Showing posts with label budweiser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label budweiser. Show all posts

Friday, April 7, 2017

In Praise of Budweiser

It had been a busy morning. Up early to get the big shop done before the hoardes descended upon the local supermarket we had chosen to go to, run all the errands that needed doing so that the rest of the day could be as chilled out as possible. With a thorough disinclination to cook lunch, we popped into one of our favourite bars here in Charlottesville for a bite to eat, hoping there would be space at the bar. Thankfully Beer Run had the requisite space at its bar and we took up residence and perused the beer menu....

I was in a distinctly lagerish mood, and we had considered heading to Beer Run's sister place, Kardinal Hall as they have the magnificent Rothaus Pils always on tap. Yes you read that correctly, the finest pilsner in all of Germany is always on tap in Charlottesville, Virginia. Sadly they would not open for another couple of hours, so that wasn't an option.

I don't know about other folks, but there are times when only a lager will suit my mood, when all I want is the clean snap of a technically proficient bottom fermented beer, something cracker dry that just cuts through the gunk of life and leaves me refreshed. This day at Beer Run, only one beer on the this met these requirements, but I was hesitant as I had never ordered it on draft before, actually thinking about it, I can't think of that many places where I have even seen it on draft. That beer was Budweiser, the American one, not one of the Czech ones, and Beer Run knowing me as they do, brought me a 20oz pint of it.

I am assuming that this particular pint was brewed just down the road at Anheuser-Busch's Williamburg brewery and so there is no irony whatsoever in the 'drink local' beer mat, especially if people are happy to called Stone in Richmond, Green Flash in Virginia Beach, and soon to be Deschutes in Roanoke, 'local'. As I said, this was the first time I can ever remember ordering a full pint of Budweiser in a bar, though I recently reviewed the bottled version here, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Attempting to put to one side all those inherent craft prejudices and focus on the beer itself in the glass, I plunged on in.

It hit the spot. Cold, though not ice cold, clean, crisp, cracker dry, and with a short, sharp finish. It was perfect, absolutely perfect for the mood I was in at the moment. I didn't want to be challenged, I didn't want to prove my craft credentials and feel worthy of drinking a beer, I didn't want to wrap my head round a muddle of flavours and aromas that may or may not have been intentional. I wanted a lager that was expertly brewed, technically solid, and through which quality brewing science shone, and this was that beer in that moment. I can't comment on how the beer changed as it lingered in the glass, because it didn't linger, 4 mouthfuls saw to the pint quite handily. One thing I noticed about the draft version over the canned version was that the draft felt much less fizzy, and the beer was greatly improved by that fact.

So there we go, I doubt I will ever become a regular Bud drinker when I am out in the watering holes of the United States, but neither will I shy away from ordering it on tap if I faced with a bank of IPAs of indeterminate provenance. Funny what happens when we overcome our prejudices and snobbery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Original Budweiser?

Look at this label.

Clearly the label dates from the period of Budweiser's history when it was brewed by Anheuser-Busch for Carl Conrad's company, C. Conrad & Co. As such it belongs to the period between 1876 and 1882, when Conrad went bankrupt and the brand become the property of Anheuser-Busch in their own right.

I find this label fascinating for one simple reason, the description of the beer, which reads, for those unversed in German:
"Budweiser lager beer, brewed from the finest Saaz hops and Bohemian malt for C.Conrad & Co..."
Why is that interesting? The use of Saaz hops and Bohemian malt for a start, and also the absence of rice, beechwood aging, or anything else that modern Budweiser is well known for.

Was Budweiser originally an all malt lager, made with Czech hops? If that were so, it certainly sounds much closer to the Czech lagers I came to love in my decade in Prague. That in itself raises further questions, when did rice come into the picture, and when did they switch to German hops instead of Saaz?

If anyone has definitive answers I'd love to know.

