Pivovar Herold - Golden Revolution

Pivovar Herold - Golden Revolution

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Imperial Pilsner

Country:

Czech Republic

Alcohol by Volume:

9.00%

Pivovar Herold - Golden Revolution

  • Alcohol by Volume: 9.00%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 40-45° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Pokal or Flute Glass
  • Malts: Not available, but it's obvious there were LOTS of each!
  • Hops: Not available, but it's obvious there were LOTS of each!
Great presentation—the label shows a crowd who's had enough and ain't afraid to advertise the coming revolution. All that discontent packaged in a wine bottle, cork-finished and caged; the parallels to the velvet revolution are obvious. Now, the idea that we'd need to dethrone the Czech Pilsner is a bit ballsy, for sure; but the brewers clearly have faith that this beer will lead people to question everything. Pours a golden straw-honey color, with a 2-finger-thick head from a hard pour. Very few carbonation jets are visible; just a few bubbles here and there rise slowly, a signal of a higher viscosity/gravity brew. Maintains an eternal covering and thick collar that laces nicely. The nose presents a big bouquet of floral, rose petal-like notes, mixed with raw honey, Muscat grapes, a hint of herbal earthiness and a kiss of must. Zero sulfur-notes to speak of in this Pilsner, and caramel blossoms as it warms, with a backing of fresh wort and grains. On the palate, there's a rush of sweetness, the amount of which is quite unexpected for a traditional Czech pilsner, but this sucker's been "imperialized" by none other than Sam Calagione, owner and founder of Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery, a brewery known for its high-gravity, sweet, envelope-pushing, mold-busting beers. Expect notes of honey, white grapes, alcohol heat, saffron, and a Riesling-like tone wrapped in ripe red apple pie. At full warmth, there's a saltwater taffy flavor that emerges. This beer is sweet and round, but contrastingly, the sweet surge is replaced by a very dry, almost chalky, earthy hop character that really grabs the roof of the mouth, back of the throat, and front third of the tongue, drying things out nicely—which is a must for a pilsner, particularly one of this magnitude and hefty a grain bill. It all has a ghost-like whisper of the Pivovar Herold's traditional pilsner, amped up Calagione-style. Dogfish Head's own stab at the style, "Golden Shower Imperial Pilsner" (later renamed to "Golden Era"), has a similar flavor profile to this beer, but Golden Revolution is not a reformulation, it's a reinterpretation using Czech ingredients and brewing techniques. It's considerably drier than the Dogfish Head version and does stick a bit closer to the traditional characters found in well-made Czech pilsners. Substitute port with this beer, serving as a digestif.
Translation: Herald Brewery Country: Czech Republic Regional Locale: Central Western Czech Republic Official Language: Czech How To Say Beer There: Pivo (pronounced: pee-vo) Continent: Europe The history of beer brewing in the Czech Republic is much older than the country's current borders. Chronicled evidence reveals that hops from the region were exported as far back as 903 A.D., and that hop growing regions had been established by as early as 859 A.D. Bohemian hops were so prized that at one point, the penalty for cutting and exporting the hops for cultivation elsewhere was punishable by death. The first Czech brewery was built in 1118, in bold disobedience of an order by the Bishop of Prague banning brewing (the violation of which carried excommunicative consequences). The order was annulled by Pope Innocent IV when King Wenceslas negotiated the repeal on behalf of his people. Bringing beer to the people! Certainly, he earned his title "Good King Wenceslas." How ironic that he was slain by his drunken brother. Until the 16th century, brewing was not practiced in large breweries, but rather in the kitchens and pantries of town houses. Ultimately, the noble classes began to run various sorts of business at their estates, and this shifted brewing out of local homes and into palaces and castles, which typically possessed their own on-site breweries. The beer brewed in these breweries was sold in local public houses for the serfs to enjoy. And enjoy they did; brewing became huge business, adding to the fortunes of noble families through the centuries. One of these once-regal brewing facilities is located in a castle in the town of Breznice, located about 40 miles due south of the Czech capital, Prague. The ancient tradition of brewing in this town goes back to at least the 15th century and is chronicled in a 1454 document that names Mikes Vanek, a maltster (one who produces malted barley and/or wheat), as the Breznice village mayor. The castle at Breznice dates back to at least 1415, and the first documented reference to a brewery traces to the year 1506 (hence the date on the Herold beer labels). That makes this year their 502nd anniversary, which is an astonishing milestone if you think about it! They are one of the oldest functioning breweries in the Czech Republic. The small brewery of the castle, now called Pivovar Herold, lies in what was originally a Gothic structure that was ultimately expanded and redesigned in renaissance and baroque styles. The estate has been owned by numerous noble families, and under them, the brewery was in nearly constant use and revitalization, even with its tumultuous turnovers. Despite the various takeovers and new owners, beer brewing remained a critical tradition (even when taken over by a devout Catholic who added to the castle a new chapel and had a Jesuit seminary constructed nearby). Under Communist rule, the brewery was seized and taken over by the state. As with so many other trades, the communists squeezed as much money as possible out of the industry by minimizing self-investment. Interestingly, there was an unexpected positive consequence to the Communists' lack of investment in the facility: without major modernization over the years, the Herold Brewery still makes beer the old-fashioned way, using traditional methods, equipment, and ingredients. While subsequent owners have modernized certain components of the brewery, Pivovar Herold still makes most of its own malt, in the Pilsner style, from local barley—highly uncommon for most commercial breweries operating today. So where does the name Herold come from? It was selected from the symbol of the herald, or spokesman of the king, seen on the coat of arms present at the brewery at the Breznice castle. It's appropriate because the brewery has historically been an integral part of the castle, and it's clever since the name has virtually the same meaning in most northern European languages. Given the royal heritage of the brewery, and the caliber of this beer, we agree that it suitably represents its noble past! For more information about the brewery, check out their website at www.heroldbeer.com.
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