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Budweis - Home To The Beer Of Kings
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
České Budějovice is a beautiful old city in the south of Bohemia. Its name is worldwide known for its famous beer - the Budweiser Bier, which has been brewed in Budejovice ever since the 14th century.
However, when the Czech brewer wished to start exporting his Budweiser Bier into the markets beyond those of the Old Continent he found out that another Budweiser already existed, and that Anheuser-Busch already had the trademark registered in the United States.
"Budweiser" means the beer of the Budweis region, same as Champagne in France describes the wine of the Champagne wineries. Logically, the Czechs claim to have the right to the name from long before the Americans (Anheuser Busch) even started beer brewing, but after returning to the USA from a tour of Europe in the 1870s, German immigrant Carl Conrad, who was a drinks salesman in St. Louis, attempted, at home, to reproduce certain beers that he had come across on his trip, particularly those that he sampled in what is now the Czech Republic. When he was happy with the beer that mimicked the one that he had tasted in Budweis, he asked his brewer friend, fellow German immigrant Adolphus Busch, to brew it commercially for him. Adolphus ran the brewery for his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser.
From a taste point of view there is no contest between the genuine Budweiser Budvar and Anheuser Busch's (A-B) Budweiser. On draught, the Czech Republic "Budweiser Budvar" is a truly wonderful drink. Beers from Budweis were the "Beers of Kings". But even this expression was adapted by the American brewery for its main beer and then registered as their trademark: "King of Beers". This is an absolute joke, since the US concoction does not come close to true Budweiser beers when it comes to what really matters: taste. But then, what would one expect from a brew in which a large proportion of the mash was rice, compared to 100% malt for the Czech product? Then there is the prestigious Saaz hops used in the Czech beer, the much longer conditioning (lagering) time, etc, etc.
Knowing the sad history of Budweiser Beer it's not surprising that the centre of České Budějovice is remarkably poorly served for pubs. The main square - which you would expect to be lined with boozers - only has a couple. Of those few pubs in the center, very few sell beer from the two local breweries. As in the rest of the Czech Republic, SABMiller in the form of Pilsner Urquell and Inbev with Staropramen, dominate. I couldn't find a single outlet for the town's smaller and less well-known Měšťanský Pivovar brewery.
June 27th, 2012
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