The (Overlooked) Beers of Summer: Czechvar
A productive interview with Jason Alvey (proprietor of The Four Firkins in St. Louis Park) has led to the creation of a running feature here on the TC Eater: Profiles of lesser-known but extremely crisp and delicious summer beers.
Our first featured brew is Czechvar, known in its home country of the Czech Republic as Budweiser Budvar Czech Premium Lager. The "Budweiser" name, for obvious reasons, didn't go over well with American copyright authorities, so we're left with the somewhat less snappy but geographically instructive "Czechvar" label.
Naturally, it leaves its American counterpart in the dust. US macrobrews rely upon adjuncts (usually corn or rice) to give beer fermentable sugar without imparting the full, rich flavor of barley. "If you look at a bottle of Czechvar, it's an example of Pilsner brewed in the old style, there's no adjuncts in there," says Alvey. "It's very light, very crisp and very refreshing, yet it's going to have more flavor than your standard domestic." Indeed: In place of the insipid taste of a macrobrew, there's actually a tangy kick to this stuff that gives it a bit of gravity.
Also worth noting: If good beer is a priority for your summer, stop by The Four Firkins grand opening this Saturday (June 14th). Brau Bros. samples from 2-5pm; Summit, Schell's, Flat Earth and Surly samples starting at 6pm. The amazing Pedal Pub turns up around 7pm.
And on Monday, June 16: Local beer author / demigod Doug Hoverson ("The Land of Amber Waters") is appearing at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis for a live taping of Flak Radio. The fun starts at 6:30pm, and admission is free.