Monday, June 22, 2015

In Pursuit of Impartiality

Perhaps it is a sign of my being a craft beer dilettante but I find it near impossible to lather myself into the pre-requisite rage required when the likes of InBev, SABMiller, or MolsonCoors purchase a small brewery. Neither yet does it bother me that people get 'confused' by Blue Moon being a Coors beer rather than a 'craft' beer, perhaps I believe in caveat emptor a little too much, or I just don't think it is relevant who makes a beer as long as the consumer is enjoying it. Worse still, I think the whole 'drink local' is a crock of grade A bullshit given that most breweries source their ingredients from around the world, strip their local water of anything unique and then add chemicals to the water to ape that of somewhere else.

The fact remains though that I drink almost exclusively beer that would  fall into the category of 'craft' simply because it is what I like to drink as a rule. The big three breweries in the US simply do not make or distribute the kinds of beer I like. There is no Anheuser-Busch Best Bitter, or Miller Mild, or even a Coors Session IPA. One thing though struck me recently as I sat in a dive bar drinking, nay thoroughly enjoying, a Goose Island IPA that there are some beers which get the boot end of opprobrium that I just don't see very often on draught.

The missing beer that immediately caught my attention in its absence was Budweiser. Not Bud Light, which is fairly ubiquitous in the bars I generally like (the divey types), nor any of its lime/strawberry/flavour of the month variants, but classic Budweiser. I simply cannot think of a bar in the Charlottesville area that I go to semi-regularly that has it on tap. Neither could I remember the last time I drank it, other than as a kid being allowed to stay up late and watch the Superbowl in the mid-80s (the reason for my vague liking of the Chicago Bears).

Anyway, this has been pottering around in my head a bit of late, so I decided to buy a single can of classic Budweiser, try and remove my blinkers and actually evaluate the beer as a beer rather than a monolithic straw man for the little guys to denounce as the source of all zythophilic evil. So here goes...

  • Sight - pale golden yellow, with a half inch of loose white foam that disappears quicker than collaborators after the fall of Communism
  • Smell - Not much at all, kind of a grainy character, like Carr's Water Biscuits, with just the merest hint of grassy hops, like your neighbour is mowing his lawn, and your nearest neighbour is a couple of miles down the road (maybe that's a Uist reference)
  • Taste - Again mostly a cereal thing going on, with a touch of malty sweetness and just enough of a clean hop bite to give the beer balance.
  • Sweet - 2/5
  • Taste - 1.5/5
  • Notes - Clean, very clean. Medium-light bodied. Fizzy. Clearly a superbly constructed beer, nothing is out of kilter but also nothing stands out, which makes it kind of bland. It's not offensive at all, but neither is it interesting.

I had no problem finishing off the contents of the 25oz can (that's 0.75l/1.3 imperial pints) but at the same time my empty glass wasn't demanding that it be refilled. It really was a once in a while kind of thing, nothing to turn your nose up at and alright in a pinch, kind of like the occasional Staropramen in Prague. I'm glad I tried it, and maybe I'll see if I can find single bottles/cans of standard Miller and Coors to see what they are like as well. One thing that definitely sprung to mind was how much I wish craft breweries could get the process side of brewing down to such a fine art as Anheuser-Busch and produce stuff that is solidly consistent as well as flavourful.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Question of Six

Yesterday on Facebook, Beervana's Jeff Alworth asked for the first adjective that comes to mind when thinking about the following breweries:
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Dogfish Head
  • Rogue Ales
  • Budweiser
  • Lagunitas
  • Goose Island
I responded to Jeff's request, but thought to myself that it would be a worthwhile exercise to follow that up with some unpacking of my thoughts for each answer.

Sierra Nevada - Solid

The guys from Chico and Hendersonsville have become a more regular visitor to the Fuggled beer garden in the last year or so. Why? Because their beers are simply solid, well made examples of styles. Whilst not being an exuberant fan of the standard pine/grapefruit thing with American hops by any stretch of the imagination, SN's Pale Ale is just a very good beer that is nice to drink. Their Oktoberfest likewise, Tumbler as well, Kellerweis too. It seems that everything they brew they brew well, and I look forward to trying Nooner in the near future, maybe as part of a pilsner blind tasting. I love the fact that they bottle condition, and can condition too, their beers, making them softer on the palette as they lack the prickly CO2 of forced carbonation. Yep, Sierra Nevada are something of a default setting for me, something that I am always happy to see available, and something I am always happy to drink.

