I’m always intrigued by the “own-brand” Czech and German lagers that you see in supermarkets and corner-shops in the UK. Some are rank, but others are real hidden gems. Most are sold in the UK under pseudonyms, but it’s easy enough to trace their true origins online.
So, why wouldn’t I grab six bottles of Tesco’s new Czech lager, “Boheme 1795”, for £4?
It looks, at first sight, like a cheap knock-off of Budvar — white and red label, green bottles, and so on — but turns out to be the real deal: the original Budweiser. The German-owned Mateske brewery was the first to make beer in Budweis in 1795, and made the first pilsner there in 1802.
In the Czech Republic, it’s sold as a Budweiser/Budvar (any beer from České Budějovice is entitled to the name) but in the UK, Tesco have chickened out, to avoid trouble with Anheuser-Busch.
What does it taste like? Better than I expected — drier and more bitter than Budvar, a similar appealing golden colour — but not mindblowing.
But at 66p a bottle, or 50p a bottle if you buy a case of 20 for £10, it’s great value, and definitely more than drinkable.