Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Papazian Cup/ Protz Shield entries

It's been a bumper year for competition entries. I'm not sure if that fact should make me happy or sad.

The way the contest usually works, is that works by British authors are eligible for the Protz Shield. All other nationalities compete for the Papazian Cup. But this year there were some non-English language entries. Being a generous kind of bloke, I've decided to introduce a third category to recognise that disinformation and plain old bollocks aren't the sole preserve of those writing in English. All I have to do is think of a name for the trophy. Anyone have a suggestion?

While you're pondering that, here are the entries for your amusement and . . what's the opposite of education?





dave said...

    "About Porter

    The original porter was modeled after a popular beer mixture known as the 'three threads'." http://www.pintley.com/browse/style/Porter/53/

    Not overly long but its a submission!




dave said...

    or...

    "IPA got its name because its relatively high levels of hop and alcohol presumably allowed the beer to survive that long sea voyage around the Cape of Good Hope." - Double IPA, Style Profile by Don Russell, Beeradvocate Issue #47.

    Ties in to the new shirt you are selling.
    16 December 2010 14:58
dave said...

    I should have included the full quote from the Beeradvocate article (sorry about the oversite) "Yet, many of today's English IPAs- clocking in at a paltry 4-percent alcohol with a dainty hop presence - couldn't survive a voyage around the block. It's the Brits who need to change, for it's American brewers who are making Real IPA."



dave said...

    No worries Rod. It was the final paragraph to the article. Thought the whole thing tied in quite well with the recent IPA posts by Ron. In all its unbroken glory:

    "IPA got its name because its relatively high levels of hop and alcohol presumably allowed the beer to survive that long sea voyage around the Cape of Good Hope. Yet, many of today's English IPAs- clocking in at a paltry 4-percent alcohol with a dainty hop presence - couldn't survive a voyage around the block.
    It's the Brits who need to change, for it's American brewers who are making Real IPA."
    - Double IPA, Style Profile by Don Russell, Beeradvocate Issue #47.



Tandleman said...

    I claim that JW Lees invested India Pale Ale. It was called Jumbo Ale after Indian Elephants. You must have seen Lees Jumbo Ale in the brewing books, but not IPA, which proves my point.

    What do I get?



Atis said...

    I have plenty of claims, but unfortunately none of them in English.

    Just one quick translation from a quote from a recent press release (quoted by a news site below) by one of the largest Latvian breweries (Royal Unibrew).

    http://www.financenet.lv/nozares/348110-alus_sacensibas_uzvarejis_kastanu_alus

    Lacpleša Chestnut beer is a traditional ale, brewed in accordance with methods used in Europe since medieval times. Ale, similarly to Pilsener, denotes name of the beer style. Ales for the first time were brewed in the UK, London, in the 17th century. During those times, the most popular was the pale ale. Nowadays ales are widely available in England, Belgium and the North America.

    Lacpleša Kastanu alus ir tradicionals eils, bruvets saskana ar metodem, kas Eiropa pastav kopš viduslaikiem. Eils, tapat ka lagera vai Pilzenes tipa alus, ir alus veida nosaukums. Pirmo reizi eila tipa alus bruvets Lielbritanija, Londona, 17.gadsimta. Taja laika popularakais ir bijis gaišais eils. Musdienas eila tipa alus ir loti izplatits Anglija, Belgija un Ziemelamerika.




mentaldental said...

    "The last sub-variety is the Imperial IPA, so named because the beer was originally produced for exportation to czarist Russia."
    http://www.suite101.com/content/whats-an-ipa-a26747

    And there was me thinking this was just a previously non-existent style made-up by American home brewers.

    That's a cracking article by the way! Yes I know you have already quoted it but I liked this one.





StuartP said...

    OK, here's the usual nonsence from Beer Advocate, but with an interesting new twist:-

    First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. To withstand the voyage, IPA's were basically tweaked Pale Ales that were, in comparison, much more malty, boasted a higher alcohol content and were well-hopped, as hops are a natural preservative. Historians believe that an IPA was then watered down for the troops, while officers and the elite would savor the beer at full strength. The English IPA has a lower alcohol due to taxation over the decades. The leaner the brew the less amount of malt there is and less need for a strong hop presence which would easily put the brew out of balance. Some brewers have tried to recreate the origianl IPA with strengths close to 8-9% abv.