Dogfish Head - Eclectic

It seems at times that there is always something new and strange going on at Dogfish Head, they are almost the Willy Wonka's of the brewing world, and while I can appreciate the creativity they bring to the scene, I rarely choose to drink a pint of their beer. My issue with Dogfish is simply that level of creativity makes me unsure of whether I would like a full pint of their beer, and given the price of a pint sometimes I am loathe to send money on something that I am sure I will finish (I envy those out there who have far deeper pockets than I and feel no compunction about sending $15 for a 16oz glass of something rare or weird). Having said that, I have a few bottles in my cellar, including a Midas Touch, and a 120 minute IPA from 2009.

Rogue Ales - Anti-worker

Forgive the politics here but any company that fires workers for wanting to unionise will not see a single penny of my money. Yes I am a terrible lefty who believes in collective bargaining, not crossing a picket line, and single payer universal healthcare. The last time I had a Rogue Ale was quite some time ago and I don't remember being bowled over by it, so I get the feeling I am not really missing much in my personal boycott.

Budweiser - Bland

At first I am tempted to be a smart alec and refer to the Budvar, but I knew exactly who Jeff meant. I have no problem with Budweiser in general. Their beers are superbly well made in terms of process control, consistency, freshness, and all that stuff, but I just find them bland, and I am not a fan of the exceedingly dry crackeriness that seems to be the hallmark of their main brands. I will admit though that the occasional Michelob AmberBock will find its way into my drinking life, usually when at the beach and I can't be arsed with something challenging while lounging next to the pool, but even then, as well made as it is, it is still pretty bland. Not bad, just dull.

Lagunitas - Meh

Another well regarded brewery that simply does nothing for me, other than Brown Shugga which quite like from time to time. Little Sumpin' Sumpin' I find inoffensively dull, IPA I don't think is all that great, and in the words of a friend's father, an escapee from the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Pils 'is simply not Czech'. Nothing else to see here, move along, move along.

Goose Island - Consistently Good

I first had Goose Island beers a couple of months before they were bought by AB-InBev, and I liked them. When they were purchased I didn't rush into the frenzied whirlpool of labelling them sell outs, crafty, or any other ridiculous epithet. Brewing is a business, and like any other business, big businesses will want to buy smaller businesses that they believe can benefit their business. Since being bought out I have noticed that the Goose Island IPA, which I will drink from time to time, has got consistently better and is always a decent pint, which is always a good thing in my book. At Mrs V's uncle's wedding recently I drank a fair few pints of the IPA and enjoyed them all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

RIP Budweiser

This morning I saw on Evan Rail's Twitter feed, and if you aren't following him you should be, that global brewing beast ABInBev have bought the Budweiser Bier trademark from Budějovicky mě??ansky pivovar aka Samson.

For years the three claimants to the "Budweiser" name have been engaged in a slugfest over the rights to that name in courts around the world. Sometimes the Czechs won and sometimes Anheuser-Busch came out on top. In the minds of most beer geeks though, there was only one "original Budweiser" and that was Budvar. Something of a strange choice for the "original Budweiser" given that they are 100 years younger than Samson and some 30 years younger than Anheuser-Busch.

Generally though I am not one for getting my knickers in a twist over a business deal, but there is a great sense of disbelief that of all the multinationals to hook up with, they have chosen their erstwhile nemesis. Rationally speaking it is just a business deal, but rationality can go out of the window for this, though I am sure the shareholders of Samson are rationalising their decision with abandon. Having taken on the Goliath for donkeys years, one half of the David has decided to take the filthy lucre.

So while you won't hear me banging the drum about "selling out", today I am sad that a brewery founded in 1795 and with roots that stretch back even further than that, has been swallowed up by a leviathan of the brewing world.


Here is the text of the ABIB press release about the deal:

"AB InBev and BMP (Budejovicky Mestansky Pivovar) have settled all their trademark disputes and AB InBev has acquired the rights to BMP's "Budweiser" trademarks."

