Wednesday, August 4, 2010

International Beer of the Week: Žatec

Country: Czech Republic

Beer Style: Czech Pilsener

Best Enjoyed:  -In the old town of Žatec
                          -Anywhere in Prague anytime

Žatec(pronounced zshates), the self titled "Finest of Czech Beers," is brewed in the town of the same name.  The town of Žatec (from which the beer takes it's name), or Saaz in German has been world renowned for its hop cultivation for nearly 1000 years and today Saaz hops account for  more than 2/3 of the total hop production in the Czech Republic. Given the town's famous 'hoppy' history it should be no wonder that since it's founding and to this day Žatec Pilsener continues to be awarded accolades numerous times at various shows and exhibitions.

The Society of Žatec Privileged Brewers was established in Žatec in 1261 and such a demand for their beer was created that it was finally decided to build a new brewery in 1797.  Žatec brewery announced the commencement of brewing on July 26, 1800 and in 1801  brewed 840 kegs containing 4,200,000 liters of beer.Today the brewery produces a range of beers popular in Czech republic however they have failed to gain the international success of Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser Budvar (Czechvar in North America).  Žatec brewery is one of only two Czech breweries with a tradition of continuously brewing beer in a single location for over 700 years. With all that experience one hopes that the beer lives up to the hype.

When poured from the bottle the beer is medium straw to golden in colour with a tight white cap of head that fades quickly, leaving some thin patches.
To taste is of sweet malt up front  fading into floral hoppiness, and then slightly drying at the end. Very easy to drink with the low ABV (4.6%) and light body.  Overall a fairly tasty and refreshing example of a classic Czech Pilsener and perhaps truly in the running to be "The Finest of Czech Beers."

Na zdravi! (cheers)
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