The general public can sigh in relief. Those evil bureaucrats won't be messing with their cultural identity. At the same time, local geeks and brewers can sleep well in the knowledge that Czech beer nomenclature won't be the object of international mockery once the new legislation comes into force sometime this year. The most contentious issue of the proposed amendment to Regulation no. 335/1997 Coll. of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic has been settled with a compromise.
It is been agreed that Ležák will remain as a category, but only reserved to bottom fermented beers, as God and Praotec Čech intended, while all the rest will be indicated as Plné Pivo—always for beers of 11 to 12.9° Plato
At last Tuesday's press conference, representatives of the Czech Association of Micro Breweries (Českomoravský svaz minipivovarů - ČMSMP) explained that this, and the other changes, will more accurately reflect the current picture of the local beer market, adding that, in order to keep up with the evolution of the market, further amendments should be expected in the near future.
That's an aim I share, and I would therefore like to contribute a few ideas to the future amendments:
Výčepní pivo, as a name for a category has been made obsolete and inaccurate. Since 2009, most of the beer in the Czech Republic is drunk bottled, and I'm sure someone somewhere is laughing at the image of láhvové výčepní pivo, like it happened with top-fermented Ležák. The legislation should somewhat address that, too. My first choice for the new name, Lahváč, presented two problems: on the one hand, it is still a registered trade-mark, on the other, it could create confusion at a pub; people would no longer order “Výčepní”, but a “Lahváč” and the server might bring them a bottle instead of a draft beer. A better name then would be Chlastační pivo. It sounds nice, I think—Braník chlastační pivo světlý—and it's very accurate. Degustační pivo should be also considered instead of Silné. (Ležák, of course, should not be touched, I wouldn't like Pavel Páral to make a fool of himself again with an opinion piece about beer.)
The name Plné pivo seems to have been chosen a bit on a rush and that is why, I believe that, besides opening the door for a lot of silly jokes, it does not fully express the contrast with Ležák. To that purpose I suggest Stoják, Rychlák, Svrchňák or simply Ejlák.
But the changes should not end there. Beer nomenclature has a lot of inaccuracies, some of which border the offensive. India Pale Ale should be revised. Not only modern IPAs have nothing to do with India, but the name also refers to colonial oppression and brutality. I suggest Hop-forward Pale Ale or Indiscreet Pale Ale, if they want to keep the acronym. Imperial, as an indicator for stronger, presents a similar problem. Not only this country hasn't been part of an empire for nearly a century, but the word is also contrary to the tenets that form the pillars of European values. I suggest Democratic, Inclusive or Humanistic as alternatives.
But let's not get carried away. This is a concern that transcends the boundaries of Czech beer culture and thus, it should be addressed at the international stage.