New premium lager collaboration unites Czechia’s Budvar and UK’s Thornbridge

Czechia beer giant Budweiser Budvar is joining forces with leading British craft brewer Thornbridge in a rare new collaboration to make a Czech-style lager in the UK.

Czech Mates, a 4.8 percent ABV lager, will be the first that Czechia’s national brewer has produced in this country.

Thornbridge Brewery, based in Bakewell, Derbyshire, is expecting the venture to boost its on trade sales to bars, pubs and restaurants by some 15 percent.

The lager, packaged in draught format, cans and kegs, will also be sold in retail outlets and available to buy from Tuesday (May 16).

Premium craft lager is the UK’s fastest growing beer category, seeing 26 percent annual growth.

As well as the soft water of the Derbyshire Dales and Budvar’s 128-year-old yeast strain, Czech Mates will be brewed with British grown Maris Otter malt and East Kent Goldings hops, renowned for their spicy aromatic lavender and honey flavours.

Brewing involves an aging time of 60 days and the more expensive and lengthy traditional decoction mashing process where starch is converted to sugars.

Budvar’s brewmaster Adam Brož explained: “Decoction develops malt character, depth and superior foam. Time is a very important feature of the lager. The long maturation brings the smoothness, crisp taste, and very high drinkability.”

For Thornbridge, “this collaboration widens our portfolio and brings further innovation and creativity into our brewing methods and gives us access to Budvar’s Czech audience”.

Budvar added: “This is about sharing expertise and allows us to get closer to a wider craft beer audience in the UK and promote Czech beer culture.”


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