15 April 2010

Czech Coors says hop

I happened across some Žatec lager in Redmond's the other week. It is, it seems, the genuine article: brewed in the brewery of the same name in the town of the same name with the hop of the same name (though known more commonly in English as Saaz). But unlike the usual imported pils, the label copy is all in English: if the good citizens of Žatec get to see any of it, it won't have this label on. The small print says it's imported by Coors UK, seemingly intended exclusively for the British market. Could be it's then independently imported to Ireland, or else it's part of the new and growing Coors operation here.
(pssst, Coors Ireland: any chance you could squeeze a case or two of White Shield onto the truck next to the Carling and Caffrey's? Just asking.)

The large print on the label, after spraffing on typically about pure this and finest that, claims the beer is brewed "with no additives or artificial carbonation". What?! Are they actually claiming that this clear golden pils is bottle conditioned? Or was somebody just pasting from the Big Book of Bland Beer Label Text that all the macros use. I dunno. It's odd either way.

I suppose I should say something about the beer, then. It's nice. Mostly dry and slightly bitter on the finish -- certainly not loaded with grassy Saaz as the name might imply. It's light and sessionable, though I'm glad it came out of my beer fridge at 10°C as any colder and the flavour would have vanished completely.

In short it's a decent drinking pils, one step above cooking lager, but not a huge one. You'd be better off with something cheap where the can has text in twelve languages.


  1. PK the Bud2:15 pm

    "Are they actually claiming that this clear golden pils is bottle conditioned?"

    Not necessarily. Carbonation can take place in a fermentation tank.

  2. To the levels required by a commercial mass-market lager?

  3. As I understand it, conditioning tanks are pressurised, so yes, it's perfectly possible to get all the fizz by natural carbonation.

    The last time I tried Zatec I thought it was awful, but a friend swears blind that I once came round his house raving about it, so it behooves me to give it another chance. Fortunately I think I might get the chance to taste it again at the weekend without deliberately spending any money on it.

  4. People were getting very excited about it a few years back but, when we tried it at the Rake, we couldn't see what the fuss was about. Not unpleasant but lacking 'oomph'. I've had it a few times recently because one of our local shops stocks it and it's grown on me a little -- when it's super fresh, the hops are quite apparent.

  5. It is possible to trap the carbon dioxide from fermentation in modern sealed brewing vessels especially when the beer is chilled right down.

    I'm trying it at Trouble without much luck at the moment. I am afraid I'll burst a tank because I don't know enough about the volumes of gas being produced.