A Tale of Two Brewers

Prague's newest brewery combines modern brewing traditions with old Bohemian excellence

Nathaniel Patton

Written by Nathaniel Patton Published on 02.04.2014 09:34:26 (updated on 02.04.2014) Reading time: 4 minutes

This is an exciting time for fans of craft beer living in the Czech Republic. Over the past few years, the number of microbreweries has been steadily rising and those who shun the large, commercial brands have more and more options to choose from. However, it isn’t easy for the little guy to stand out and make an impact in a market dominated by behemoths. I sat down with long-term expat and San Francisco native Se Padilla, co-founder of Two Tales Brewery, to find out what makes Prague’s newest brewery unique.

The idea for Two Tales sprung up in a conversation between Padilla and Czech-born Canadian co-founder Jan Martásek at a backyard BBQ a few years ago. Microbreweries had started popping up around the Czech Republic, so the demand was there. However, Padilla and Martásek didn’t get into the brewing biz just to turn a buck.

“We wanted from the beginning to do something we were proud of,” Padilla explained.

A Tale of Two Brewers

These men clearly have a passion for beer and their goal was to bring that enthusiasm to the rest of us. But starting up a brewery in the beer crazy Czech Republic involves plenty of challenges.

They decided early on that building their own brewing facilities would be too costly, so like several other new Prague breweries they share space with an already established brewery. This allowed them to focus more on the quality of the beer itself. After partnering up with respected brewmaster Jan Šuráň, they found just the right ingredients to achieve the unique taste and quality they were looking for.

Padilla hopes that Two Tales Brewery will form a kind of bridge between Czech brewing traditions past and present. In the 15th century, Bohemian brewers were subject to the King’s Law, which meant they had to maintain a high quality in order to keep their right to brew. Over the years and especially during Communism, the commercial breweries gained more influence in the marketplace and quantity started to take priority over quality. The primary goal behind Two Tales is to bring back that emphasis on high quality beer.

A Tale of Two Brewers

Their other goal is to empower other people to pursue their own passions. Two Tales is planning to start an interactive blog where people can share their own experiences and goals with the hopes of creating a community of like-minded people. For instance, Two Tales is sponsoring an upcoming expedition to Greenland in which a group of climbers – incuding co-founder Martásek – will attempt to scale a mountain this summer. This is the type of activity that Padilla hopes will lead to Two Tales being more than just a brewery, but rather a part of the community at large.

Unlike most Czech microbreweries, Two Tales is available in glass bottles as well as on tap. A significant portion of their beer is exported, with Sweden and Thailand being two of the popular destinations. Two Tales currently offers four different brews:

A Tale of Two Brewers

Bohemian Lager – This lager is based on traditional Czech beer, but has a different taste compared to most Czech lager. It is an 8°  lager and contains only 3.5% alcohol,. This beer was intended to be a throwback to the lighter beer drunk by factory workers in past generations. The flavor is pretty unique, but doesn’t lack flavor despite being a lighter beer.

Bohemian Grapefruit Lager – Yes, you read that correctly. However, unlike some of the fruity radler beer that’s been going around, this lager uses only pure grapefruit – peel and all – as opposed to an extract or artificial flavor. The bitterness of the peel is certainly present, although not overpowering. Padilla says this beer is a hit in Thailand, where they typically drink it with a chunk of ice on hot days.

Bohemian Pale Ale – This tasty ale may be produced in Bohemia, but it tastes more like America. U.S.-grown hops contribute to the bitterness and aroma of this pale ale, which contains 6.5% alcohol. The flavor isn’t as potent as some IPAs, but the bitterness of the hops stays on your tongue long after the beer is gone.

Bohemian Black Ale – The black ale may be the most intriguing of the beers from Two Tales. Even though it is dark in color and fairly heavy (also 6.5% ABV), it retains many qualities of pale ales. It also uses American hops for extra bite, and the darker malt gives it a slightly smoky, roasted character. This beer has a lot of different flavors going on, which compliment each other well.

A Tale of Two Brewers

Two Tales has also just released a 12° full-body Czech lager although it’s so new I haven’t had a chance to taste it yet. They will also be putting out a non-alcoholic lager in the near future. You can find their products at approximately 15 different shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants in Prague, including Zly Casy, Bakeshop Praha, Jama, Sansho, Bistro 8, Fish and Chips, and The Real Meat Society. For more information visit their web page or contact Two Tales on Facebook.


What’s your favorite local brew?

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