Next up in round 1 is the quintessential Pilsner Urquell verses one of the Rhineland’s best, König Pilsener.
Pilsner Urquell (3) – When someone says “pilsner” most casual beer drinkers immediately think of this clear, crisp lager, the first ever mass produced pilsner in the world (according to SABMiller’s marketing people). Its origins date back to 1842. While not hoppy at all compared to an American IPA, Urquell is pretty hoppy when compared other pilsners, thanks to the generous use of Saaz noble hops. SABMiller also claims that soft water and fire-brewing (heating the brew kettle directly with flames as opposed to heated water or some other heat source) add to the unique taste of Pilsner Urquell.
König Pilsener (4) – Theodor König was a pioneer, brewing bottom-fermenting lagers well before they were popular. Brewed in altbier style, nearly as old as its competitor, Konig Pilsener has been gracing the Beeck area of Duisburg with its perfect balance and deliciously pleasant finish since 1858. König is currently represented by German producer, director, and actor, Til Schweiger (or Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz as you may know him) who often appears next to giant cans of beer of billboards throughout the country.
The two beers enter this match pretty evenly; both present well in-glass: straw yellow, earthy hop notes followed by a strong (if a bit sour) malty punch, airy pure white head that dissipates quickly. Each keeps pushing up and down the field, lots of complexity despite the simple formula, lots of hoppy progress both ways, but no real action. Everytime Urquell scores, König answers. This is going to be a close one, y’all.
Urquell loses the ball midfield due to a bit of over-carbonation and bite on the tongue. The turnover costs them dearly as König quickly capitalizes and finishes with practiced professionalism. Their well balanced team of flavors is just edging out the Urquell boys, who despite a great showing, can’t see to keep up with the nearly perfect grain-packed aftertaste.
And there goes the final whistle. A close, if somewhat uneventful match from these two classics. König 4. Urquell 3.