Whatever you call it–Bohemian Pilsner, German Pils, American Light–Pilsner is easily the most popular beer in the world. 

At the start of the 19th century, the quality of beer in Europe was poor and standards varied widely. In Pilsen, the quality reached a nadir and the drinking citizens revolted, pouring 36 kegs of city beer into the streets in front of city hall.

The citizens decided to start from scratch, building a new state-of-the-art brewery with the latest technology and hiring a new brewer. In 1839, realizing that the most renowned beers at the time were made in Bavaria, the town hired two Bavarians: a builder/architect named Martin Stelzer and a head brewer, Josef Groll.

Instead of using the standard darker malts of the time Groll succeeded in kilning a malt so pale that it made a golden brew. He then used profuse quantities of the acclaimed Saaz noble hop, a bottom fermenting lager yeast, the soft local artesian water, and cave lagering to produce the strikingly pale, clear and smooth Pilsner beer. Groll first unveiled it to the citizens of Pilsen on October 4, 1842, at St. Martin’s Market. The beer created an immediate sensation since such a golden brew had never before been seen. The recipe remains relatively unchanged today.