Zatec Lager is a golden Czech pilsener style lager hailing from the Žatecký Pivovar in the Czech Republic. The brewery was built in 1800 inside the grounds of the destroyed Zatec royal castle, after it was determined that the four smaller breweries of the area could not keep up with local demand. Eventually the brewery expanded, and the surrounding smaller breweries closed by 1948. It languished under Communism where investing was poor, but a purchase in 2001 rejuvenated its funding, leading to brewery as well as local community improvements.
The brewery still uses the horizontal lagering tanks that were installed in 1835, located 80 feet underground to keep the necessary cool conditions for the lagering process, which takes place over 45 days. It uses local Zatec (Saaz) hops, Moravian malts, and locally sourced water. They produce a classic lager, a strong lager, a dark lager, as well as a couple other variation (including gluten-free beer).
The flagship gold lager (Blue Label) is an excellent example of the classic Czech pilsener lager, with a nice dark golden color and white head. Grassy smell leads way to a malty and bitter flavor, with moderate carbonation. At a mild 4.6% ABV, this is a very drinkable lager. While pilsener style lagers are not my favorite style of beer given general lack of flavor complexity, the Czechs do produce a rather admirable product compared to other regions in the world, which is expected from the originators of this style. Pilsener beer came from the Czech town of Plzen, once a part of the Bohemian Kingdom, in the 1840s. The style is also known as Bohemian pilsener or Bohemian lager.
Zatec Lager is best served in a tapered pilsener glass, fluted glass, or mug, and is often found in local liquor stores in a single pint bottle.