Bohemian Pilsner, a beer style that retains closer links to the origins of the “pilsner family” of lager beer styles than any other type. The town of Pilsen (Plzeň in Czech) is the capital of Czech Bohemia, and it is here that Bavarian brewer Josef Groll brewed the original pilsner beer in 1842. That brewery is now called Plzeňský Prazdroj, better known as Pilsner Urquell, which means original source. However, within the Czech Republic, only beer from Pilsen is called pilsner, even when it is brewed in the same style. For the Czechs, pilsner is essentially an appellation contrôlée, and German brewers respect this by calling their similar beers by the truncated name “pils.” To the rest of the world, Czech beers such as Staropramen, Gambrinus, Krusovice, and Budweiser Budvar represent a style called Bohemian or Czech pilsner.

Eventually, the German pilsner brewers refined their pils beers into a style that became distinct from the Bohemian originals. They are very much lager beers, cold-fermented and aged for up to 90 days. Whereas German pilsners eventually became paler, reaching for a bright yellow color, the Czech beers are deep gold, sometimes even showing hints of red, although the brewing grists are invariably 100% pilsner malt. Part of this is caused by differing malts and water, and some of it may be caused by darkening of the wort by oxidation in open grants as the wort runs from the lauter tuns. See grant and hot-side aeration. Decoction mashing remains common in the Czech breweries, and this may have a darkening effect as well, also perhaps bringing a deepening of malt flavors. Hops tend to be the local floral Saaz variety and they are used more assertively. Whereas the average German pilsner today has a bitterness of 28 International Bitterness Units (IBUs), the Czech pilsners are usually closer to 35 IBU, making them notably snappier. Balanced against this is a bit more malt sweetness, a slightly toastier malt flavor, and sometimes even a small whiff of diacetyl, a buttery-tasting compound created by yeast and aggressively opposed by most lager brewers. Altogether these qualities make the Bohemian pilsner a more full-bodied version of the style than the German one, and some beer festival competitions separate the two into their own categories.