Apparently, contrary to some reports, InBev have not bought the brewery, simply the rights to use the trademark "Budweiser". I imagine then that as Budějovicky mě??ansky pivovar trade as Samson, we will see a re-branding of the beers currently bearing the "Budweiser" mark under the Samson brand.

While I am saddened that they have sold the rights to the trademark, at the end of the day, regardless of the labelling, as long as the beer remains decent that is the important thing.

Now, someone on February 1st, pass me a Budvar.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Original Budweiser?

Regular followers of this blog will know that I love Czech beer, in fact I think Czech lager is the best on the planet by a long, long way. Even stuff that I wouldn't normally drink when I lived in Prague, such as Gambrinus or Staropramen, is better than many a lager from the rest of the world. From the ranks of the mass produced Czech lagers, Budvar has long been my favourite, so it may come as something of a surprise that I think the latest Budvar vs Budweiser stunt to be utterly pointless.

In case you haven't seen their tweets or Facebook page, Budvar in the UK are organising a taste test between "The Original" and "The Other", kind of like the Pepsi vs Coke challenge from the 1980s. I don't know why they feel the need to do a taste test, given the appalling nature of a palate that would be required not to be able to tell the difference.

My problem with the whole shenanigans isn't with trying to show that Budvar tastes far superior to Budweiser, that's pretty much a given. Rather, it is the use of the term "the Original" to describe Budvar, because it simply isn't true.

The dictionary definition of "original" includes the following:
  • belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something, or to a thing at its beginning
  • arising or proceeding independently of anything else
  • created, undertaken, or presented for the first time
  • being something from which a copy, a translation, or the like is made
  • a primary form or type from which varieties are derived
I guess Budvar have definitions 4 and 5 primarily in mind with their claims to be the "Original", though they also claim an element of the first definition, as the term "Budweiser" pertains the place of origin. However, the claim to be the "Original" is entirely spurious.

A quick history lesson, the year is 1795 in the Bohemian town called Budweis and there is a new brewery in town, the "Bürgerliches Brauhaus Budweis", which translates as the Budweis Citziens Brewery. The sign above, which I have posted many times on here, reads "Budweiser from the Original Source", made by the Bürgerliches Brauhaus Budweis. I have also posted a sign for Budweiser Porter, suggesting that "Budweiser" is not a description of any given beer style, but rather than appellation (I have no problem with Budvar claiming the appellation, after all they brew in Budweis - different argument). Today, the Bürgerliches Brauhaus Budweis is known by it's Czech name Budějovicky mě??ansky pivovar, and sells most of it beers under the brand name Samson, though in the USA it is known as "B.B. Bürgerbrau".

In 1875, the Bürgerliches Brauhaus Budweis started exporting its beer to the USA using the name Budweiser. In 1876, Anheuser-Busch started producing their own pale lager in St Louis, apparently based on Bohemian brewing techniques and sold under the name Budweiser.

Skipping back to Bohemia about 20 years later, to 1895, and a group of mainly Czech brewers in Budweis decide to establish their own brewery, Budějovicky Budvar was the result. A brewery that is 19 years younger than Anheuser-Busch and 110 years younger than the first organised brewery in Budweis.

I think it is a safe bet, given the post Pilsner Urquell brewing revolution that swept Central Europe, that Bürgerliches Brauhaus Budweis were brewing a pale lager a few decades before Budvar even got in on the act. As such, Budvar, while being superior to Budweiser, is far from being the "Original" beer from Budweis, that honour belongs to Budějovicky mě??ansky pivovar.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Difference Does It Make?

Giving a tour of the Starr Hill brewery a couple of Sundays ago, I was asked the following question:
  • What do craft brewers do that industrial brewers don't?
Difficult question as I am sure you can imagine. I think at the time I answered that in terms of pure process, there is probably very little difference between an industrial brewers and craft brewers other than, of course, scale.

