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In 1838, a momentous event in Plzen saw 36 barrels of bad beer smashed and emptied into the street. Around 250 burghers had brewing rights in the city but poor quality beer combined with some tavern owners having higher prices than others (meaning the beer sold slower and turned sour), and the threat of cheaper imported beers replacing their own brews.
Something had to be done and a committee of important townsfolk decided that the answer was to build one new brewery to be run by the city. In January 1839 a plan was agreed upon and work started to build this new brewery.
A young architect named Martin Stelzer was enlisted to build the Burgher’s Brewery, a forerunner to the present day brewing company. A visionary Bavarian brewmaster, Josef Groll, was hired to make the beer and he combined new techniques to produce pale malted barley, he used local Czech hops, he took the soft water of Plzen, and chose a lager yeast. A new beer was born.
The first batch of beer was brewed on 5th October 1842. Five weeks later, on 11th November, the beer was first drunk in the town. A golden beer – the world’s first golden lager – it was fresh, clear and refreshing with a hint of caramel sweetness and a fragrant, balanced hop bitterness. It was an immediate success and a proud moment for the city of Plzen. Since that day the recipe has remained the same.
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