    Watering-down the ale for the troops, eh? That's a new one to me. I wonder if there is any evidence for that...



Scott said...

    Scottish Ales according to Garrett Oliver in his book, "The Brewmaster's Table," p.153.

    "From the earliest day, Scottish beer was different. The hop cannot grow in cold, blustery Scotland... Even when the Scots started to import hops, they did so grudgingly and at considerable expense. Not only were hops expensive, they were English; this did not exactly endear the hop to the Scots, who constantly sought to blunt arrogant England's expansionism. Scottish beer drinkers cared little for the taste of hops, and brewers used them sparingly, only for their preservative qualities... Scottish beer even fermented differently from English beer. Colder ambient temperatures led to slow, cool fermentations by ale yeast strains that could stand the northern chill. Long cool fermentations tend to produce malty beers with muted fruitiness, even when ale yeasts are used. Scottish beer took weeks rather than days to ferment, and then settled in for a long cold storage before being served. In this regard it resembled Bavarian lagers more than it did English ales."





Craig said...

    I, uh... woah, wow. There are so many.

    http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/why-did-the-british-invent-india-pale-ale-and-how-do-the-hops-in-india-pale-ale-help-preserve-the-beer

    Ron, The last sentence is going to make you cry.


"India pale ale was invented by George Hodgson, a brewer at the Bow Brewery in East London in the 1790s, who took his pale ale recipe, increased the hop content considerably, and raised the alcohol content by adding extra grain and sugar.

Hodgson also added dry hops to the casks at priming, when sugar is added to allow secondary fermentation, and conditioned the beer with more sugar than was typical for pale ales.

The high sugar priming rate probably helped keep the yeast alive during the voyage and resulted in a very bitter, alcoholic, and sparkling pale ale that could withstand the rigors of travel while having a reasonable shelf life in India.

With such large amounts of hops and alcohol, what did it taste like?

Hops are the most expensive ingredient in any beer and a modern brewery probably couldn’t brew a genuine nineteenth-century India pale ale economically.

With so many hops, a young IPA would hit the cheek cells like paint stripper. However, the long voyage and the pale ale futures market meant the beer usually spent 12 months aging. This turned the hop bittering from an aggressive taste to a fine bouquet, which some writers described as reminding them of a French white wine.

We have carried out much research on IPA. In the brews we made, especially those based on Edinburgh recipes of around 1840, the taste after a year was unlike anything currently on the market. It certainly wasn’t overpoweringly bitter.

The combination of hops and alcohol provided a very powerful antibacterial environment, but there was still much that could go wrong.

The ale was vented before the long voyage to prevent serious explosions during the crossing and this may have introduced bacteria. It was also not easy to sterilize the casks before filling them. However, it was a trade worth pursuing because of the huge volume of empty cargo ships returning to the colonies and the cost of carriage was very low.

Many brewers who exported porter, or Imperial stout, to Russia during the nineteenth century increased the beer’s life by boosting its hop and alcohol content.

These dark porters, brewed in England but popular with Russian royalty, were high in alcohol, sweet, and dense, and survived the journey from Britain to the Baltic and across Russia. They are still popular in the Baltic states, where they are still brewed. Samuel Smith’s of Yorkshire produces a fine example.

At the same time as IPAs were becoming popular, the first golden lagers of Plzen (known as pilsners) were spreading fast, making use of the new railways and liberal doses of Saaz hops.

Most IPAs tend to be bitters that are hoppier than the norm, although a handful of “historical IPAs” weighing in at 6 percent or more alcohol by volume, still less than the 10 percent plus of the originals, are brewed by such micro-breweries as Burton Bridge and Freeminer."







Gavin said...

    I haven't got the actual quote but Protz had a classic one in Beers of the World a few years back.

    Holt, Plant, and Deakin used to make a premium bitter called Entire. This beer is now being reproduced under the Old Swan, Ma Pardoes brand. In an issue of Beers of the World from a few years ago, Roger Protz claims that in the Midlands the word Entire refers not to Porter but to a type of strong pale Mild, his theory being based entirely on the existence of Pardoe's Entire, which is a bitter.




