiff of hops.

Bitburger is slightly fuller-bodied than is typical for a lager, and better for it. A good malty backbone is present to underpin the nicely balanced bitterness and sweetness, and it’s all followed by a long, dry finish.

I’m secretly enjoying this one more that I tend to expect from a lager. Bitburger is a very gluggable yet satisfying beer. Whilst I wouldn’t pass over a good ale or stout for it, this is a very pleasant beverage to drink straight from the fridge on a summery evening like this one.

Another enjoyable beer, and there will be a few more Pilsners along in due course, including some actually from Pilsen, so it’ll be interesting to see how Bitburger measure up against those.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH, Bitburg, Germany
Style: Pilsners
Strength: 4.8% ABV
Found at: Bossman Wines, Lordship Lane, London SE22
Dispense: 330ml Bottle