Pivovar Herold - Herold 14° Bohemian Bronze Lager
- Alcohol by Volume: 5.8%
- Malts: Made with both locally-produced Czech and Caramel Malts
- Hops: Saaz
This is a beer from the country that gave us the terms pilsner, and Budweiser. Pilsner is, of course, a style named after the town of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. And Budweiser is a brand name on several beers, derived from the town name of Budweis, in the south of Bohemia.
This beer also comes from the south of Bohemia, from the town of Breznice. It was once an aristocratic town, and in fact the beer was originally made in an aristocrat’s castle. There is evidence of brewing in Breznice that goes back to the 1300’s. This brewery as an enterprise dates from the 1500’s, so it will soon be celebrating its 500th birthday. The brewery buildings date from the 1700’s, and they are still very much like a castle in appearance. During the communist period in the Czech Republic, or Czechoslovakia as it then was, this was a very small research brewery that would try new things, and test materials.
Since the Velvet Revolution, and the Czech Republic has become a free country again, the brewery has proceeded with some help from American investment. It
is a delightful brewery that is very famous for its dark beer, and it also has some paler beers.
I would call this one a bronze color, perhaps, with a very good Czech Bohemian Saaz hops aroma. It’s a very fresh, herbal aroma. Quite a big, firm malt background. The malt and hop are really in very good balance, but it’s more than a good balance. It’s almost an interplay, as though at one moment the hops seem to be winning, and the next moment the malt seems to be winning. But it is a lively tasting beer.
In the Czech Republic it’s described as being 14 degrees. That means 14° balling, or plato, which is a measure of the fermentable sugars in the beer, rather like brix in wine. It’s not 14% alcohol, it’s round about 6% alcohol. It says 5.8% on the label, but it could be slightly more, I think. There’s a little tolerance there, and that’s precisely how I feel we have to be. You really can’t be precisely accurate as to how a strong beer will emerge.
It is very much, if you like, in the style that the Germans would call “export”. That style is associated with Germany and the city of Dortmund. To me it’s a little tastier than today’s German exports in terms of its malt and hop character, there is more flavor coming out of this beer. It’s a very moreish beer; the kind that you have a drink of, and you put it down and that hoppy dryness just begins to kick in and arouse the appetite. Before you know it, you are having another one, and before long the glass is gone and you’re thinking about ordering another. It’s a very sociable kind of beer, maybe a bit on the strong side for a session beer, but for one of those nights that you want more of an overall taste experience. A good one to mull and puzzle over, and see what flavors you get out of it. See if you get that silky smoothness of the Moravian malt, and that wonderful, flowery, herbal dryness of the Bohemian hops.
It’s a very good example of the Czech brewer’s art. Club members have already tasted the dark. Try this pale, as well, and see what you make of it. Nastrovia, cheers.
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