Gavin said...

    Finally, Entire (4.4%) is a strong amber mild, a Black Country speciality that is quite different to the 18th century London style known as Entire or Porter.




Matt said...

    One last entry for the Papazian Cup, it's brothers, Jason and Todd Alström, founders of BeerAdvocate, on altbier:

    "long before lagers Germanic brewers brewed ales, which have been crafted in Germany for at least 3,000 years. Not many specific styles of beer can be traced thousands of years, however Altbier is one of them. An ale at heart, "alt" is German for "old" and helps to reflect how far back this style has been around."

    http://beeradvocate.com/articles/260

    Where to start?

    The idea that altbier has existed unchanged for thousands of years. And the maddening, ahistorical insistence on fitting it into the American homebrewers' category of 'ales'. Their seeming ignorance that lagering is what makes an altbier makes me wonder if they have ever been to Düsseldorf and drunk it. If they ever saw it described as an 'obergäriges Lagerbier' their brains might just explode.




Rod said...

    During the 18th century, both Munich and Vienna were well-established brewing centers....... They differed, however, in that Vienna was brewing ales and Munich, its renowned bottom-fermented lagerbiers.

    Florian Kemp at allaboutbeer.com





Rod said...

    "Porter is said to have been popular with transportation workers of Central London, hence the name. Most traditional British brewing documentation from the 1700’s state that Porter was a blend of three different styles: an old ale (stale or soured), a new ale (brown or pale ale) and a weak one (mild ale), with various combinations of blending and staleness. The end result was also commonly known as "Entire Butt" or "Three Threads" and had a pleasing taste of neither new nor old. It was the first truly engineered beer........."


    Beer Advocate, beer styles section. There are many contenders for the prize to be found here.




JessKidden said...

    One of my recent favorites, from a Boston, MA, USA based website about beer and wine called "French Oak":

    "Lager is the German word for “storage” and the beer is named so as the beer is stored for at least three weeks before being served and is most often served chilled. For this reason and due to lagers’ colder and longer fermentation process, ales had long been more available and widely consumed than lagers. But in 1953, lagers became very popular due to a newly invented way to ferment lagers called “continuous fermentation”. The process allowed for the production of lager beer at a much faster pace and made possible the mass production of lager beer at a rate competitive with ales."

    http://frenchoaktv.com/beer/lagers/




Rod said...

    I've mentioned this in the original Protz Shield thread, but I now enter it as a formal contender -

    On beerpages.com it says that pilsner was first brewed in
    "the Czech village of Pilsen."

    Three mistakes in five words is going to take some beating, although I have to say that my personal favourite for sheer head-shaking "you-what-ness?" is Pete Brown's assertion that Hoegaarden is a Bitter............




Rod said...

    "Pale Ale is an American term for Ales; other countries use different names for Ales. For example England calls them Bitters, Germany Altbier and so on. Although Pale Ales are generally medium bodied with a light golden to light copper color, India Pale Ale, Amber Ale, and Red Ale fall into the Pale Ale category."

    "Stouts and Porters are generally very malty because they are made using roasted malts and barley. There are also other ingredients that are used like oatmeal, coffee, chocolate and milk. They are usually heavy bodied"

    "England is one of the few countries in the world where ales are more the rule than the exception. Also beer is still traditionally matured in caskets at the pubs, instead of at he brewery. Beer in England is normally served at cellar temperatures.

    Beers is eastern England generally contain more hops than other regions. Traditional styles of English beer are Bitter, Mild, Old Ale, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, Porter and Stout."

    "When most of the United Kingdom weren’t using hops because of growing climates, Scotland imported hops extensively for their brews."

    "Pale lager does not have a noticeable amount of bitterness or aroma. This type of beer includes quite a few varieties, but the best know are the Helles and the Pilsner. It can be difficult to differentiate the two, but it becomes easier when one remembers that in a Helles, the hops flavors should dominate, while in a Pilsner, the malt should take precedence."

    Read more at Suite101: Types of Lager http://www.suite101.com/content/types-of-lager-a296566#ixzz18D4ydqDY

    You will have understood by now that this is a target-rich environment...........




