Czech Beers . Seeing the Light

TheWife recently returned from a business trip to the Czech Republic. I made her promise that she'd birng me a couple of Czech beers, and she came through in spades! Today, I'll be chatting about the Pilseners she brought. Other beers and the herbal concoctions she brought back for me will have to wait.

Now, I know that Czech beer is rated quite highly in the world. After all, they invented the pilsener style. The pilsner style comes from Plzen, and Pilsner Urquell is, as the name says, the original beer from Plzen. And I'll bet it's damned good on tap. Unfortunately, they bottle it in green bottles. They do the same thing with the Budvar (the original Budweiser, no relation to Anheuser Busch's sex in a canoe beer). Green bottle storage means that Budvar tastes like... Special Ex. Yes, it's lightly hopped and, thanks to green bottles, lightly skunked. This is the reason I stopped buying imported beer. Inevitably, they package it in clear or green bottles, letting light hit the compounds extracted from the hops, and creating the scent and flavor of a skunks butt. Yum.

Please note that Pilsner Urquell is different from Budvar and Special Ex. Since it's more strongly hopped, it is more strongly skunked. The really sad part - I can tell the Urquell would be delicious if it had been kept from light. The head was goregous, tall, white and creamy. The beer itself felt creamy in the mouth, and there is a more than generous serving of hops in each sip. A lovely beer... if it hadn't been ruined.

Fortunately, we needn't suffer with beers damaged by substandard storage. There are a multitude of golden American beers with solid hop flavor, most of them packaged in brown bottles. I'd say that the bitterness of Pilsener Urquell clocks in a bit below Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. But Sierra Nevada puts their beer in amber bottles, preserving the 'Yum', and keeping the flavor of skunk rectum out of my mouth. Or for those who prefer an more local product (and who happen to live in Wisconsin, like me), I'd suggest Lakefront's Cream City Pale Ale. It's well-balanced, and came on the scene before the over-hopping that ruined many a beer really caught on.

So let's tally that up. Czech beers: 0 American beers: 2

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