Kout Beer and?

9 2006 Dějiny English
obálka čísla

The day of the fair on St. George's day they again began brewing their own beer after 35 years. Before that they brewed it for 235 years, since 1736. The community of 1200 inhabitants entered into history in 1431, at the time of the Battle of Domazlice. Seven km from that memorable place, it is after Prague, Karlovy Vary and Cesky Krumlov the Czech town most visited by foreign tourists. The battle which made Kout famous was actually not a battle, because the crusaders fled from the Husite army as soon as they heard them sing.

The basis of the Kout beer is malt of the Plzen type, hops from the royal town of Zatec and water from Kout, the so-called silver well. Jan Skala, the owner of the family concern built during the last two years, found the recipe walled in in the boiler room of the former deserted brewery. Good beer is supposed to have all the characteristic signs of smell and taste of the ingredients of which it is brewed. The correct fermentation and storing at the right temperature is very important, because during this process the right amount of carbon dioxide develops in the liquid. Kout beer, maintaining its unchanged quality, was and is an auxiliary means of curing diseases of the digestive tract and of the metabolism.

On the "beer path" on the slopes of the Bohemian Forest tourists will soon not have to depend on Kout beer only. In Domazlice, where they stopped brewing Purkmistr, there are plans to found a family brewery. Apart from the colourful enrichment of the choice of refreshing drinks of domestic provenience, the renewal of the tradition of minibreweries strengthens the middle class in the Czech Republic, which is the key to social balance and true democracy in any state.

At the jubilee exhibition in Prague in 1891 the visitors were introduced to 51 kind of beer. The philanthropist Vojtech Naprstek (1826-1894) in the house of his mother "u Halanku" which had the right to brew beer founded with the profits from brewing beer a center for countrymen from abroad to meet. Often in was Czechoamericans. Soon however small scale brewing was restricted by the industrial revolution. Major breweries developed and houses with brewing rights began to disappear. At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were 51 breweries in Prague, after 1918 it was hardly half that number. Czechoslovakia exported breweries and monopolized domestic production. Immediately after 1989 this suited companies aiming at an exclusive position on the market. And so, while we made propaganda for minibreweries, within the country public opinion was influenced against them. The "family silver", the Plzen brewery, belongs to a South African company. It is only now that things are turning around.

The Kout brewery was built in 1736 by count Jan Filip Stadion. Before the abolition of serfdom in 1848 it was one of the obligation s of the serfs to deliver lumber for the production of barrels In 1875 the revolving machine of the brewery began to drive the steam engine instead of the earlier water wheel. (Now it is in the collections of the National Technical Museum.) Since 1926 the "chodish garnet" was brewed in Kout. More than half of its customers were in Germany.

In 1971 a new concept of production was introduced, as we read in the Kout chronicle. The brewery switched to the production of lemonade. This did not prove to be successful, in the nineties the concern ended in bankruptcy. The building was deteriorating until it was taken over by Jan Skala, who felt correctly what the time requires. 30.000. hectolitres will not be produced annually as in the 19th century, but only 5000 including special varieties, for instance yeast or black beers, ten, twelve or eighteen percent.

The Czech political parties reproach each other that they are not paying enough attention to the development of the trades in favor of major capital. Only now a gradual renewal of the natural structure of communities is beginning: Municipal buildings, churches, post offices, Sokol halls, restaurants and small production. The rise of local entrepreneurship also comes via beer. Why not? The Czechs are number one in beer drinking in the world.

Bohuslav Hynek Translated by Vilma Iggers

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

Informace o webu

jeja.cz 2012