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Czech Panther leaps in to Britain

Added: Monday, October 28th 2013

A new beer launched by Czech brewer Budweiser Budvar is the result of the brewery inviting drinkers to help design it – the first time this has been done in the Czech Republic. The 3.8% beer is called Pardál, which means Panther, and is aimed at blue-collar drinkers who spend much of their leisure time on sporting activities.

As a result of consumer research, a panel of drinkers told Budvar they wanted a beer that would refresh them but would have less alcohol than the regular Budvar Original, which weighs in at 5%. The consumers also said they wanted more hop bitterness in their beer – a significant request that suggests Czech drinkers have tasted some of the “new world” beers with greater hop character.

The brewery responded by inviting the panel to visit the brewery, take part in discussions with brewer Ales Ďvorak, who was in charge of the new project, and to join the brewery’s tasting panel. The panel, which tastes the brewery’s beers on a daily basis to check for faults and for consistency of flavour, held three long sessions. The panel tasted different batches of Pardál before a final recipe was agreed.

The new beer is radically different to Budvar Original. As well as being lower in strength, it’s darker, with a colour rating of 13 compared to Original’s 9.9 and has 28 units of bitterness: Original has 22 units.

Three malts are used to brew Pardál, including a touch of caramalt, and the Agnus hop is added to the traditional Saaz variety. The result is a beer with a polished bronze colour and a pronounced hop note. In style, the beer is closer to a “Vienna Red” than a classic golden Czech lager.

It is fermented for 10 days and then enjoys between 30 and 40 days in the lager cellar, where it ripens.

It has a rich aroma of honeyed malt, a touch of caramel and vanilla and a spicy and floral hop note. Malt, caramel and vanilla continue on the palate and finish but there’s a solid underpinning of spicy hops throughout. The beer finishes dry and quenching.

Budvar has been sufficiently impressed by the role of the drinkers in developing the beer that they have been used on billboards in the Czech Republic. Pardál was launched there in 2007 and is now being rolled out in Britain. It’s on sale in bottle in branches of Morrisons and is also available on draught in the on trade, where it joins Budvar Original, Yeast Beer and Dark.

Pardal image