Nationwide, United States - While we were on vacation this story appeared in our inbox from local Importers Merchant du Vin.
“Introducing: Zatec Dark Lager from the Czech Republic Zatec Brewery and Merchant du Vin are extremely proud to announce the upcoming arrival of a traditional deep, dark lager that will join Zatec Bright Lager in the US - look for it after June 1, 2010.” –source, Merchant du Vin
Admittedly, thoughts of a beer made from Eastern Europe one cannot think of a Baltic Porter, or Pilsner (Budvar anyone?), so this is a welcome surprise. What most people don’t know is that the Zatec region is also home to some of the best known ‘Saaz’ (as the German's speak of it) hops.
Historically brewing in the region goes as far back as 1004 A.D. (if you count earliest recorded taxes). However, it was not till 1261 that the Society of Privileged Brewer was found, which acted as the cornerstone of the current Zatec Brewery (built in 1798 with brewery production starting in 1801).
Here is what Zatec had to say about their lager.
“Made from Moravian two-row barley and local hops, Zatec Dark is produced via very traditional, labor-intensive means: a double-decoction mash, open primary fermentation, sand filtering, and 45 days of lagering in cool cellars 80 ft. underground. Fairly full-bodied, Zatec Dark has a clean malt flavor and aroma with pure notes of dark bread, caramel, and even a suggestion of toffee. The finish holds inimitable, elegant Saaz hops allied with biscuity malt. Na zdraví! (Cheers!)”
OG: 1.058; IBU: 25; ABV 5.7%.
In an age of mass production, Zatec is a small, independent brewery upholding classic Czech brewing traditions and is one of only seven remaining production breweries in the Czech Republic.
Look for this beer to be in bottleshops, bars, pubs starting around June of this year (2010). As always if you don’t see it near you, ask them to pick up a case.
For a thousand years, the Zatec region west of Prague (Praha) has been known for the fine quality of the hops grown there. Sometimes known in English-speaking regions by the German name, Saaz, these hops represent pure elegance and are one of the keys to a beer that has been renowned for centuries. There are records of brewing taxes paid in 1004 AD in the city of Zatec. In 1261, the Society of Privileged Brewers was founded in Zatec; the beers they produced grew in popularity over the years and the cornerstone was laid for the current brewery in 1798. Production began at this 4-acre hilltop site, at the center of town, in 1801. In the late 1930s, before the German occupation of the area, the brewery shut down and the copper kettles were disassembled, removed, and buried in a field out of town - the brewers wanted to prevent the valuable copper from being confiscated for war material. [more] –source, Merchant du Vin
Merchant du Vin is the brainchild of Charles Finkel, who founded the company in 1978 after having established for himself an enviable reputation in the wine trade. Charles had witnessed the way in which hundreds of thousands of Americans had awakened to the rewards of fine wines during the 60’s and 70’s. It was his theory that a similar audience must exist for beers of distinction, and he decided to put his theory to the test.
Charles identified two dozen classic styles of beer and set about to find the definitive styles of each.
It was his idea that you should sell fine beer much as you sell fine wine. The secret to this, and the goal of Merchant du Vin, is to educate the consumer and arouse curiosity as to the differences among these classic styles. [more] –source, Merchant du Vin