The Bürger Brauerei recruited the Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (1813 – 1887) who, using new techniques and the newly available paler malts, presented his first batch of modern Pilsner on 5 October 1842. The combination of pale colour from the new malts, Pilsen's remarkably soft water, noble hops from nearby Saaz and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer which was regarded as a sensation.
Improving transport and communications also meant that this new beer was soon available throughout Central Europe, and the Pilsner Brauart style of brewing was soon widely imitated. In 1859, “Pilsner Bier” was registered as a brand name at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Pilsen. In 1898, the Pilsner Urquell trade mark was created to put emphasis on being the original brewery.
The introduction to Germany of modern refrigeration by Carl von Linde in the late 19th century removed the need for caves in which to store the beer and thus allowed many places to brew bottom-fermenting beer which were unable to do so before; however, even until recently the Pilsner Urquell brewery still fermented its beer using open barrels in the cellars underneath their brewery. This technology was changed in 1993 with the use of large cylindrical tanks; however, small samples are still brewed in a traditional way for taste comparisons. Pilsner also has the unique claim to being "the world's first golden beer."
A modern Pilsner has a very light, clear colour from pale, really pale up to a golden yellow, and a distinct hop aroma and flavour. Czech Pilsners tend toward a lighter flavour with good examples being Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen, while those in a German style can be more bitter (particularly in the north, e.g. Jever) or even "earthy" in flavour. Distinctive examples of German Pilsners are Flensburger Brauerei's Flensburger Pilsener, Beck's, Bitburger, Fürstenberg, Veltins, König Pilsner, Krombacher, Radeberger, Holsten, Warsteiner, Henninger's Kaiser Pilsner, Brauerei Schwelm's Schwelmer Pils, Augustiner Bräu's Augustiner Pils, Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren Jubiläums Pils and Wernesgrüner. On the other hand, Dutch (Heineken, Amstel) and Belgian Pilsners (Jupiler, Stella Artois) have a slight sweet taste.