Interview with Honza Zaruba

Lorenzo Dabove, aka Kuaska, chats up the big names in beer. Interview with Honza Zaruba, beer journalist of Prague.

leggi in italiano

Hi Honza and welcome on Fermento Birra. Please introduce yourself to our readers..
Well, a difficult question.. As I keep my main job with Czech Airlines, I can not say I am a profesionall beer writer. But I try to promote beer in our country in a different way than it is so far taken heer – I am trying to show people that beer is not only a cheap way of geeting alcohol in to your body. So I am organizing seminars about tasting beers, for homebrewers, write articles about beer for different media, events as my Christmas beer market next weekend etc…

Czech beers has always been beloved by Italian beerlovers. But nowadays some mytical beers as Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, Krusovice and Velkepopovice Kozel has become commercial mass market lager. Do you agree with my statement?
Well, as you know, multinational brewers focus on brands rather that the beer itself. Yes, it is true that there has been some decline in typical czech beer taste rcently. And yes, with brewers having selection on mass market beer and flagship brand, brewery which was independent, now being a part of group, can experience some kind of “racionalization” of their production…

Is still Budweiser Budvar a good beer?
Ddepends as you take it. I like Budvar dark lager as it is one of the few non sweetish dark beer on our market. We have a saying that dark beers are for ladies only as they used to be on a sweeter side

Please let Italian readers beerlovers known on last news about Anheuser Busch vs Budweiser Budvar conflict
I is a well known story. First brewery to brew Budweis beer was Samson in Ceske Budejovice, Than A-B copy righted barnd Budweiser and than todays Budvar strted to brew. But at our town of ceske Budejovice… Budvar is fighting A-B for decades in more than 40 countries, winning and loosing at different parts of the world. But curiously enough in January of this year Budvar changed a distributir of their beers inthe US. And guess who is the new company? A-B..

During my last visit in Prague I discover some excellent new craft beers. Which are the most interesting in your opinion?
If you go to Prague, dont miss Pivovarsky Dum at Jecna-Lipova street corner. Not only flavoured lagers, but also the very first IPA and double IPA in our country. Than Svaty Norbert located very close to the Prague Castle is a nice spot with great beers. A bit pricey for czech people, but good stuff. And for other I have to mention Richter Pub closed the Bulovka hospital…

Do you think is it positive to find unusual beers ad Pivovarsky Dum new flavored products?
Definitelly. It is a sign that czech beer drinkers are getting ready for new beers. There were seven new micros opened this year. And two more are to come. One of them is my own micro

Is it still possible to find small country brewpubs and pubs full of genuine atmosphere as those I enjoyed twenty years ago?
Well, some of them are as they were 20 years ago – smoky, but cosy place. But as there is a big change in our life style after “Velvet revolution”, there is a big change in oubs too. Today if it really smoky place, you better choose a different place.

Are homebrewers active in Czech Republic? Are their beers interesting?
It is just starting. We have our first homebrew comptition next week, so we have only few people there. May be italian homebrewers could participate next year). But I feel the change og accepting homebrewing among generalpublic which a good thing.

Are you optmistic about future of Czech beer scene?
Yes. People are seing new beers, not only lagers,but also ales, even american style. Not imaginable just few years ago. We have about 65 micros here, and the number is growing every year. Beer is starting to wake up to new era.

I know you are really interested on Italian craft beers, we hope to meet you in some of our main events..
Oh yes. As I am starting my own microbrewery, I’d like to brew “italian” beer there. Samples I had a chance to taste very really great. So if there is a micro in Italy which would not mind share their experience with us, I am onmy way to Italy immediatelly. Just joking. But I will definitelly visit Italy this year as I am really sorry I missed the brewers ceremony at he end of November. And I think that it might not be a bad idea to have italian brewers in Prague for the Xmas beer festival next year