A Czech Lager Comparison: Old School Lagers A Look Back at Yesterdays Lagers

For our next article about Czech lagers, we’ve taken 5 lagers made by smaller scale industrial breweries that 8 or so years ago would have been considered a real find on a Prague tap. As we know, Prague’s beer scene has greatly changed along with our palates. Nevertheless, it’s nice to look back and compare how drastically Prague beer culture has changed in such a short time.

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During this tasting, we chose 5 12° lagers: Chodovar Prezident, Hubertus Premium, Bakalář, Poutník Premium, and Klášter Premium. Overall, they all had remarkably similar highly malted bodies, a rich crystal gold color, and a slight grainy aroma of malt. The bitterness is what separated them; the poorest beer, in our opinion, lacked the necessary balance that such a malty body requires, while the best beer was much more well balanced due to a nice hoppy bite.

At the top of our list was Bakalář. Like other Czech lagers, it started with a light grainy, bready aroma, and had the characteristic malty body, which was also the fullest of any of the 5 beers we tried. Having a wonderfully bitter finish, it made the entire experience taste very full circle and was conducive to drinking more.

In second and third place, we found Hubertus and Poutník, both of which tasted very similar. Compared to the best beer, they were not as bitter and didn’t have the depth to their body. When compared to the worst, they were more drinkable, and certainly more well balanced.

Finishing in 4th place was Klášter, which by far had the most unique and distinct aroma from the bunch. The malty body was sweeter, with distinct notes of caramel and a unique honey flavour to its body. But we found this sweetness to be poorly complimented with hops and therefore not as drinkable.

At the bottom of the list was undoubtedly Chodovar’s Prezident. The body was extremely weak and one-dimensional, lacking any sort of depth and hardly any bitterness. By far the worst beer, just one sip seemed like one sip to many.

Bitterness is something unique to each drinker; but from the tasting, we realised how important it is for balance. The balance of a beer is what makes you want to have another. While a beer that’s too heavy on the malt, or even too heavy on the hops, doesn’t coax the drinker into opening another bottle, one that has the bitterness just right is hard to refuse.

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