Pivovar Hradec Králové - Lev Lion Pale Double Bock

Pivovar Hradec Králové - Lev Lion Pale Double Bock

Beer Club featured in U.S. & International Variety Beer Club International Beer Club


Czech Republic

Alcohol by Volume:


Pivovar Hradec Králové - Lev Lion Pale Double Bock

  • ABV:

  • Serving Temperature:

    50° F
The first documented account of brewing in the Czech territories dates from 1088. In those days, both beer production and consumption were limited to the home, thus, most citizens had their own “microbrewery”. Inevitably, the citizenry banded together to form the first unofficial microbreweries, cleverly splitting the brewing steps such that the final stages were still completed in their homes. As the ruling monarchy eventually realized the monetary potential of a beer brewing industry, full fledged breweries were ultimately permitted and thus, the first Czech brewery was born in the town of Cerhenice in 1118. The U Fleku microbrewery in Prague has been in operation since 1499 and is still in operation to this day. Put that in historical perspective by considering that Columbus discovered the new world just seven years prior! Considering this historical context, the Lev Lion beers produced by Pivovar Hradec Králové are relatively new additions to the beer world, arriving some time after the brewery was founded in 1844. Yup, a trio of real youngsters alright. Like many youngsters, the Lev Lion Pale Double Bock is a bit mischievous—it carries a somewhat misleading title. This is not a traditional double bock like any ending in the beer lexicon suffix “-ator” such as Ayinger’s Celebrator or Paulaner’s Salvator. But the word “bock” has come to mean many things in the world of beery vocabulary, representing anything from the traditional, 7-8% ABV, ultra malty bocks of southern Bavaria to light and crisp pilsner-like 5% ABV lagers. Lev Lion is an example of this latter category. The “bock”, in our estimation, refers to the subtle complexity present in its flavor, as result of a unique brewing recipe. This is a bright, golden beer with a frothy, dense head. The nose is loaded with light hops scents, but dominated by notes of apple and pear. We found this beer to be smooth, light-to-medium-bodied, with crisp grain and gently fruity flavors. The finish is mildly bitter and quite crisp, with a long-lasting aftertaste that develops further spicy, herbal notes. The Lev Lion Pale Double Bock will go well with a variety of foods including grilled salmon, Caesar salads, or fried chicken.
Members of the International Beer of the Month Club who have been subscription holders for the past few months will likely have observed that a particular beer-loving country has been represented among our monthly features again and again: The Czech Republic. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Make that many good reasons! There are currently over 300 small breweries in the Czech Republic, which has a total area just smaller than the state of South Carolina. With a populous of about 8 million people, that’s quite a few breweries per capita. Perhaps not surprisingly then, the Czech Republic boasts the highest per capita beer consumption figures in the world. After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic achieved a major beer victory: first place in beer consumption per capita (many Slovaks prefer to drink wine and thus had pulled down the per capita values prior to the split).The results from a 1998 study completed by the German Brewers Association showed that the Czechs were not only number one in this ranking, but they were number one by a large margin. The study revealed that, per capita, the Czech people drink approximately 334 U.S. pints per year. That’s about a beer a day per man, woman and child (and if you consider that the youngsters probably aren’t tossin’ back too many of those pints, that’s a heck of a lot of beer per adult drinker)! Not England, Ireland or even Germany can compete with these stats. Of course, if Bavaria were to secede from Germany, the crown could potentially pass from our Czech friends to their Bavarian neighbors. The Czechs consider beer part of their daily life; they will often drink beer with breakfast, lunch, and dinner; after work, or before it, and often during it (on lunch break, of course!) This heritage of brew drinking has a long history behind it. The Czechs have nearly a millennium of beer-brewing experience under their belts. Local agricultural conditions are ideal for growing hops, and their cultivation in Bohemia has been chronicled as far back as 859 A.D., while the first evidence of their export dates back to 903 A.D.. These hops were exported to Germany via the Elbe River to the Hamburg hops market in 1101, and to this day the world still cherishes Bohemian (or Czech) Saaz hops. Spawned from this bastion of brewing is Lev Lion Pale Double Bock, brewed by Pivovar Hradec Králové in Eastern Bohemia. Hradec Králové means “Queen’s Castle” and the town had been the summertime retreat for Czech Royalty for centuries. In 1844, the many breweries located throughout the town were brought together in one small brewery, located right next to the classic Gothic cathedral in the town square, officially forming the Pivovar Hradec Králové. The brewery’s primary beers have all been awarded high praise and respectable accolades. The Lev Black Lion, a classic Czech “tmave”, or “dark” beer, was awarded the Gold Medal in the “Beer of the Czech Republic 2000”. It is a rich, sweetly malted brew with distinct coffee notes, finishing with a light fruity hop finish. The Lev Lion Lager was also a Gold Medal winner in the “Beer of the Czech Republic 2000” (a good year for the brewery to say the least). It is a premium quality, hand crafted full-bodied pilsner style lager, with an unmistakably Czech, crisp and clean, hoppy, dry finish. The Lev Lion Pale Double Bock is the beer we chose to feature this month—and if you’d like to read more about it, look no further than the next paragraph. For more information about the Czech Republic and Czech beer culture, look no further than the following website: http://www.radio.cz/en/article/46095.
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