A stein of Munich’s Helles beer
The Czechs have a storied history in the realm of beer. Dating back to 859 A.D., beer in the Czech Republic has been making a name for itself as the best in the world. Bohemia, the area in which the beer is brewed, has perfect conditions for agricultural growth, which in turn produces some of the best hops the world has to offer. The hops were so prized that the a former king that presided over the lands made it punishable by death to export any product of the hops; whether it be cuttings, seeds, or the actual hops themselves.
Most Czech beers are lagers, which are brewed with a natural expertise from hand picked hops. The most well-known and drunk Czech beer is the original Pils beer, Pilsner Urquell. This beer has made a strong name for itself in the Czech community, and has quite an impact on the international market. The Pilsner Urquell is characterized by its golden color and clarity as well as its immense success – nine out of ten beers produced and consumed in the world are derived and based off the original Pilsen beer.
With Czech golden lagers rapidly taking over as the most prominent and best tasting beer one could get their hands on, Munich brewers feared that Germans would drink Pils over their own. Munich’s Helles lager was their response to meet the ever-growing demand for quality beer. The key differences the Munich brewers instituted were a slightly more malty texture and taste; while still sharing the same spicy hop characteristics, they almost made their brew a bit more subdued in its balance. Being a full-bodied brew, the Helles is quite satisfying on the palate and has almost no up-front bitterness, which was a normal characteristic of beers brewed in the time period – circa the 1800s. There is a lingering note of hops, which is at once less aromatic than that of the Czech Pilsner and less aggressive than that of the northern German Pilsner.
Article by Jared Silvestri
Want to experience the amazing Oktoberfest in Munich and try one of their famous beers for yourself? Check out the FlorenceForFun weekend trips to Oktoberfest and the transport only option on www.florenceforfun.com and choosing Oktoberfest underneath the Trip Finder on the righthand side.