The Other Budweiser: Budvar, Art Nouveau and Beer in Prague

This Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour post continues to explore the beers of the Czech Republic after last Monday’s Three Roses Brewery.

150 days of travel find us walking the streets of Prague. Art Nouveau plasters its buildings. The facade of the Municipal House draws us in.

Art Nouveau Facade PragueIt has a fantastic theater, tiled stairways, but this is Wayward Wine. Downstairs we find the glamorous basement beer hall. Depictions of grain harvests color the bar and we wish to stay here.

Art Nouveau Beer HallBut service was still waking up: it was too early.  We wander out.  Deeper into old town, we find the Neoclassic-tastic Estates Theater, where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni:

Mozart Prague OperaA few more narrow allies in, we find U Medvidku Brewery.  Starving, we head down into its beer hall: another basement, low-arched, and stuccoed, and finally serving beer.

Budvar Beer Hall U Medvidku BreweryWe point at options on the Czech menu: including some unpronounceable potato pie dish, as well as two Budvar.

Founded in 1895, Budvar expanded massively, and was soon exported under the name Budweiser: which turns out to be a generic German term meaning a product, like beer, from a city.  However, two Budweiser could not coexist. After over 100 years of legal war, Budvar became Czechvar in the US, while Budweiser lost its copyright in the EU. It turns out “this Bud’s not for EU”…get it? Sorry…

But how does Czech’s very own Budweiser taste?

Budvar lager: Appearance: looks a clear, light amber, with narrow white lace. Aromas: smell clean, mild like honey and apple. The Palate: feels dry, moderately tart, mildly bitter, with medium alcohol.  Flavors taste mildly of wheat bread, gold pear, and simple herb of medium length. Budvar’s lager is simple, session-able, and good (3 of 5).
Next, their dark (yes dark) lager:

Budvar Dark Lager PragueIt looks a clear, pronounced (i.e. black) red, with thin, small-fizzed cream-colored lace. Aromas smell clean and quietly of fresh-roast coffee. The Palate feels dry, with medium acid, medium grainy bitterness, medium alcohol, and a medium minus body. Flavors taste of medium intense tap coffee, with slight hop bitterness, and light chocolate. The length is quick, but this dark lager is easy and interesting enough (playing well with the pepper of the potatoes). Good 3 of 5.

Now, reviews of mass-produced lager are super exciting. But fret no not. Next Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour will cover the brewery we were actually in: U Medvidku.

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2 Responses to The Other Budweiser: Budvar, Art Nouveau and Beer in Prague

  1. Pingback: Prague’s U Medvidku Microbrewery | WAYWARD WINE

  2. Many thanks for the nice post, it was very interesting and informative to learn about the beautiful architecture.

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