The majority of breweries have their core range of beers and occasionally, some more often than others, brew a special, new batch of beer. Occasions for this vary. Some brews are made because an opportunity arises, like the fall hop harvest that inspires wet hopped beers that display pleasant green, herbal aromas thanks to the use of fresh hops. Sometimes a beer is brewed to celebrate a special occasion, like the ones we brew for each edition of Prague Beer Days. And then there are beers that are brewed out of pure necessity and historical circumstances.
Such was the case of Staropramen Granát. This amber colored beauty was conceived in 1884 by the great Staropramen brewmaster, Michael Trnka. He created a strong, fifteen - degree Plato beer that featured a clear hop aroma and dark malt that gave the beer its special reddish color. The beer became extremely popular and inspired a whole bunch of breweries to name their semi-dark beers Granát. But as history often goes, the production of Granát was halted in 1938 due to the unfortunate historical events that eventually led to WWII.
Despite the dark times a decision inside the brewery was made to secretly brew a batch of Granát for Christmas. It was a courageous move that became a Smichov tradition. The secret brewing of Granát continued after the war, during the times that did not exactly favor pre-war traditions. For generations, only the brewers, cellarmen, and few other leading figures knew about this secret.
Fast forward to 1999 when the city of Prague was preparing itself to become the European Capital of Culture 2000 and Staropramen brewery was celebrating its 130th anniversary. In order to celebrate these truly special occasions, it was only right that Prague’s finest brewery releases a special beer. And this turned out to be the perfect time for Granát to resurface from the cellars that kept the secret for so long and become a special celebration beer. But it would be a pity to pigeonhole the wonderful Granát to being just a celebration beer for a limited time only. This fine semi-dark lager is well worth being available year-round. And that is exactly what happened. With a few tweaks to the recipe to bring the beer to twelve - degree Plato that made Granát more sessionable, without losing the special, rich taste, Granát became available year-round. Granát is a special beer, both because of its flavor and appearance as well as its historical significance that shows what a few special people can do over the course of a century and a half.