Prague’s best beer tappers named in regional competition: here’s where to taste their pours

Six bartenders and tap attendants from Prague will go to Plzeň for the national title of best beer tapper

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 03.08.2020 13:40 (updated on 19.09.2020)

Prague’s best beer tappers met at Prague’s Malešická tvrz to qualify for the national round of the 15th annual Pilsner Urquell Master Bartender competition. Their knowledge and experience were assessed in two days of regional rounds by an expert jury led by Václav Berka, the emeritus chief brewer of Plzeňský Prazdroj.

Martin Pačes from the restaurant Červený jelen and Kateřina Gaydiczová from the company U Matěje showed best beer tapping skills and other disciplines. They will compete with other finalists at the national round in Plzeň on November 10 and 11, 2020.

The competition is intended for tap attendants and bartenders who have perfect control over their craft. Hundreds of participants have taken part in the competition during its history. The aim of the competition is not only to raise awareness among taprooms and to motivate them to improve in this traditional craft, but above all to support and increase the quality of beer culture in the Czech Republic.

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Martin Pačes from the restaurant Červený jelen / via Pilsner Urquell

“Although this year, the tap colleagues didn’t really have it easy, and due to the closed pubs they could not practice their profession, it can be seen that they are not losing their enthusiasm and love for beer. We are glad that they want to constantly improve and also show what they can do. An even better beer experience awaits guests in pubs, and that is our main goal,” jury chairman Berka said in a press release.

Competitors had to show not only skill in the tapping itself and conjuring a perfect level, but they also had to demonstrate knowledge of beer production and its proper storage. Their ability to communicate with guests was also assessed.

A total of 65 competitors took part in both Prague rounds. In addition to the winner Martin Pačes, Ondřej Krištof from Výčep u Rarášků and Lukáš Zikmund from Restaurace na Markétě also advance from the first day’s round.

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Kateřina Gaydiczová from the company U Matěje / via Pilsner Urquell

Two other finalists —Tomáš Krčmář from Lokál Hamburk and Tomáš Kříženecký from Restaurace Waldeska — advance from the second day’s round together with the winner Kateřina Gaydiczová. All finalists are from Prague companies.

Pačes is 26 years old and has been working in Červený jelen since September last year. He graduated as a chef / waiter and started working as a beer tapper right after school, in a pub in Čelákovice.

“I started in the field as a waiter, but when the place at the bar became available, I tried it and I was immediately caught up in it. I haven’t moved away from the bar since. I certainly did not expect a victory and I am still absorbing it. In the coming days, I will slowly start preparing for the national round,” Červený jelen’s Pačes said.

Gaydiczová is 27 years old and started working in restaurants at school. She later made it to the bar and stayed with it. She was preparing for the regional round during shifts in the restaurant. “I always try to do my job as best I can. I did not expect victory, but I hoped for it. I’m a little afraid of the national round, we’ll see if it works out again,” U Matěje’s Gaydiczová said.

In addition to Prague, there are regional rounds in Plzeň, Brno, Ostrava and Liberec.

The winners of this year will be announced at the gala evening on November 11 in Plzeň. Before the final round, there will be secret checks by inspectors who will visit the finalists’ restaurants unannounced to see how they take care of the beer in their home restaurants. This will also play an important role in the final competition.

In 2010, Lukáš Svoboda of the Prague restaurant Konvikt went on to be named the best beer tapper in the world, so far the only Czech to win at that level.