Rod said...

    I promise this is the last, but it's a good one.....


    "was probably monks and nuns who discovered the importance of adding hops......
    Flavoring beer with hops was known as early as the 9th Century, however, because of the difficulty in determining the proper ratio of hops to other ingredients, using hops only gradually became an accepted practice...... Many countries soon adopted laws requiring the use of hops. In England, such laws led to riots and revolts because the English preferred naturally sweet ale to bitter beer."

    Read more at Suite101: The History of Beer - Dark Ages, Middle Ages & Discovery of Hops http://www.suite101.com/content/a-brief-history-of-beer-part-2-a250635#ixzz18D8QxAVW

    A lot of nonsense there I think




Barm said...

    I've seen Protz argue a couple of times that the word lager "may" be etymologically related to English larder. This insight is based on both word beginning with "la" and having something to do with cool places.






Stan Hieronymus said...

    "German brewer’s in the medieval period brewed beer in its most pure form. German beer purity law of 1516 prohibited use of any additives in beer. The only ingredients added in beer were malt (rice or barley), hops, yeast and water."

    - http://www.buzzle.com/articles/preservatives-in-beer.html

    (The word rice has since been removed, but was there as recently as Dec. 4. The original did not include the word "Reinheitsgebot," but that is there now.)





Yuri Katunin said...

    Ron!
    May I also particapate?
    That's great I think to get a prize: http://www.beer-pages.com/2009/11/brewdog-go-bonkers.html:
    "...it's not beer at all, as brewer's yeast cannot work beyond a strength of 12 or 13 degrees. "
    :-))
    Probably a live in paralell world. I could easely ferment up to 21% without any speciphic technics. Just yeasts... They do exist.
    Warm fermented regards to Roger!




Steve Hannigan said...

    This looks like a fine tale! Embellished with the statement that it was healthier for the fighting soldier.

    IPAs (India Pale Ales) were originally designed for export to the British Army out in India – the higher levels of hops and alcohol both acting as preservatives to keep the beer in top condition during the long hot sea voyage. IPA’s were developed to stop soldiers drinking the ridiculously strong local tipple – arrack, which, combined with infected water, was putting close to one third of the army out of action.
    Chimera will quench the thirst of even the most parched soldier! The Empire, and therefore civilisation, was built because of beers like this.

    http://www.downtonbrewery.com/en/our-beers/regular-beers/chimera-i-p-a/index.php





Rod said...

    I knew I'd soon be able to come up with a couple of contenders. How about -

    "Technically, Hoegaarden is a bitter rather than a lager - it's top-fermented. It's also a very old, traditional recipe."

    Or do you prefer -

    "In 1876, he [Adolphus Busch] discovered Pasteur, and found a great pilsner recipe in the Czech town of Budweis, and Budweiser beer was born." ?

    Both from Man Walks into a Pub by Pete Brown. Doubtless I can find plenty more where they came form....






Matt said...

    Here are a couple of recent words of wisdom from Protz.

    First, on the launch of Greene King's Very Special IPA:

    "The original IPA recipes used an abundance of malt and hops and the large quantities of pale malt provided sufficient natural sugar to produce the high alcohol content that characterises the beer.

    "Because the hop acts as an antiseptic and a preservative, the addition of vast quantities of hops added further protection for the quality of the ale during the long voyage to India."

    http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/festivals/2010/11/greene-king-ipa-is-very-very-s.html

    And second, on Budweiser Budvar's decision to sell unpasteurised lager in the UK:

    “We are now getting close to a real ale version of lager, how it was 100 years ago. We are tasting tradition and defending the traditional way of making lager beer.”

    http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=68454&c=1

    Hmm, I'm pretty sure lager was being force-carbonated and pasteurised by 1910...





Ed said...

    Ben McFarland for saying before the invention of Pilsner Urquell in 1842 "all beer was dark, cloudy and more often than not a little lousy".

    Or should it be him saying "Before white-coated boffins with spectacles, clipboards, pipettes and brains the size of Luxembourg discovered pasteurization in 1860, all beer was made using spontaneous fermentation"?





The Beer Nut said...

