Czech Out The Brewery From The Land Of Beer
"La Cerveza del País de la Cerveza”
By Bartley D’Alfonso - Photographs by Bartley D’Alfonso
Czechoslovakia is famous here in Cuenca, for being the origin of the beautiful blue tiles which adorn the three domes above the large Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, or “New Cathedral”, across Parque Calderon. Another product from the now Czech Republic will soon come to Cuenca: a state-of-the-art brewery making the finest Pilsner lager beers to come out of Europe.
Created under the logo and trade name “Golden Prague Premium Czech Lager”, seven enterprising Czech investors have nearly finished building a new brewery nearby in Ricuarte, which will soon be open for tours and taste-testing. Two of the investors have moved here with their families. They are Martin Smetacek as CEO, and Tomas Fencl, as Brewmeister and co-founder. Joining them later will be Radek Prášek, as Marketing Manager and co-owner.In addition to their brewery, they have opened the new “Golden Prague Pub” across the street from SuperMaxi’s El Vergel market.
Why make and sell a European beer here in Cuenca? Radek said that “The people of Ecuador are missing something: a good lager beer. We want to explain our beer making process and bring our product from our homeland, the Czech Republic, which is a famous European tourist attraction for beer lovers.” Martin added “And we want to give them a ‘beer education’ and teach them our long tradition of beer culture, and how we produce the highest quality beers using our high standards.” Brewmeister Tomas further explained: “The idea to come to Cuenca came from Ecuadorian tourists who visited our breweries and pubs, and were surprised how wonderful Czech beers are, saying that they were disappointed none is sold in Ecuador.” Another reason is for the pure, soft river water flowing into Cuenca from the Andes mountains nearby.
A long tradition indeed. The capital city of Prague started brewing beer back in the year 993 A.D. in the Břevnov Monastery The beer had been brewed in the Prague area a long before that, this date is realetd just to the foundation of the first official brewery which actually running till, today, and the country has the highest consumption of beer in the world, about 160 liters – or 42 gallons - per capita per year). The popular Pilsner brand is a lager created in the 19th century in the city of Pilsen. Also, brewmeister Tomas Fencl is the co-founder of a reconstructive brewery near Prague, with ties to brewing traditional beer since 1586 A.D., and he is the winner of several international beer competitions back home.
When manual brewery with automated regulation of temperatures necessary for a good lager will produce some 200,000 liters per year. There will be ample seating for guests who visit the Golden Prague Brewery to sample their three main lager beers, with a special draft beer added occasionally. Guests will enjoy watching what the seven crucial steps are in making commercial beer. The large Pub will be open from Noon to 11:30 p.m. and patrons can taste the benefits of excellent beers made here locally.
They have imported sixteen tons of Bohemian malted spring barley malt from their homeland, where the hops also come from, and the yeast is from France which they bought in Ecuador. When the construction of their Pub is finished, they will serve their beers in 300 ml and 500ml (half-liter) glass steins imported from their homeland, while offering at least five different Czech foods. They expect to employ up to twenty-four local Cuencanos, with the manager being Czech.
The three main lagers they are proudly brewing are: a traditional golden Pilsen lager with a robust flavor of hops; a black beer featuring caramel, toasted and chocolate tones, giving a well-balanced pleasant taste; and a draft blond lager beer, characteristic for its barley body with some remaining sugars adding a more rounded flavor.
When asked if they will sell their products in the area supermarkets and bars, Martin said they would not. Do they plan to export their brands to other countries? Radek answered “Not yet, but we would like to sell our beer to other local restaurants when we are more successful.” Martin added that “We want to organize with other small breweries here and hold beer festivals like back home, with the goal to educate Ecuador about drinking a good beer.” He also said that they have a close association with other Ecuador brew masters and do not want to be regarded as competitors, but as equal members in the same trade, who want to develop, improve and share the culture of making beer.
Know The Difference Between A Lager And An Ale?
A beer is a beer, right? Not at all! As CEO of Golden Prague beers, Martin Smetacek explains that “It is more difficult and costly to produce a lager than an ale, because fermentation of the yeast falls under different temperatures and processing times. Lagers use the ‘Bottom Fermentation’ brewing process at lower temperature and ales use Top Fermentation at higher temp.’ which is easier and faster to make.” That is why lagers are clean-tasting and frequently described as "crisp” and Ales have more fruity-estery notes
The Golden Prague Pub is located on calle Alfonso Cordero in between calle Manual J. Calle and Av. José Peralta, directly across from the Supermaxi El Vergel market, open daily from Noon to 11:30 p.m. For those who also enjoy drinking stronger spirits, the bar is well stocked with whisky, rum, vodka, gin, cognac, along with red and white wines. The Pub also serves several different delicious Czech appetizers and main meals. Their Goulash is earning rave reviews, and the Roast Beef Salad is a favorite among new customers.
Golden Prague Management Team with Czech Ambassador enjoying great beer and food at the VIP event