A while back, I had the opportunity to attend a really cool event. A local bar/brewery in Scottsdale, where I live, had won a contest put on by Pilsner Urquell Brewery and DRAFT Magazine. Papago Brewing was voted “the freshest bar in America” and had won a 170-liter cask of unpasteurized, unfiltered Pilsner Urquell. This cask was shipped over to them from Plzen (home of Pilsner Urquell Brewery) and tapped by the head brewmaster himself. Now, to understand what a big deal this is, you should know that Pilsner Urquell was the very first pilsner beer in the world, and basically no casks (the way it was originally designed to be served) are ever in the United States. Most of the time it is dispensed from a keg.
I know most of you that aren’t beer nerds couldn’t care less about this, but for those of us in the beer community here in Arizona, this was a big deal and a big event. This was a national contest that our local brewery here had won, and plenty of local beer geeks came out to take advantage of it. I managed to get to Papago early to get a good seat and a ticket for the cask of Pilsner Urquell. Another beer geek friend of ours, Steve showed up with a co-worker and we got in line for the beer. It was fun to watch the tapping of the cask and hear a little bit of the history behind it. It was also really cool to be served a mug of the beer by the brewmaster himself, Vaclav Berka.
Ricky and some of our friends got there late and missed out on getting the first cask. It was a 170-liter cask, but it was dry in less than an hour. There were a lot of people there to try this beer! I saved Ricky a little bit of mine that he drank when he got there, and I had also snagged another ticket that he used to get some of the second cask to share among our friends that showed up too late.
It was a great event. We were lucky that Papago won and we got to try this very rare version of a pilsner. It was also a fun gathering of the local beer community here in Arizona. With events pretty much every day and several very active Facebook groups, we’re lucky to live in a place where the craft beer community is so thriving. Cheers!