    I nominate Kristy McCready of MolsonCoors for this one. On the subject of Grolsch, last Tuesday:
    "a beer brewed to the same recipe since 1615."

    Should corroborating evidence appear I will, of course, withdraw the nomination.






StuartP said...

    From 'beer-pages.com - all you need to know about beer'

    PALE ALE
    A name applied to a particular bottled-version of draught bitter, pale ale was first brewed in London in the mid- 18th century, but did not gain fame until Bass produced this style of beer at its Burton-on-Trent brewery, since when Burton has become synonymous with pale ale. This is because the Burton water contains gypsum, which precipitates the most ultra fine sediments suspended in a beer, providing a much paler shade of ale: hence Pale Ale, thus Burton Pale Ale. See also India Pale Ale.

    So, the creation of Pale Ale: nothing to do with the manufacture of Pale Malt, but all down to gypsum in the water (!) acting as finings. And it is only available in bottles.





Pete Brown said...


    Not directly beer related, but in his CAMRA IPA book, my favourite RPism is "India was first colonised by the British in 1782."

    Among the thousands of British people who lived in places like Surat, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay from 1608 onwards, this must have come as a big shock to Clive of India, who fought the Battle of Plassey in 1757, establishing British ownership of Bengal and shattering the power of the Mughal Empire.

    And unlike malt and hops arcana, that's something we all learned about at school...





Ryan said...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZFG5PKw504&feature=related
    If this were in writing, it quite possibly might win






Matt said...


    OK, here are my entries for the Papazian Cup, both involving the man himself:

    "Using my 5.5% alcohol by volume (abv) homebrew recipe for a Czech-American style “amber-Helles” floral hopped lager we ramped up the recipe to 8.3 % with uniquely American techniques and blends of international hops, malt and yeast."

    An "amber helles", seems like yet another "craft beer" style has been born thanks to American homebrewers. Wonder what the "uniquely American techniques" used in brewing it are?

    Followed by an "Imperial Helles Bock": "The beer is unique. It does not fit any particular style."

    http://www.examiner.com/beer-in-national/charlie-fred-and-ken-s-imperial-helles-bock-released-by-sierra-nevada-details-here





Oblivious said...

    Here are my two so far, complements of the BJCP

    Traditional Scottish session beers reflecting the indigenous ingredients (water, malt), with less hops than their English counterparts (due to the need to import them). Long, cool fermentations are traditionally used in Scottish brewing.

    Mild: May have evolved as one of the elements of early porters.






Rod said...

    Guess who, talking about Mild -

    "The name came from its low level of hop bitterness, not a lack of alcohol.....in the 18th century, drinkers started to turn against the extreme roastiness and bitterness of the porters and stouts that dominated the market.....I imagine that brewers drastically reduced the strength of mild following World War Two to save on duty. It didn't do the style any favours...."






Rod said...

    "BROWN ALE
    This is the bottled version of draught mild, thus the opposite number to pale ale (the bottled version of bitter), which is why a "brown and light" is the equivalent to a "mild and bitter" for the bottled beer drinker. Brown ale is dark brown in colour, slightly sweet to very sweet in flavour and often a touch stronger than it pale ale cousin. Despite its fame, Newcastle Brown is not a true brown ale, being much lighter in colour, less sweet and significantly stronger in alcohol"

    Quite a lot of nonsense there, at
    beer-pages.com






Pivní Filosof said...

    I have a couple of gems by Harry Sasón, a celebrity chef from Colombia.

    "In fact, beer and bread had the same origin: if you add more flour than water and let it ferment, you get bread; and if you add more water than flour and let it ferment, you get beer."

    "...based on their colour, beers can be divided in pale and dark, and the difference is that the latter are brewed at higher temperatures and with roasted barley and malt, which adds a creamier density and a more bitter taste"

    And my favourite.

    "...Lagers, a kind of pale beer of moderate flavour, very common in the US".





Matt said...

