The launch of two new beers from Pilsner Urquell
It's great news for beer fans (and tough breaks for beer writers): so many new brewpubs and new beers are showing up here in the Czech Republic that keeping track is an almost impossible task. When researching my Czech beer guide, I tasted and described 450+ beers in the world's greatest beer-drinking nation ("greatest" in terms of annual per-capita consumption — calm down, Germany). At one point, I seemed to be on top of things. But just as the book is about to hit the shelves, new beers are coming out from both Pilsner Urquell and Budvar, aka the Czech Budweiser.
Here's a link to an overview of the three new Czech brews, Budvar's lone Pardál and Pilsner Urquell's two Masters, that I wrote about for the Prague Daily Monitor this week. I managed to taste Pardál — not a charismatic pint by any means — in time to include a listing in the guidebook. The ones worth trying, however, are the brand-spankin'-new Master beers from Pilsner Urquell, introduced by Senior Trade Brewmaster Václav Berka (in the photo) at a special tasting last week. Once again, these beers are good examples of a high-volume industrial brewer trying to imitate the dynamism of craft brewing. In large part, they succeed.
This brings up a chicken-and-egg
situation: Pilsner Urquell is clearly brewing Master because more Czech beer fans are trying new things. But the majority in this beer-loving
country remains pretty conservative when it comes to pivo. If Pilsner Urquell — repeatedly ranked by Czechs as the brand with the highest overall quality — unintentionally introduces the masses to more creative
and charismatic beers, will it be too long before the average
Joe Sixpack Pepa Pivar decides to try a real Czech craft brew?