Czech brewery produces beer marking 40th anniversary of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Freddy Mercury, photo: Carl Lender, CC BY-SA 3.0

Protivín, a Czech brewery in East Bohemia, is producing a soon to be released beer called Queen Bohemian Lager, marking the 40th anniversary of Bohemian Rhapsody – one of the most famous of rock songs by British legends Queen. The beer will go on sale first in Europe and then round the world.

Freddy Mercury,  photo: Carl Lender,  CC BY-SA 3.0
I spoke to Marc Wray, the president of RnR brew in London, who was approached by Queen to find the right brewery for the anniversary lager.

“We approached quite a few different breweries about it and visited many and then decided to do a Bohemian beer, a real Bohemian beer in the Czech Republic for the 40th anniversary of Bohemian Rhapsody.

“And that was done over probably a nine-month brewery and we aimed to find a traditional brewery which had all the right qualities. We also wanted to have it PGI certified, the protected geographic indication in Europe, so our beer is certified for that.

“In February, Queen were in Prague for an event and tried the beer and enjoyed it and the purity of the product. You know, we are only using three ingredients plus the yeast, which is filtered out. So it is a very pure product. So the Czech Republic was really our top choice, really.”

Bohemian Rhapsody and Made in Bohemia is not a bad combination… how would you describe the taste?

“We created a flavour profile which is somewhere between the two great pilsners produced in the Czech Republic. We didn’t go too hoppy and we didn’t go too sweet. So we are somewhere in the middle, which I think created a very nice flavour.”

What is on the label itself?

Illustrative photo: Alex Rosenzweig
“What we wanted to get across was that the members of Queen were once four young lads who took a dream and created one of the most famous rock groups ever. To that effect we used a crest which Freddy Mercury designed when he was still in Arts college in London, when they were all just starting out.”

When dealing with your Czech counterparts, did you get a sense of how important Queen is for Czech fans – both in the past and present?

“We had experience of that before, in Riga, where Killer Queen vodka is produced. So we know how difficult it was for people in [former Soviet bloc] countries to even listen to Queen in the 1970s and 80s. In Prague, when we visited, we were also surprised by how often Queen is still played on the radio and in bars and clubs, so that came across.”