Sunday, February 1, 2009

Czechvar (2009 original review)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (736) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 30, 2010
I’ve never been impressed by Europe’s most popular beers, such as Stella Artois, Carlsberg and Pilsner Urquell. With Czechvar (also known as “Budvar” in Europe), we have a slightly better than average pale lager, but I’d emphasize the slightly part. Yeah it’s a drinkable, fairly satisfying beer, but it’s no masterpiece.


European beers, no matter how generic they are, all seem to have a glass specifically designed for them and if the beer is not poured into that glass (and in a certain way, no less), it generates a poor head. No wonder all the bottles of Czechvar I drank could not give me much of a head, and not much of a lasting head either. What does form is an average-size, bright white, fairly creamy head which dissolves quickly and completely and leaves no lacing on the glass.

The beer has a clear body of gold. It’s definitely darker than American lagers, but nothing special. It was bubbling with carbonation after the pour, but it settled down quickly. Since it’s only available in green bottles it didn’t surprise me the scent was slightly skunky, but I’ve smelled much worse. The nose is mostly generic, grainy “beer smell” with no distinct ingredient noticeable.


As something of a beer connoisseur I drink beer for the taste first and foremost, so pilsners and pale lagers have never done much for me. I find the European beers of this type to be average, so can Czechvar do something for me the others don’t?

Actually, yes. First of all, this beer’s palate has a slight creaminess to it, giving it a richer taste and thicker, softer mouthfeel. Unlike those other green bottle European brews, water was not the first thing I noticed upon my initial taste. It’s quite generic in taste for a lager, to be sure, but at least it isn’t thin, weak and watery. I would categorize it as plain, since there is a taste, but it’s not very strong and it’s not off-putting, either.


If there’s one thing European brewers know how to do well, it’s make a beer that’s easy to drink. In fact, I’m actually surprised such beers aren’t even more popular on this side of the pond. Czechvar drinks like water, and I’ll bet lightweights would be surprised how smoothly it goes down.


The bottle indicates this beer is 5% ABV, which is normal for a lager. However, I wasn’t able to find out the number of calories or carbs, but I’d guess they’re similar, or perhaps even lower than Czechvar’s American counterparts. I was able to drink several bottles while gobbling down food at a Super Bowl party without feeling the least bit overwhelmed. After all, isn’t that what beers like this are meant to accompany?


Czechvar is just another example of a beer whose true quality takes a backseat to its name recognition. It’s not a bad beer by any means, but I wouldn’t consider it a very good one, either. Certainly drinkable, but not very impressive.

Grade: 6/10

NOTE: See my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: