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Budvar & Thornbridge brew collab lager

Added: Thursday, April 20th 2023

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Budweiser Budvar, the national brewery of the Czech Republic, has announced its first ever collaboration lager to be brewed outside its home country. The lager is called Czech Mates and is brewed with Thornbridge, home to award-winning craft beers and ales. Czech Mates will be available to purchase from May 16 from and major UK retailers.

Bringing together centuries of Czech brewing expertise, the finest British ingredients and cutting-edge technology, Czech Mates is a Czech-style lager that aims to fuel a growing appreciation for quality, traditionally brewed lager across the UK. Pictured above: members of the brewing teams from Budvar and Thornbridge on sife in Bakewell.

Czech Mates is an aromatic, crisp and well balanced 4.8% beer, brewed to the same high standards as all Budweiser Budvar and Thornbridge products, and made at Thornbridge brewery, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.   

The traditional Czech brewing method of decoction mashing and long, slow maturation complement the British-grown Maris Otter malt and East Kent Goldings hops, while Budvar's decades-old yeast strain makes the journey from Ceske Budejovice to Bakewell to bring it all to life. In addition, the soft water of the Peak District, similar to that found in Ceske Budejovice, is ideal for brewing lager. As a result of its dedication to quality, Thornbridge makes the ideal partner for Budvar. 

Research shows the craft lager sector is growing faster than any other, and Czech Mates will set a new benchmark. The word lager means to store, and in keeping with Czech brewing standards, Czech Mates will be lagered for six weeks, far longer than most other UK lagers. As Adam Brož, Budvar’s brewmaster, puts it: "Time is a very important feature of the lager. The long maturation brings the smoothness, crisp taste, and very high drinkability."

The collaboration will be supported by a social media campaign based around the slogan "Mates Don’t Let Mates Drink Bad Lager". The message is: with a new collaboration bringing together the 800-plus years of lager-making experience of the Czechs and the creativity of a UK craft beer titan, there is no excuse for drinking substandard lager anymore.

Czech Mates will bring something flavour-packed to the UK craft lager scene, while remaining sessionable and accessible. With its dedication to time-consuming processes and fine ingredients, this new product will show the UK just how the Czech Republic became known as the Republic of Beer – and why there’s no reason to drink bad lager in the UK ever again.

Czech Mates is now available for purchase across the country from
and major UK retailers.


Czech Mates

UPDATE: launch of the beer at Thornbridge. Left to right: Thornbridge head brewer Rob Lovatt, Budvar brewmaster Adam Broz and Budvar global trade manager Radim Zvanovec. Photo: Laura Hadland.

The beer has honey malt and spicy hops on the aroma with a hint of apple fruit. Smooth creamy malt dominates the palate but is balanced by spicy hops and apple fruit. The finish is bittersweet, with hop bitterness growing but balanced by biscuit malt and a touch of fruit.

The beer is brewed using the continental double decoction form of mashing. Rob Lovatt says this brings out the bready and biscuit character of the malt. Double decoction involoves pumping a third of the mash to a separate vessel, heating it to a higher temperature and then returning it to the first mashing vessel, where it raises the temperature of the whole mash.