Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour - Summer 2003 http://www.pilsnerurquell.com
This was my first glass of Pilsner Urquell on this Europe trip. It was extremely quaffable and went down in gulps. It was less hoppy and less carbonated than the bottled version, further making it smooth and delicious. It made me excited to get to the brewery.
The famous front gates in Plzen, Czech Republic.
The pink building behind me is the main brewery, with the tunnels underneath it. I think towards the right somewhere is the malting facility where they malt their own barley. They told us that part of the brewery was not on the tour.
Three or four of these trucks pulled in while we were waiting for the tour to start.
Inside the main lobby they have a replica or model of old brewing processes.
What a glorious sight. These were just a few of the kettles they have. Well, boil kettles and perhaps mash tuns. We were told they had 16 sets at the time, and were adding more.
The previous picture was looking down to the floor from the balcony, and this one is on the level of the balcony. Maybe these are the mash tuns and the boil kettles were down below (?)
Now it gets interesting. We walked down this path into the labyrinth of 9 km of underground tunnels. You can see the tour guide putting on a sweater. It is cool down there, and that is where they have naturally cool cellars for fermenting and laagering. Most of the current production is done with modern equipment and refrigeration, but it's great to see where it all started.
A shot of one of the tunnels. It was cool, damp, and you could sense the good beerness all around. ha. Yes, they are that big.
This was a beautiful sight. Even though the beer they sell is made with modern methods, they still do some the old fashioned way. Then they compare the modern stuff with the old fashioned stuff to make sure it is still in line with the traditional Pilsner Urquell taste.
And here is perhaps the highlight of the tour, a sample of unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated Pilsner Urquell from a wooden cask. It was somewhat hazy. I noticed a strong hop aroma as well as a lager, malt aroma. Not sure how to describe the latter but there is kind of an aroma that lagers have. The taste was really wonderful - sweet, smooth (natural carbonation), nice mouthfeel. It reminded me of a really good homebrew. Too bad it is not for sale in that form. It was like a little bit of liquid heaven.
This is a bonus picture of Jamie in Cesky Krumlov, the town we were heading to when we stopped at the PU brewery. Their local beer is Eggenberg, and it was very delicious too. Also, notice the hearty Czech food. What a great trip.
Don's main 2003 Europe page