Nationality: Germany, Czech Republic
How it works: Before pilsners arrived in the mid-1800s, beer was dark and murky. Not only did the new beer style have an attractive golden glow, but its popularity spread thanks to the simultaneous rise of mechanized glass production. With clear glassware for they masses, the effervescent elixir could be easily admired.
Most behemoth American breweries like Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors call their beer pilsners, but like all brews that claim the name, they're knockoffs of Pilsner Urquell, the ultimate, most imitated pilsner on the planet. It was first produced in 1842 in Plsen, Czechoslovakia, a region that was part of Bohemia, which explains its German name. (Urquell means "original source.")
Pilsners aren't particularly fancy or complex beers, but if you aren't chugging a heavily watered down variety from a plastic (gasp!) cup at a stadium, you're probably indulging in a brew made with spicy hops, which give it an herbal or flowery aroma. When the glass has a properly tapered top, the design acts like a tight ribbon around the bouquet, channeling it straight to your nose.
The verdict: At No. 9 Park, I was poured a Jever, a German pilsner that general manager Garret Harker describes as a "more artisinal" variation on a common theme. Indeed, it's not your standard dive bar brand, but I hardly expected such a well-defined crispness and vigorous bitter kick from such a light-bodied brew. Even after time, as the bubbles were perpetually channeled in the pipe-like footed glass, wafts of sweet floral scents arose and the sharp edge and bitter finish were maintained.