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The Session #42: A Special Place, A Special Beer

Finally I manage to take part in The Session. This month the invitation comes from Ramblings of a Beer Runner who proposes the following topic:
"...write about a special place in your life, and a beer or brewery that connects you to that place. It can be the beer from your childhood home, a place you once lived, your current hometown, a memorable vacation you once took, or a place you've always wanted to go to but never had the chance..."
I think we all have our good share of special beers and/or special places, and I'm no exception. However, having at the same time A very special beer in A very special place can be a bit more difficult.

I write about Czech beer for the Spanish magazine Bar&Beer. My third article was about local brewing schools. During my research I visited SPŠPT (that in Czech stands for Industrial Middle School for Food Technology), where, among other careers, kids can learn Brewing. There I was received by the school's director, his predecessor and the head teacher of the course, with whom I had a very interesting chat.

They told me about the school, which was founded in 1868 and that "Brewing" (it's got another official name, but I can't remember it now) is the only career of all of the ones they teach that is thriving (in most of the rest, they struggle to get enough pupils each year to open a class). That is in part thanks to the close relationships Czechs still have with their national drink, but also, because many of the pupils are children or even grandchildren of Brew Masters that graduated there. In fact, most Brew Masters, Brewers and not few brewery owners in the Czech Rep. learnt their trade there.

Of course, a visit to a brewery (because there is a fully functional brewery, with professional equipment, in the premises) wouldn't be complete without a tasting of what they produce.

To make it short, here I was in a classroom of a Secondary School, with some of the authorities of this school, drinking beers that had been brewed by 15 to 19 year old kids, all while we chatted about beer culture, history, industry, present and future and the beers we were drinking, of course, which, by the way, were really good! I can't think of a place or a beer more special that those.

In most countries this would be, if not highly illegal, at the very least terribly controversial. In the Czech Republic, it is tradition.

Na Zdraví!

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  1. This was a great post. Inherent in the Czech national identity is the belief that beer is good and such a simple, yet profound foundational belief, can really make a difference with how crazy people get about alcohol enforcement. I look to the stories of the Good Soldier Švejk and other parables that help explain Czech culture. While I am an American citizen, both my father and his parents were born outside of Prague and despite the hardships that the Czech's have experience throughout their history, I have often felt that Czech (and Slovak) culture is often "American culture gone right." Na Zdravi!


  2. Thanks for sharing this for the session. I cannot believe something like this could ever exist in the United States, even though there would be no shortage of applicants, and our country would be better for it.


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