Beer Profile: Czechvar

This week The Professor introduces a new writer here at the beer section of LTS. Tom is a homebrewer, lives in Southern California and has tried over 200 beers.

Reviewed by Tom Becham

The first beer I tried this weekend was a Czech lager called Czechvar. A little history: the Czech city of Budovice (Budvar in German) is the home of a beer style called Budweiser. Technically, like Pilsener from Pilsen or Champagne from the champagne region of France, even an exact replica of the style cannot call itself Budweiser if it is not from Budvar. Thus, Czechvar (which is called Budweiser Budvar everywhere outside of America) and Anheuser Busch have been embroiled in legal battles for almost 100 years, since Anheuser Busch has copyrighted the name Budweiser in THIS country.

One can see why there are legal disputes upon tasting Czechvar. At best, American Budweiser is a mockery of the Budweiser style.

I tried Czechvar with a sushi dinner, figuring the delicate pale lager flavors would go well with the delicate tastes of the fish. Indeed, it was an ideal pairing.

A classic Budweiser-style lager is very much like a pilsener, but a much richer, darker gold in color, which Czechvar is. Unlike the cheap American copies, the aroma reveals plenty of malt (and NO cheap rice or corn adjuncts) and Saaz hops. The taste is a malty, biscuity taste at the front of the palate, transforming to a refreshing grassy hop bitterness at the back of the tongue. The bitterness, while intense, does not last long, and does not overwhelm the flavors of food.

Czechvar is a classic. While pale lagers are still not my favorite style of beers, I can appreciate one which is as finely made as Czechvar. Do yourself a favor and give it a try, especially if the only Budweiser you’ve ever tasted comes from St. Louis. The difference is like the difference between a horse-drawn cart and a Ferrari.

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