When you look at the websites of major industrial brewing companies, you do get the sense that the brand is of primary importance rather than the beer. That is an understandable reaction when you look at sites for companies such as AB-Inbev, who have a multiple of brands within their business, and in some cases they own only the brand, and leave the brewing up to someone else. But I am not talking here about business procedures, after all, only an idiot starts a company with no intention of making a living out of it, either that or someone with enough money not to care. I am talking about their methods of making beer.

Unless they are hiding something, AB-InBev claim that only 5 ingredients go into Budweiser. Again, unless they are hiding something, their process for making Budweiser looks exactly like the process used by every single craft brewer on the planet, apart from the beechwood aging that is. Now, you can argue until you are blue in the fact about the use of rice in beer, from my understanding it came about because American consumers in the mid 19th century wanted a paler, lighter bodied lager. The fact though remains that for the beer drinking masses of that time, Budweiser was what they wanted, just as for many a beer drinker today, a hoppy IPA is what they want. You could almost argue then that Budweiser, and pale lager in general, was the 19th century equivalent of the modern American IPA - all the rage among the beer drinking classes (by the way, that was everyone, not just "middle class tossers" to quote from this excellent post here).

Ah yes I hear some say, but craft beer uses traditional ingredients. The question then becomes, traditional to where? The use of rye is traditional in German brewing traditions, of course German brewing being so much more than Bavarian brewing, though sometimes you have to wonder (and yes I know that the enforcement of Reinheitsgebot was a pre-requisite for Bavaria joining the single German nation state in 1871). But using rye in British brewing? There isn't much of a tradition to go on there, though I am sure that if I am wrong I will be told soon enough. Tradition is such a nebulous concept as to be irrelevant, at what point do you decide something is traditional? You could argue that rice in American lager is traditional, so should craft brewers be making American lagers that use rice, rather than co-opting a tradition from Germany or Bohemia?

We won't get into the whole use of various extracts and adjuncts thing here, especially as so many of the Belgian beers beloved of the craft beer cognoscenti use hop extract and sugar.

So, the ingredients are by and large the same, the processes are same, so what differentiates craft brewers from industrial brewers? In terms of something objective, the only difference is the size and scale of operations, and even that is up for debate. Sometimes this whole craft vs industrial debate sounds like kids in the playground and when one kids says "my dad is bigger than yours" the craft kid replies "but my dad punches with artisan style".

Thinking this all through has given me a new appreciation for the likes of AB-InBev and SABMiller, because for all their failings, they do produce well-made, quality products. Sure, they may not be the kinds of beer I want to drink on a regular basis, but you would have to be exceptionally pig-headed to claim that Budweiser  is a poorly made product. They may not be putting the ingredients together in a way that I enjoy, but there are an awful lot of people out there who like what they are doing.

I guess for me, at the end of this pondering and pontificating, it is simple. I drink the beers that I enjoy, regardless of the producer. So I will still drink Guinness on occasion, Pilsner Urquell in the right circumstances and something from Michelob when the mood strikes. Sure, mostly I will drink what is labelled "craft beer", but is it necessary to be fanatical about it? I think not, it is, after all, just beer. The important thing is to enjoy what you are drinking, who are drinking it with and where you are drinking it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When Budweisers Go Wrong

The plan was simple, to try all three of the beers which lay claim to the Budweiser name. having found a shop in Columbia, South Carolina which had not just Czechvar but also B.B. Bürgerbr?u I thought that this was going to be one of the most fun blind test tastings I had done in a while. Mrs Velkyal was in charge of bring out the three Budweisers, and the first two went swimmingly - I have drunk enough Budvar to know the difference between that and the American version. Then she brought out the third glass.

I was looking forward to the B.B. Bürgerbr?u because I couldn't remember trying any of the products from Budějovicky mě??ansky pivovar while I was in Prague. When it came though it looked like this:

Oh dear! What was going on there then? But I wasn't too worried as I had bought a six pack so I decided to just get another bottle and ditch the blind tasting. The first bottle I picked up looked like this:

Oh dear, oh dear! Every bottle had this foul scum floating in the bottle, an entire six pack rendered undrinkable - I had taken a couple of sips of the original glass and it was simply awful.

