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Two Buds are better than one

Scott Jagow Jan 9, 2007

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: I don’t know if you realize this, but there are two beers in the world called Budweiser. One is made in St. Louis by Anheuser-Busch. The other is made in a small town in the Czech Republic by a firm called Budvar.

For the past century, these two beer makers have been in a bitter court battle over the name Budweiser. Well, yesterday, they reached a truce. Anheuser-Busch will now distribute the Czech Bud here in the states.

We’re joined by Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide. Roger, what does this mean for beer lovers?

ROGER PROTZ: That a lot of Americans are going to enjoy the pleasures of the Czech beer, which is a good thing for beer lovers in general and the Czech brewery. Whether in the long term it means that Anheuser-Busch would put pressure on the Czechs to change the way the beer is brewed, to speed up the brewing process, it’s much too early to say, but that is the long-term worry I think.

JAGOW: Yeah that does sound like a worry. You’re a beer guy, what’s the difference between American Bud and Czech Bud?

PROTZ: The Czech Bud is a pure malt beer. It’s brewed to what the Germans call the Rheinheitsgebot, which is the pure beer law, which means you can only use malted barley, yeast, hops and water, nothing else. American Bud is brewed with rice as well as barley. And the other major difference is that American Bud is lagered or matured for about 21 days. The Czech Bud is matured or lagered for 90 days. If you talk to any professional brewer, they would tell you that the longer you mature the beer, the better it will get. And that is where the real problem lies because in the Czech Republic, leading brands like Pilsner Urquell and Stary Pramen have had their lagering times quite drastically reduced by their new owners.

JAGOW: But under this deal, the Czech company will still make a beer called Budwesier in Europe and Bud will still make Budweiser here right?

PROTZ: Yes.

JAGOW: But the Czech beer sold in the U.S. will be under a different name?

PROTZ: It’ll be called Czechvar yes.

JAGOW: And then how do you find the taste of Czechvar?

PROTZ: Absolutely superb. I think if you asked me what do I think is the world’s best lager beer, I would say, unless I’ve missed out on a few I would think it would be Budweiser Budvar. I think it’s a wonderful beer.

JAGOW: Well that’s a rousing endorsement. Cheers!

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