Podcast Episode 297: Pivovar Proud Brewmaster Lenka Straková Has a Place to Play in Plzeň

In Pilsner Urquell’s experimental brewery, Lenka Straková is coloring outside the lines of modern craft styles and traditional Czech brewing.

Jamie Bogner Apr 1, 2023 - 7 min read

Podcast Episode 297: Pivovar Proud Brewmaster Lenka Straková Has a Place to Play in Plzeň Primary Image

Photo: Joe Stange

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Tucked into a corner of the sprawling grounds at Pilsner Urquell in Plzeň, Czechia—the birthplace of pilsner—a new chapter in that story is developing. Now in its third year, Pivovar Proud is Pilsner Urquell’s experimental playground—a beautifully equipped 30-hectoliter kit producing a range of both ales and lagers and other creations less easily categorized. Its head brewmaster Lenka Straková has access to Pilsner Urquell’s resources—including malt from its own maltings—but she also has creative license to dabble in New World hops, various yeasts, barrel-aging, and more.

In this episode, Straková tells us more about what she and her team are up to at Proud, including:

  • how Pilsner Urquell’s owner, Asahi, agreed to go along with a substantial experimental brewery focused on craft beer
  • how Proud’s own flagship pale lager, Ventill, is based on Pilsner Urquell and yet markedly its own beer
  • her approach to diacetyl reduction in Czech lager
  • brewing with 34/70 yeast—the same used at Gambrinus—and her trials with various new Czech hop varieties combined with traditional lager-brewing methods
  • brewing ales and craft styles for a Czech audience, with their own spin
  • adjusting Plzeň’s famously soft water
  • happy accidents and barrel-aged imperial brut IPAs

And more.

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].