Day 18 of the beer marathon and we stay in the mountain regions where the Pilsner Urquelle originated- the Bohemian and Ore Mountains, where southern Poland, western Czech Republic and the far eastern parts of Germany meet- in particular, Saxony. One of the questions I have about the pilsner, which I will be looking into is whether the pilsner is produced solely and originally in the aforementioned region and whether the ones in the region are better than the ones produced on other parts of Germany. While I have a personal preference for a Flensburger pils, which is brewed in Schleswig Holstein, most of the pilsners I’ve found and drank have come from Saxony and parts of eastern Bavaria, many of them are better than the ones I tried in the west.
One of these beers I tried on a snowy Monday was the Wernesgrüner Legend pilsner, crafted in the sachische town of Wernersgrün, located east of the nearby town of Auerbach. The history of brewing in the region goes back to 1436. At that time, the Schorer family established their first brewery in town. It was then owned by the Günnel family in 1762, then the Männel family 12 years later and the change in ownership continued for the next two centuries, subsequentially resulting in the brewery having many spin-offs founded by members of the families involved. Before World War II broke out in 1939, as many as five family-owned breweries existed in Wernersgrün. The number was reduced to one after the war and the creation of the German Democratic Republic in 1949. Upon orders of the Socialist Union Party of Germany (German: SED), the family businesses were forced to consolidate to form the VEB Wernersgrüne (English for VEB: The United Association of Beers). It was one of over four dozen that existed until 1990. After Germany was reunited, the brewery was back into private hands and it was renamed Wernersgrüner in 1992. Since 2002, the beer is part of the Bitburger consortium, located in the state of Rhineland Palatinate, but the brewery continues to produce and sell beer assortments in Wernersgrüne. A link to the brewery’s website provides some further information on the history of the beer.
While the Wernesgrüner has an array of nice beer products, including the Radler, I tried the Legend pilsner to see how it tasted. The beer has the typical features of a pilsner, with its clear straw color, great head, lively carbonation and its superb freshness, it did have a strong intense aroma and flavor, consisting of grain malt and a combination of herbal and earth hops. This created a sharp aroma and a mild bit near bitter taste, which is characteristic of a pilsner. The total balance was towards the bitter side but in a way that there is a slight touch of citrus and spice in there. Unlike the Urquelle though, the Wernesgrüne’s body was quite light, creating a bit too much water when drinking it. More body and it would have left more of a slick, warming and astringent taste when drinking it.
Grade: 2,0/ B The Wernesgrüner is another example of a pilsner beer that should be tasted while visiting Germany. Despite its various changes in hands in the past, the brewery has been consistent in producing and marketing its beer products in and around Germany, as well as in parts of Europe and the US. Unlike other grocery store beers, the Wernesgrüner Legend is popular and can be found in many supermarkets and small shops, it still maintains its great taste and its popular beer drinkers. 🙂