Nomad- Prague’s New Gypsy Brewery

Always a man with a plan, Honza Kočka has helped develop the Czech beer scene from a tradition bound land of lager to what we taste in our mugs today.

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The chief idea engine behind Kocour, a Varnsdorf brewery famous for their ales, Honza Kočka has started a project of his own, Pivovar Nomad. True to an insatiable and adventurous attitude towards beer, Pivovar Nomad is a gypsy brewery focused on ales, new processes, and collaborative brewing. Inspired from the fearless beer scene across the Atlantic, Pivovar Nomad brews American style ales often using processes new to the Czech Republic.

Already having brewed 6 beers, Nomad’s two signature beers, Easy Rider and Black Hawk, can be spotted around town in a few select bars, and at Pivovar Nomad’s home-base Pivní Rozmanitost, one of Prague’s best beer shops which is a jointly run with Denisa Bilkova. The most exciting aspect about Pivovar Nomad is the ambitious future plans Kočka has been brewing- from beer tastings, guest brewers and workshops, Kočka wants to not only give the average Joe a chance to become excited about beer, but also learn something about what’s in his mug. ‘I want to introduce beer, the world of beer to regular people, regular beer drinkers.’ After all, the history of Pilsner Urquell, as Kočka points out, was began by a guest brewer.

Keeping with this guest brewer tradition, Pivní Rozmanitost has already hosted a talk by Darren Welch of Pelican Pub and Brewery from Oregon, as well as an Icelandic beer tasting event. Pivní Rozmanitost is also one of the few places in Prague where home brewers can buy supplies and equipment, as well as participate in discussions. These events have become so popular that Kočka wants to move Pivní Rozmanitost to a new location, with more space for guests and of course, more beer.

For a man well traveled whose experienced beer palette is highly respected on both sides of the Atlantic, of course the obvious question was if there has been any spectacular beer of late that has blown his mind, Kočka answered: ‘I always like to try new varieties, for example a double IPA, some very hoppy beers, and try to find the most balanced and most drinkable IPA, because sometimes they just make it too wild, and too much hops, but I found some very nice samples that were very well balanced, excellent’. There is a delicate balance between a well crafted beer, and creating something extraordinary. For the most interesting beer Kočka has recently tried, he recalled a beer by Anders Kissmeyer, a Danish brewer in Stockholm; ‘10% alcohol, 100 IBU, so balanced, so dangerously drinkable’.

Kissmeyer, who got his start at Carlsberg, is one of the brewers Kočka is hoping to invite to Pivovar Nomad. Kočka described him further- ‘He’s very skillful, as a brewmaster, he’s not just crazy. He knows what he’s doing, and he has the background as a brewmaster…as we say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks but he’s the opposite, he’s an old dog that has learned a lot of new tricks.’ As for his own brews, ‘Easy Rider’ is a 12° dry hopped American Pale Ale which uses American Chinook and Willamette hops. For dry hopping, Chinook and Cascade hops are thrown in at the end. Named after the Czech American football team, ‘Black Hawk’ is a 17° dark dry hopped IPA, made with Columbus and Citra hops, and Centennial for the finishing dry hop.

Currently, Pivovar Nomad can always be found at Pivní Rozmanitost, which is also one of Prague’s best beer shops, and The Tavern, an American style pub with fantastic burgers. Pivovar Nomad has plans to take over more taps soon- so expect to see them on tap in more locations in the near future.

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