Plzensky Prazdroj launches new "Master" beers

Photo: CTK

With its long tradition of beer brewing, the Czech Republic has for years been one of the world's major destinations for beer tourism. Beer lovers come from far and wide to sample the country's many famous brews. Now they have one more reason to visit the country. The producer of the world renowned Pilsner Urquell, the Plzensky Prazdroj brewery, has just launched two new beers aimed at pleasing even the most sophisticated palates.

Photo: CTK
A vaulted Gothic cellar in the centre of Prague with an ensemble in period costumes playing medieval music was the perfect setting for the launch of a couple of brand new beers based on a 16th-century recipe. The Prazdroj brewmasters say they have found inspiration in a book on brewing by Tadeas Hajek z Hajku, a scientist and physician at the court of Emperor Rudolph II. Chief brewmaster Vaclav Berka says they combined the 16th-century description with the knowledge and experience of generations of Prazdroj brewmasters and the result is two beers; one dark and one semi-dark with a higher bitterness and sweetness as well as alcohol content.

"For brewing both these beers we use only natural ingredients. It means Pilsner malt, caramel malt and dark Bavarian malt. And for hopping, as is normal, we use Saaz (Zatec) hops which gives this beer this excellent bitterness and a fine hoppy aroma."

Many people even outside the Czech Republic are familiar with the Pilsner Urquell lager but Plzensky Prazdroj director Mike Short says both the new Master beers are quite different.

"They are in no way designed to replace Pilsner Urquell because Pilsner Urquell has its own unique offering. But in some ways they build on the concept of Pilsner Urquell because these have quite a high bitterness and fairly high caramelised sweetness which together forms a very balanced beer as it does for Pilsner Urquell. But the flavour profile of the two Master variants has quite different. The dark beer is a higher alcohol and a higher bitterness. This is the sort of beer you my have one or two of but it would certainly not replace your main preference beer."

Even though Plzensky Prazdroj plans to export the two new brews to countries in the region and possibly Scandinavia in the long term, beer lovers outside the Czech Republic need to wait for a while before they will be able to try Master in their local pub.

"Well, they are going to have to travel to the Czech Republic in the short term. Because we are really trying this to satisfy requests from the trade and our consumers that we give a speciality beer for people to try. And building on the traditions of our company Plzensky Prazdroj and on the fame of Pilsner Urquell, it's really catered for the Czech connoisseur. And there are many connoisseurs in the Czech Republic. Beer is a passion in this country as you know. And so for the time being, yes please, come and see us in the Czech Republic, but maybe over time we will look at some kind of exports."

The new Master brews will be available only on draught in hand-picked restaurants around the Czech Republic. The beer is served in oval, four-decilitre glasses with stems and the gold and brown Master logo on the front.