Chotěboř Originál is what I think used to be called a “desítka”, or “10”, back when we were there. It seems now breweries are using the terms “original” and “premium” for the weaker “10” and the stronger “12”, or “dvanáctka”. I’d always thought of them as lunch-time and dinner-time beers respectively. In any case, Chotěboř Originál is nicely bitter but a bit flat. Its alcohol level is 4.1%.
Köstritzer Schwarzbier, though it’s more bitter than that German treat. Worthwhile, though I still think Chotěboř Prémium is my favourite of the three.
From one small town on the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, we move quickly to another: Hlinsko, whose brewery, offers Rychtář Prémium. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too syrupy in consistency and not crisp or bitter enough.
Rebel Brewery makes Rebel Originál Premium. The name somewhat undermines my previous notions about new names, but at 4.8%, I guess it’s more in the 12 range than the 10. Anyway, it’s a good beer, with fine bubbles and decent bitterness. Solid stuff.
Plzeňský Prazdroj in the city of Plzeň, or Pilsen, if you prefer. It’s strongly bitter, with a healthy, lasting head. My Czech friends say it’s good for the stomach, and they’ll recommend it whenever you’ve got a bit of a bug. Seems to work. I was lucky enough to enjoy one in the beer hall of Prague’s Obecní dům, which is one of my favourite buildings in the world.
Back at the straightforward end of the spectrum is Pardál, the kind of keep-it-simple offering I like. From the Budějovický Budvar brewery in South Bohemia, it’s a solid pilsner-style beer, well bitter, refreshing and uncomplicated.
With Czech beers, I think those that aim to get the basics right are the ones that succeed.