BeerTalk

A Czech Lager Comparison

Choosing a Lager- Are the Microbrews Always Better?

   
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With the surge in breweries still going, there’s quite often a new lager to try in your neighborhood pub or beer shop.

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In the recent past, the selection of beers in specialty beer shops has greatly expanded, especially for ales. But during the heat of summer, nothing quenches thirst as well as good, cold lager. As our glasses have emptied time and again, we found ourselves asking a question; when considering that lagers from newer microbreweries are more expensive, are these lagers really better than those from older breweries?

So we chose 5 lagers that aren’t too difficult to find around town and did first a blind tasting followed by a taste analysis of each beer. The possibilities of what lagers to choose are endless, but we wanted beers that have different prices and that are all 12 or 11 degrees. 

For our tasting, we chose Krakonoš 12°, Všerad 11°, Chotěboř Prémium 12°, Sedlák 12°, and Nostalgie 12° from Pivovar Bizon. Všerad’s light lager is one we almost always have stocked in the fridge. Pivovar Bizon’s lagers we find consistently enjoyable. We’ve sampled Sedlák’s beer many times at the Jiřího z Poděbrad farmer’s market. Krakonoš and Chotěboř are 2 bigger and older breweries that we used to also enjoy which are very affordably priced.

All the beers were poured into tasting glasses and labeled with numbers. We ordered them from 1 to 5, based on which we liked the flavor of best. Our results were- #1 Všerad, #2 Nostalgia, #3 Sedlák, #4 Krakonoš, and #5 Chotěboř.

Our top beer, Všerad’s light lager, was in general a more subtle beer; the flavors of malt and hops were more blended, adding more depth. The freshness of this beer is also what sets it apart. At the bottom of the list was Chotěboř. We found that the most striking difference was in freshness. Chotěboř tasted completely abysmal; the bitterness seemed stale and almost sour, leaving the taste of malt too dominant and sharp.

None of these beers had much of an aroma, but Nostalgia had the most distinct, smelling of malt. Nostalgia is sweeter, with a more malty body, but balanced with a hoppy fresh sharp edge. Sedlák’s lager also had a nice balance of hops and malt, and again, had a noticeable freshness. Krakonoš, by far the best bargain of the beers we tasted, was much rougher, and even a bit astringent when compared to the others.

The most important observation was that the lagers made by newer microbreweries have a more dominant taste of hops, a fresher mouthfeel and crisp edge, compared to a more one dimensional malty body of the older, bigger breweries.

Our conclusion is that for us, considering the better, fresher taste, it’s worth a few extra crowns for a good microbrew lager, like Všerad. But if you’re short on cash a Krakonoš would surely do the job.

 

# Beer Price/0.5l
#1 Všerad 11° 40 CZK
#2 Bison Nostalgie 12° 45 CZK
#3 Sedlák 12° 32 CZK
#4 Krakonoš 12° 24 CZK
#5 Chotěboř Prémium 12° 26 CZK
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