The other night, I had the pleasure of trying a Kozel Lager. I was a little nervous entering into it, especially since I had something that I was celebrating and I did not want to be disappointed in my beer. Happily, I did not need to worry-although it was not the greatest beer that I have ever encountered, it was certainly an enjoyable beer that was easy to drink.
Kozel is brewed in Velké Popovice, in the Czech Republic. The Brewery is called Pivovar Velké Popovice a.s., which means very little to me as I do not speak or read a word of Czech, unfortunately. The brewery’s beer traces its roots to 1874, when the first Kozel was released to the market. The brewery had been founded by Fransisek Ringhoffer in 1870. He was the Mayor of Smichov and a wealthy industrialist looking for a new challenge, and decided to act on some of the rumours of a brewery having existed in the region as early as the 14th century. The beer itself rose to prominence, but was hit hard by both World Wars. During the first World War, resources were scarce, as were workers. The second World War was even harder on the Brewery, as Hitler’s Germany took control of Velké Popovice and the surrounding region-eventually making Kozel into a state-controlled company. Kozel was able to continue brewing, however, and eventually regained its independence in 1991. The brewery continues to expand its reach-it has maintained most of the values it started with-hopefully it will not lose its quality with the success it is currently experiencing, although its purchase by SABMiller is mildly disconcerting in 1999. So far, so good however!
Style | ABV
Czech Pilsener | 4.80% ABV
Appearance: The beer has a fairly clear complexion, not murky or foggy. It is golden yellow in colour, and has a very nice 1/2 foamy head. The carbon flow is particularly alluring, and is virtually continuous for the duration of the beer. A very attractive looking beer if poured in the right glass.
Nose: The nose is not particularly exciting, but gives you a little sense of what is to come. Light hops, with a yeasty barley run. I also picked up a little bit of oregano and light spices.
Taste: The taste, to me, was a bit surprising for the type of beer that it was. I often shy away from Pilseners, as I do not personally enjoy an over-abundance of hops. This beer, however, had a very nice balance. It was light and oaky, with just a hint of hops to keep it interesting. There was also some honey flavours mixed in, and some other sweetness that I couldn’t quite place. Slight barley also permeated the beer, as was suggested by the nose.
Mouthfeel: In some ways, the mouthfeel was the best part of this beer-it was very smooth and foamy, with a perfect level of carbonation (medium high). It was slightly sticky, but not unpleasantly so, and still slid down the back of the throat nicely.
Overall: I enjoyed this beer! It is not a beer that I would clime over a barrel for, but it is a beer that I would buy again, simply as a nice relaxing beer to enjoy on a relaxing day. It is easy to drink and easy to enjoy. And, for someone who is not a big fan of very hoppy beers, it was a good option.
My rating: ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊/◊◊◊