The New York Times - 6.8.2006 - The Ultimate Beer Run in the Czech Republic
Most visitors never get past U Medvidku’s busy beer hall, with its wooden booths and ceaselessly replenished trays of Budweiser Budvar. But hidden upstairs is one of the newest microbreweries in the country.
It produces just one beer: a semi-dark amber called Oldgott that is brewed at 13 degrees on the Balling scale. (The Balling scale is based on the percentage of malt sugar before fermentation, and many Czech beer drinkers specify a number — “10,” “12” or “13” — when ordering. Higher Balling numbers usually mean more alcohol, though not always.)
Here, a bartender at work in Prague at U Medvidku. In addition to serving standard Czech beers, the establishment has its own microbrewery.
The lack of pasteurization also leaves the flavors at their most forceful: the malt undertones are richer and sweeter, the hops sharper and more bitter. “Pasteurization cuts the taste in half,” said Ladislav Vesely, U Medvidku’s brewer, as he handed me a half-liter glass tapped directly from the lagering barrel.