What was going on? Surely they filter the beer, so where did this stuff come from? Any thoughts?

Next time Mrs Velkyal and I go to visit the in-laws I will pick up some more Budvar (still haven't seen it in Virginia) and a pre-checked case of B.B. Bürgerbr?u in order to do a proper blind tasting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Things I Didn't Expect

I think the technical phrase for the jolly little surprises that come your way in life when you cross the ocean to take up a new life is "culture shock". I have been having it in spades in the last couple of weeks, and in almost every possible situation; pleasant immigration officers at Atlanta airport (those of you who have dealt with the Czech Foreign Police will no doubt know to what I refer); shops with nine million flavours of yogurt, but only one plain white; churches as ubiquitous as pubs in Prague; the feeling of not really being so "velky" after all; the list could go on and on.

A couple of things though stick in my mind, I will deal with the negative first off. Yesterday Mrs V and I went to her aunt's for dinner, as they don't drink we obviously weren't going to buy a bottle of vino as a gift, so in to Walmart we jaunted for a bunch of flowers. Walmart is another culture shock after 10 years of soul destroying Tesco - the variety of almost everything available is mind boggling at times, and the fact that someone packs your shopping bags for you and wishes you a pleasant day, a welcome change from the sour cashier in the Tesco on Narodni asking if you have a note smaller than 200k?, the near equivalent of $10.

The nasty shock though is Walmart's new alcohol sales policy - anyone who looks under the age of 40 must provide ID in order to walk away with their favourite tipple. Thankfully I keep a form of ID on me, but I find it remarkable that for 19 years after coming of age, people will be required to prove they are legally allowed to buy alcohol. No doubt Walmart and many of their ilk will cite insurance policies and the inevitable criminal prosecutions that would follow selling alcohol to minors, but if you are going to have such a ridiculous policy, why make someone who is clearly over 21 produce ID like some wannabe under-age booze baron? What happened to innocent until proven guilty, to trusting people to use their discretion?

The positive shock though was on going to to see what lovely crafty beer goodness they had, and seeing beers from a raft of my favourite British brewers; BrewDog and Wychwood to name but two. But on one aisle I found several Czech lagers that I hadn't expected to see in a million years, including ?atec, B.B. Burgerbrau (from the original brewery in Budweis! hint: it isn't Budvar) and Staropramen. Happily though, Budvar seems to be quite readily available, so when I have the urge to drink a good lager again I know I can get hold of something worthwhile.

Perverse as it may sound, I was actually quite glad to see the presence of Staropramen in the USA as it allows me to do a couple of taste tastings comparing the worst of Czech mainstream lager with the mainstream lagers here, the likes of Budweiser, Miller and Coors - masochistic I am sure, but certainly worth it for interest's and comedy's sake.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Another Beer Gone Missing

I suppose I should have taken a picture of the German language version of this sign when I was enjoying the lovely beer and atmosphere of Hotel Pegas in Brno last week. However, the table was full and I didn't want to be taking pictures over people's heads while they ate and drank.

The sign above quite simply translates as "Original Budweiser Porter" which I would assume was in the Baltic Porter style rather than the British style with it's origins in London. Personally I think the German version of this sign re-enforces the idea that "Budweiser" is an appellation, and has been used for a very long time to describe not just a brand, but beer from a given place.

I wonder what the Budweiser Porter was like, would it have been similar to the Pardubicky Porter? Hopefully when I get the relevant chapters of the History of Brewing Methods in Budweis covering the establishment of the Bürgerliches Br?uhaus Budweis I will have a clearer idea of what was being brewed in Budweis before the advent of both Anheuser-Busch and Budvar.

Those of you who follow my blog will have seen this picture before, which advertises a beer called Budweiser Urquell, in the same vein as Pilsner Urquell is Pilsner from the original source.

When I contacted the brewery to find out the provenance and dating of this sign, I was unfortunately told that they didn't know when it came from. I find that sad.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Swimming in Beer History

Of all the beer blogs I read, there is one that I find endlessly fascinating - Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. I must admit that I never thought I would become so intriqued by brewing ingredients, gravities and practices, but so it would seem, and once I am safely ensconced on the other side of the Atlantic I intend to get a "proper" home brew kit and start making some the recipes which Ron has been posting of late.

