Have I mentioned this before? I can't remember, but JW Lees have available to all their pubs and the free trade, rather a good, genuine Czech lager. The beer is Bohemia Regent Premium, a golden full bodied genuine 5% Czech beer falling into the class of světlý ležák 12. It is now imported directly by JW Lees to the UK. Having been brewed in the Czech Republic, it is regularly tankered over to Lees to be kegged. The Regent brewery has been brewing beers since 1379, in the ancient heart of the town of Trebon, in the Czech Republic and there is a rather interesting potted history of the place on their website.
Unfortunately, class counts for little when branding is all. In most JW Lees pubs in our area, the preferred premium tipple is Northampton brewed San Miguel - not even the same strength as that brewed in Spain (5.4%), but a 5% variation of the same. The name however sells it, though I doubt many know it is made in Northampton, nor care if they do. Fortunately one pub, the Ship Inn, a handsome little pub on the Rochdale Canal and the nearest other Lees pub to my local, does sell Regent and in the proper glassware too. I often make a little detour there to sample the wares. We did so again on Sunday and three pints of this hoppy and bitter, delicious and well balanced brew were just the ticket. It is a firm favourite of my lass too, which makes it a lot easier for her to be persuaded into the Ship.
I don't know what sort of reputation the Regent Brewery enjoys in the Czech Republic, but for me, having a genuine, tasty Czech import on my doorstep, sold at reasonable prices, is good enough. It is though I believe available from Lees nationwide.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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