Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Afternoon Club

It’s Friday afternoon and I don’t know about you, but I could use a beer.

But what beer should I drink?

When considering this important question, a look towards the Czech Republic and its long history of beer making is probably a good option to consider.

Beer making in the Bohemian and Czech region goes back over a thousand years. The Czech Republic has the highest per-capita beer consumption rate in the world. While there are many major breweries in the region, two cities are very much associated with beer making: Plzeň and České Budĕjovice. You might recognize these cities better by their German names: Pilsen and Budweis.

If you would like to learn more about how to best judge a beer, spend some time at beeradvocate.com. When reviewing a beer, the beer advocates believe that it’s most important to take into consideration the appearance, smell, taste, mouth-feel and drinkability of your beer. But before you can really judge a beer by any of these criteria, you first need to understand the style of the beer and beer maker’s intent.

The classic Czech Pilsner is one major style of beer making. Here’s what beeradvocate.com has to say on the subject:

“The birth of Pilsner beer can be traced back to its namesake, the ancient city of Plzen (or Pilsen) which is situated in the western half of the Czech Republic in what was once Czechoslovakia and previously part of the of Bohemian Kingdom. Pilsner beer was first brewed back in the 1840's when the citizens, brewers and maltsters of Plzen formed a brewer's guild and called it the People's Brewery of Pilsen.

”The Czech Pilsner, or sometimes known as the Bohemian Pilsner, is light straw to golden color and crystal clear. Hops are very prevalent usually with a spicy bitterness and or a spicy floral flavor and aroma, notably one of the defining characteristics of the Saaz hop. Smooth and crisp with a clean malty palate, many are grassy. Some of the originals will show some archaic yeast characteristics similar to very mild buttery or fusel (rose-like alcohol) flavors and aromas.”

Earlier, the city of Budweis came up. To American beer lovers, that name may sound familiar. According to the Anheuser Busch website, Adolphus Busch first arrived in the U.S. in 1857 and with his father-in-law to spark an American revolution in beer making by introducing Bohemian style beer to a thirsty public. Eventually young Adolphus wanted to create a truly American beer. But the roots of that taste come from the Bohemian and Bavarian countryside.

So the next time you crack open a Budweiser, take a moment to consider the description of the Czech Pilsner outlined above. How does it compare?

On coming Fridays, I know I will be craving more beers. It should be fun seeking out authentic Czech beers and giving them all a taste.

But in the meantime, this Bud’s for you.

-Rex Fuller, Opera Colorado Director of Marketing

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