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Craft Beer Times | Discovering the Art of Lager Brewing with Václav Berka

Discovering the Art of Lager Brewing with Václav Berka

Discovering the Art of Lager Brewing with Václav Berka

The Story of Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell is one of the world’s most famous beer brands, with a history that dates back to the mid-19th century in Pilsen, a small town in the Czech Republic. The brewery’s founder, Josef Groll, was a Bavarian brewmaster who was hired by the local citizens to improve the quality of their beer.

In 1842, Groll introduced a new style of beer that he called Pilsner, which was made using a new method of brewing with malted barley, Saaz hops, and a bottom-fermenting yeast. This process produced a clear, golden beer with a crisp, refreshing taste that was unlike anything that had been brewed before.

The popularity of Pilsner quickly spread beyond Pilsen, and the beer became one of the most sought-after brews in Europe. Today, Pilsner Urquell is sold in more than 50 countries around the world and is considered to be one of the best examples of the pilsner style of beer.

The Importance of Excellence in Lager Brewing

Václav Berka, the current brewmaster at Pilsner Urquell, is passionate about maintaining the brewery’s tradition of excellence in brewing. In a recent podcast interview, Berka shared his thoughts on what makes a great lager beer.

According to Berka, brewing a great lager requires a combination of high-quality ingredients, precise brewing methods, and attention to detail at every step of the process. He emphasized the importance of selecting the best malts, hops, and yeast strains for each beer and using them in the right proportions.

Berka also stressed the significance of the brewing process itself, which involves a careful balance of temperature, time, and fermentation conditions. He explained that the temperature of the mash, or the mixture of grains and water, must be carefully controlled to achieve the desired levels of fermentable sugars and enzymes.

Berka also discussed the importance of fermentation, which is a critical step in the brewing process that can make or break a beer’s flavor and aroma. He noted that the temperature, yeast strain, and duration of fermentation all play a role in shaping the final characteristics of the beer.

Finally, Berka underscored the significance of quality control throughout the brewing process, from raw materials to the final packaging of the beer. He emphasized the importance of checking for consistency in flavor, aroma, and appearance at every stage of the process to ensure that each batch of beer meets the standards set by Pilsner Urquell.

The Future of Pilsner Urquell

Looking ahead, Berka is focused on continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of lager brewing. While he is committed to maintaining the brewery’s traditional methods and flavor profiles, he is also experimenting with new ingredients and techniques to develop new and exciting beers that appeal to a broader range of drinkers.

One area of particular interest for Berka is the use of local ingredients in the brewing process. He believes that using locally sourced malts, hops, and other ingredients can add unique flavors and character to the beer and help to create a sense of place.

Berka is also exploring new brewing methods, such as dry-hopping and barrel aging, to create more complex and nuanced beers that offer a greater depth of flavor and aroma.

In conclusion, Pilsner Urquell’s Václav Berka is a passionate proponent of excellence in lager brewing. His dedication to tradition, innovation, and quality control ensure that the brewery’s beers continue to be among the best in the world. Whether you’re a fan of classic pilsners or are looking to explore new and exciting lager styles, Pilsner Urquell has something for everyone.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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