    Anyone think bitter and pale ale are synonyms for the same style of beer? Here's an American homebrewer to put us right:

    "Bitter, Best Bitter and English Pale Ale are the three styles of beer that make up...Light English Ale in the BJCP style guide... They all originated in England with the advent of lightly-kilned malt in the late 1700's... The BJCP style guide separates them based on starting gravity...English Bitter is the lowest-strength version of this beer. It is a session beer, with a starting gravity of 1.030 to 1.03. With an alcohol content of only about 3½%, you can start early on this one. The name bitter suggest a high hop level, but this is not necessarily the case. The name actually comes from a comparison to English Mild, a brown ale with only half of the bitterness...Best Bitter, also called Special Bitter, starts off with an original gravity of 1.039 to 1.045. The malt profile is usually much more apparent in these beers. The bitterness level is a bit higher than bitter, though there is considerable overlap. Fuller's London Pride represents this style, though it is considerably maltier than most examples...English Pale Ale is the strongest beer in the family. This beer is generally designated Extra Special Bitter when served on tap, or Pale Ale when served in bottles. Starting gravity ranges from 1.046 to 1.065. Both malt flavor and hop bitterness level considerably higher in this beer. Bass Ale is typical of this beer."

    http://www.picobrewery.com/askarchive/englishale.htm








Jeff Alworth said...

    This stands as one of the oddest press releases I've ever gotten, from Estrella Damm in Spain, on the subject of their beer, Indedit:

    “INEDIT was developed from the belief that there was a need for a beer that could complement a dining experience," said Ferran Adrià, elBulli Executive Chef.... INEDIT is a unique coupage of barley malt and wheat with spices which provide an intense and complex aroma.... With its delicate carbonation, INEDIT adapts to acidic, sweet and sour flavors. Its appearance is slightly cloudy, and INEDIT has a yeasty sensation with sweet spices, causing a creamy and fresh texture, delicate carbonic long aftertaste, and pleasant memory."






Wasn't that a lovely dinner of disininformation? Try not to get indigestion.

The winners will be announced soon. Before christmas, I promise.

15 comments:

Rod said...

"All I have to do is think of a name for the trophy. Anyone have a suggestion?"

Der Quatschpokal.......?

Rod said...

or even Spatny Pivo Salek
(sorry, can't do the accents on this keyboard)

Sid Boggle said...

Whoever was worried about the Alstrom Bros brains exploding. Don't. They don't have any.

dave said...

My quotes didn't qualify? http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2010/12/papazian-cupprotz-shield-last-chance-to.html?showComment=1292593485793#c3815151137709031497

First Stater said...

I might suggest the award be the always popular "Not To Style Cup."

Anonymous said...

what about the CRAFT BEER CUP
CHEERS

Ron Pattinson said...

Dave, my apologies. That was an oversight on my part which has now been corrected.

Evan Rail said...

On beerpages.com it says that pilsner was first brewed in "the Czech village of Pilsen."

Three mistakes in five words is going to take some beating...


I'm feeling particularly undercaffeinated this morn, so please forgive my incomprehension: beyond the so-called village being a city, what are the other mistakes?

Rod said...

Evan -
"Czech", referring to 1842 when Pilsner beer was first brewed, is a mistake.
What is now called Zapadni Cechy (sorry about the lack of accents) in Czech, ie Western Bohemia, had been heavily colonised by German speakers since the 12th century, and swathes of this region were almost exclusively German-speaking. In 1842, Pilsen (the official, German, spelling) was mainly German-speaking, and was in Austria, where it had been since the mid-16th century, and where it was to remain until the end of the First World War.
[At the end of WW1, the border regions of Bohemia and Moravia declared themselves part of the new Deutsch-Oesterreich (German-Austrian) Republic, but were forced into Czechoslovakia by armed Czech intervention.]

"Pilsen" is a mistake if you are saying that it was Czech. If you are referring to a Czech city (as today's city is) then the spelling would be Plzen. In 1842, the official spelling was Pilsen, because the city was essentially a German-speaking city in Austria.
(I am not trying to say there were no Czechs in Pilsen, and I know that, from the 1860's, the Skoda engineering works brought many Czech speakers to the city.)

You are right about Pilsen/Plzen not being a vilage, it has had a cathedral since the Middle Ages.

Pete Brown said...

Steve Hannigan: the bit about IPA being healthier for troops seems to be lifted from my book, Hops & Glory, and is absolutely true because I unearthed it. If you read the book you'll see a wealth of contemporary quotes, observations and India Office references to back it up.

