Pivovar Liberec-Vratislavice - Konrad ESO Polotmavý
- ABV: 4.6%
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Flute or Mug
Polotmavý is an indigenous Czech style of beer that straddles the boundaries of light and dark lager. It's often compared to the German märzen (Oktoberfest) style, although polotmavý tends to be a bit hoppier. On the pour, this brew struck us as very attractive, presenting a clear ambery-red color with plenty of off-white foam that leaves some lacing as it drops. Expect aromas of crusty bread and light caramel, overlaid with a mild touch of clean hops. We found it very well-balanced, with some mild residual sweetness countered by mild to moderate Saaz noble hops. The malts are not shy as they deliver toasty bread notes and some nuttiness. A touch of spice, grass, and a hint of citrus zest from the hops adds dimension and character. This polotmavý finishes with a toasty note and a touch of lingering hop acidity that helps clear the palate and invite your next sip. Pair this with fried chicken, grilled pork chops, or a snack of pepper jack cheese. Na zdraví!
Like many European breweries, the brewery in Liberec, Czech Republic traces its roots back pretty far. The brewery's first beer hit the market in 1874 to a warm welcome among the local beer-loving people. However, after an initial period of growth, the brewery fell on hard times due to financial issues, crop failures, and new competition. In 1877 it looked like the game was up – production was halted and assets were earmarked for liquidation.
Thankfully, the brewery's investors managed to keep the business alive, and with the help of a local family who joined the business, the brewery resumed production after two years of closure. By 1887, production was booming and the brewery employed 76 people. The good times continued through the 1890s, which was a great decade marked by expansion, numerous medals and awards, and even a visit from Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I.
Fast forward to 1989 and the Velvet Revolution, which, after decades of communist rule, restored democracy to Czechoslovakia (which would soon break into the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Under communism, the brewery, like all other manufacturing facilities, had been a state-owned business, but by 1992 it had been fully privatized. Sadly, the brewery became a victim of the mega-brewery consolidation trend that swept through Europe around that time. In 1996, Bass International Breweries bought a controlling share in the Liberec Brewery along with many other Czech breweries, and merged them all into one company. Two years later, they closed the brewery in Liberec, much to the chagrin of the local populace and employees.
But, the brewery would rise from the dead after a two year hiatus once again. A Czech company, Hols SpA, came to the rescue, taking over the brewery and investing heavily in new technology. The beer began to flow once more, now under the brand name Konrad, inspired by a local brewer from the late 19th century. Ten different Konrad beers are produced by the brewery, although very little sees export to the U.S. This month, we're excited to be able to bring you an authentic taste of the Czech Republic. Cheers!
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