Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Czech beer!

Czech Republic definitely have a strong beer culture. Everywhere you go, you see Pivo (beer) on the menu.  In fact, people do enjoy beer even during the lunch hour as well.  And, according to the 2004 data, the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world!!

It seems that the first brewery existed in the 12th century here in Brno!  Then two other cities Plzeň (Pilsen, famous for Pilsner beer) and České Budějovice (Budweis, famous for Budweiser.  American Budweiser name was originated from this Budweiser) had their breweries in the 13th century.

I noticed each beer comes with the numbr such as 10°, 11°, 12°, etc.  They are printed on the cap or label. And, it is not the alcohol percentage. Apparently, it is the scale called "Balling degree," which indicates the sugar density in wort.  So, the lower the balling degree is, the lighter the beer is.  And, in Czech Republic, there seems to be four categories of beer based on the different balling degrees:

below 8° Balling: lehké - a "light" beer
between 8° and 10° Balling: výčepní - "tap" beer (can be bottled)
between 11° and 12.99° Balling - ležák - "lager" beer
above 13° Balling - speciál - "special" beer

The most popular beer locally in Brno is called Starobrno, and typically it is 11°, which means lager.  I also tried a "light" beer once.  Maybe I have tried the "tap" beer at the bar, too (assuming everything on tap is between 8° and 10° Balling).  Yet, I have not seen the "special" beer, which sounds very "special."  I would love to try that some time.

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