Budvar Reserve – 200 days of patience
A MATTER OF
Words by Jonny Tyson
ot all beers are created equal. Some are made in about five days from malted barley to finished beer, some take a little longer than that, maybe three or even four weeks. Other brewers know that anything that’s worth doing well can’t be rushed. Budvar is well known for understanding that to make a beer that lives up to almost 800 years of brewing tradition in the town of České Budějovice, things have to happen slowly, and Budvar Reserve is a beer that really takes its time.
The building blocks of any good beer are always found in its ingredients. The best Moravian malted barley, Budvar’s house yeast strain, whole cone Saaz hops from Zateč and the pure spring water that comes straight from the artesian well right in the brewery are just the beginning. Brewing, skill, time and a little patience are what’s required next, and the brewers may have been keeping a secret that is now out in the open. Budvar Reserve is a distinctive beer that is matured for 200 days and has finally emerged from the cellars.
The cold underground maturation in the lagering tanks that are found in what seems like miles of tunnels and cavernous cellars beneath the brewery, have been holding on to something special. Something that has required the talents and forbearance of the brewers, made for those that value a frothing glass of something unique.
he cold underground maturation in the lagering tanks that are found in what seems like miles of tunnels and cavernous cellars beneath the brewery, have been holding on to something special. Something that has required the talents and forbearance of the brewers, made for those that value a frothing glass of something unique.
So, what does lagering do to a beer?
Cool fermenting lager beers benefit from time spent conditioning in very cold tanks, usually around 1°Celsius for extended periods known as ‘lagering’. Budvar original benefits from one of the longest periods of any beer, around 90 days. This process removes unwanted aromas and melds and smooths the flavours. Residual sugars can also be broken down creating a dry, crisp finish and the beer slowly carbonates. The beer naturally clears, settles and takes on a mature character and balance. Budvar Reserve, brewed to a stronger 7.5% ABV, is allowed to go through this slow, gentle but essential process for 200 days creating a beer of mature complexity and supreme harmony.
ou can’t tell quality and craftsmanship by looking at the beer in the glass. You can’t even tell that by glancing at the label. You can only really know when you taste it. Budvar Reserve is definitely a beer to be tasted and savoured.
If you want a quick drink, and to knock back a beer as fast you can then Budvar Reserve may not be the one for you. Enjoyment of a beer that has taken its time to get to you, deserves the same patient consideration. In a world that seems to hurry from one thing to the next, that misses out on the pleasure of the journey in a rush to get to the destination, perhaps it’s time to take time. Pause for a while and respect the work and dedication it takes to brew a beer of such complexity and poise.
The proof of the brewing is definitely in the drinking.
brilliant deep gold colour, the aromas of honeyed, fresh-baked bread emerge from the glass joined by a deep spiced cedar note from the Saaz hops.
On the palate this beer is more deeply flavoured, complex and fuller bodied than Budvar Original. It is well-rounded and treads the tightrope between a rich texture while still delivering a consummately drinkable beer. The finish is smooth and flavoursome with the Saaz hop’s more floral notes and soft bitterness leading a dance with the nectar-like Moravian malt.