40 Years in Beer (Book II) Part 50: Papazian goes AWOL as we contest AB’s aggression against Budvar
Communist-era beer advertising in Prague, 1997. Previously: 40 Years in Beer (Book II) Part 49: Bluegrass Brewing Co. — an ideal brewpub? Also, the Lite-Free Zone. Beer was simpler in 1989, when my friend George’s uncle in Prague taught me a valuable phrase in Czech, one that even today isn’t found in the travel guidebooks (phonetically): “Chesko pivo je lepshi nezh Ameritsky pivo.” I’d utterly mangle this passage, but delighted Czech onlookers would queue up to buy me beers, and why not? It was no lie. Czech beer was better than American beer. Granted, nowadays we’d need to define our terms more narrowly (which style of beer is better, exactly?), but during the waning days of communism the comparison was strictly apples to apples and pilsners to pilsners, although “hop-accented golden lagers to hop-accented golden lagers” is more precise, especially given the Czech propensity to reserve the use of “pilsner” for Pilsner Urquell itself. Pilsner Urquell is German for “pilsner (beer) from the source.” In Czech, that’s Plzeňský Prazdroj. In both languages the modifier derives from the city’s name: Pilsen in German, Plzeň in Czech. Accordingly, Budweiser means “from Budweis,” while Budějovický indicates the same in Czech. Budvar as a beer name is a portmanteau of...Read more