As I said a couple of weeks back, I want to learn more about the history of Bohemian brewing - in particular the pre-Pilsner Urquell days. Thus it was that I started searching the online catalogues of the Czech National Archive for references to beer pre-1842, mostly I was looking for information about brewing history in ?eské Budějovice - an interest no doubt piqued by the metal sign in ?esky Krumlov advertising Budweiser Urquell.

Then lightning struck my brain, and yes it hurt, why would documents about brewing in Budweis be in the Czech National Archive? Bohemia was for centuries part of the German speaking world, first as part of the Holy Roman Empire (full name: The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation), and more latterly the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From 1526 until 1918 Bohemia, as well as Moravia and Silesia, was under Habsburg rule, so surely the place to look would be the Austrian National Archive?

One quick search later and a book with an almost impossibly accurate title turns up - Geschichte des Br?uwesens in Budweis, which basically translates as the History of Brewing Methods in Budweis. Now I am trying to get my hands on a copy of the text, although I understand the Austrian archive doesn't have an electronic copy of the text.

One of the most interesting things about the book itself is that it was published in 1895, the year that the Budvar Brewery was founded, so it should be ideal for discovering what kind of beers were being brewed in Budweis by the German dominated Bürgerliches Br?uhaus.

Here's hoping....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Manifesto Emerging...

Drinking beer is great, writing about is fun too but I really don't want Fuggled to become a mere diary of the beers I drink. I think that is one of the reasons I decided to make my own beer, to get a greater appreciation and handle on the process of making the drink the world loves. The joy and wonder I got from watching little bubbles of CO2 plop out of the blowoff tubes was unexpected, as was my frustration at slopping beer over the floor because bottling was more tricky than I imagined - hence yesterday I went and bought one of the jerry cans with a tap on the front.

Of the six bottles of EDM I managed to fill on Sunday, the stronger of the beers is still bubbling occasionally so I am leaving it in the fermentor an extra few days, I got great delight to see that they have dropped bright, and my beer has very little cloudiness in it. I still don't know how fully how it tastes, but we shall see in a couple of weeks once conditioning is done.

All this though has led me to think more about beer than I ever used to, how it has developed and changed, particularly in the Czech context at the moment. Some questions that have popped into my head of late:
  • Why was Plzeň beer so bad before 1842?
  • What beer did the Bürgerliches Br?uhaus Budweis originally make?
  • What were the various monasteries in Prague brewing?
  • What beer styles is Prague water naturally suited to?

So many questions, and so I will spending a lot of time reading, asking questions and if I find the answers, trying to re-create some old Bohemian beers.

But why stop there? I am glad that brewers like Pivovar Náchod and Pivovar Kocour Varnsdorf are broadening the range of styles available on the Czech market, but what about brewing old style Bohemian beer as well? Why must the Czech market be so enslaved to pale golden lager?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What's in a name?

I saw the sign below at the Eggenberg Brewery in ?esky Krumlov and found it very interesting. For those of you who don't have any German it says "Budweiser from the Original Source", just as Pilsner Urquell is "Pilsner from the Original Source".

The sign goes on to state that this "Budweiser Urquell" is brewed at the Burgers' Brewery in Budweis, which is the German name for the modern city of ?eské Budějovice. The Burgers' Brewery in Budweis, according to the sign was founded in 1795, some 60 years before the Bavarian Brewing Company was founded in the US - it was this brewery that would become Anheuser-Busch. Indeed the Burger's Brewery in Budweis, which is today the Budějovicky mě??ansky Pivovar - "Town Brewery of Budweis", is 100 years older than the makers of Budvar.

By the time the Bavarian Brewing Company had been renamed in 1860 the Burger's Brewery of Budweis had been selling under the brand name "Budweiser Bier" for over half a century.

According to Shakespeare, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet - the converse must also be true, call a beer made with rice what you will, it won't change the fact that it is dish water.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...