I'm all for the Protz/Papazain cup and everything it stands for, but sometimes, every so often, there's a fact you might not have heard before which turns out to be true because someone did some new research, rather than making shit up or copying it from someone else.

Cheers

Pete

Evan Rail said...

Rod, following the theme of this blog, I have to ask: do you have any sources to back up your claims?

I ask, because I've spent some time in the National Archives researching the founding of the brewery that later became known as Plzeňský Prazdroj / Pilsner Urquell. There are a few nineteenth-century accounts, such as the 1883 chronicle "Kniha pamětní král. krajského města Plzně od roku 775 až 1870," which lists the the board of directors of the Spolek právovárečníku, sometimes translated as "the Union of Licensed Brewers," which founded the brewery.

According to that book, the leader of the board of directors was a man called Josef Ignác Klotz until the all-important year of 1842, when he was replaced by Václav Buriánek. I don't know how well you read Czech or if you can grasp the significance of these names, but Václav is not a terribly common German first name: Sv. Václav is, after all, the patron saint of the Czechs. That the leader of the brewery's board of directors was named Václav Buriánek should tell you something about the rest of the founders. If they were all "Germans" (and no, they weren't), it sure is funny that they elected a Czech as their leader, isn't it?

Moreover, the chronicle notes: "The greatest credit for the founding of the brewery is ascribed to Václav Mirwald, who ended every opportunity to speak with the words 'Dobré a laciné pivo musíme míti!'" (or "We must have good and inexpensive beer!").

I'm not saying that these men didn't speak German, or didn't *also* speak German, as the forced Germanification of Bohemia meant that many Czechs spoke German, at least in public, for many years; I believe the first Czech grammar books were actually written in German; František Ondřej Poupě's seminal brewing text was of course first published in German before it was printed in Czech. Nonetheless, language is only one element of culture: Jesus, after all, is believed to have spoken Aramaic, but no one would say that means he wasn't actually a Jew.

If you'd like to share your sources for the claim that Pilsner Urquell was a German brewery, I'd love to see them. If you have something — a contemporary account, hopefully — that says that the greatest credit for the founding of the brewery should go to someone with a less Czech-sounding name than Václav, please share it.

Moreover, I'm curious as to your sources for the claim that Plzeň / Pilsen was "mainly German speaking." My understanding is that it was a Czech city that was bilingual during the time of forced German usage. For example, an 1880 photograph of Václav Mirwald's hotel and tavern in the book "Plzenský Prazdroj v historicských fotografiích" shows that the building bears two signs: "Hotel Goldner Adler" in German, followed by "U zlatého orla" in Czech.

Similarly, an 1868 photograph from the same book shows the brewery's double gate bearing the name "Bürgerliches Bräuhaus" in German and, above it, "Měšťánský Pivovar" in Czech. Other nineteenth-century photographs from the book show Czech and German signs in Plzeň given equal footing: lettering of the same size, positions of equal prominence.

Do you have any sources you could point us to?

StuartP said...

Pete B -
Most of us didn't learn about India at school. Such things went out of educational fashion a very long time ago.
We had to learn from Flashman and Carry On Up The Khyber. Mind you, those are two excellent sources.

dave said...

No problem Ron. Considering it took me three comments to post one quote, I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been disqualified for that act of stupidity.

Martyn Cornell said...

A late entry, but I've only just seen it, from Shawn Connelly in Beer Connoisseur magazine, talking about "English-style brown ale": it's full of crap from beginning to end, but here are a couple of piece of prime bollocks:

"Most beer historians agree that some blend of English ales - amber to brown in color - formed the constituent parts of 'stale' beer, which would come to be known as porter around the turn of the 19th century …"

"… brown ales offered an alternative to these often sour, oak vat-aged porters, and they also came to stand in some contrast to the fresh, unaged mild ales as well … while brown ales and porters are now wholly distinct styles, mild ales have maintained a close affiliation with brown ales to this day."

Rod said...

Evan -

"If you'd like to share your sources for the claim that Pilsner Urquell was a German brewery, I'd love to see them."

Read what I wrote - I never made any such claim.