Černé Pivo!

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Černe Pivo is back! Our Czech-style black lager is here to help you through the long, cold, cruel Massachusetts winter. Our blog post from last year pretty much covers all the basics, but we’ve added a few new pictures and edited out the bombast (well, not really). Call this a living blog post, or us being lazy. Either way, Cerne Pivo is here, and now on the shelves and taps in MA. Na zdravi!

Chris’ blog post from last year, with a few embellishments:

There are certain beers you’ll never get a chance to brew. Either the market does not exist, or the means to brew them are out of your reach. Sometimes both. For the longest time I worked in an ale only brewery, and lagers were never on my radar. So a Czech style Černe Pivo was certainly not an option, although I have a deep fondness for this beer style. While I now have the ability to brew lagers, the market for Černe is still uncertain. But that’s why I started this session beer road show, to offer more choice and expose beer fans to session beer styles rarely explored outside of the great brewing countries of Europe.  In the age of hoppy boozy ales served in tulip glasses for deep contemplation, Notch presents a low gravity dark malty lager built for multiple rounds in 1/2 liter glasses. Can you tell we are having too much fun?

Inspired by the black session lagers of the Czech Republic, Notch Černe Pivo is malty, toasty, and infinitely drinkable. While Černe pours black, it trades the high intensity roast and bitterness of a porter or stout for the mellow malty profile of a lager. Think roasty, but think subtle roasty. It also trades the fruitiness of an ale for a cleaner lager aroma, which allows the subtle malt character to come through. Černe Pivo is Czech for “Black Beer”, and is a style wholly indigenous to the Czech Republic, yet with little awareness in the US. I’m not sure why the beer world perceives the Czech Republic as having only one style (Pilsener) when there are dozens. Maybe most of the US beer cognoscenti prefer trips to Belgium instead.

Some Černe (Black) beers I enjoyed in Prague, some stinky beer cheese, a knuckle of pig. And more Černe.

Session beer dominates the beer culture in the Czech Republic, although they have different names for these low gravity lagers. Vyčepni Pivo, or “Tap Beer” is widely used referring to a range of styles with modest amounts of alcohol. The other way Czech’s identify session beer is by the measurement of a beer’s gravity before fermentation in degrees Plato. Desítka, or ten, is the name for the lower gravity session lagers, while the stronger lagers are 12, 14  and higher. These numbers do not reflect alcohol percentage, but the amount of malt extract before fermentation begins. This confuses many tourists who boast stories of drinking 10% ABV beers all night, when in fact, it was a classic session with low gravity lagers.

Notch Černe Pivo will be available through the winter in 22oz bottles and draft. We are beyond excited about its return, hope you are too. Na zdravi!