A couple of weeks ago I did something pretty cool; I flew out to Prague with Pilsner Urquell to hang out, drink some awesome beer and learn more about their Tapster programme. I’ll post separately about their Archive of Dreams and Germination Room of Wonder (official names don’t you know), but today I want to talk about the Tapsters, a super cool group of young men and women really bringing the professionalism back to behind the bar.
The Tapster programme
involves several days of intense training with Pilsner Urquell Beer Master, Robert Lobovsky, in which the wannabe Tapsters learn how to keep the beer in the best condition and pour the perfect pint. Well, pints actually, as Pilsner Urquell have 3 specific pours: Hladinka (the smooth pour), Na Dvkrat (the crisp pour) and the Mliko (the milk pour).
You’re probably most familiar with the Hladinka, the pour shown in the image above, and you’re probably also familiar with someone who thinks this is a terrible way of pouring beer. But they are wrong. Wrong I tell you! Czech lagers are different to our own British ales; the foam is super tasty and, besides, it’s wet, which means most of it turns into beer anyway. What’s really interesting is that when a Tapster pours a Hladinka, they create a layer of foam and then fill the beer beneath it. Isn’t that brilliant? Please be as excited as I am about this.
During my trip I was fortunate enough to meet 2 chaps from Albert’s Schloss, Manchester, who had just passed their training and been awarded with the sacred leather apron (don’t they look nice). By the way, Albert’s Schloss sells an incredible amount of Pilsner Urquell and I was amazed to find out it sells the highest volume of unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell anywhere outside Czech. Can you believe that? In Manchester!
There was a time when working behind a bar was a true craft, and I have really enjoyed the rejuvenation of this profession over the past few years. I often have conversations with passionate and knowledgeable bar staff about the drinks they are serving, and I applaud Pilsner Urquell for taking an active part in this.