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Watching Tomáš pour beer is mesmerising. A glass pulled from cold water, a swipe of the tap handle, a flash of white foam, gold gathering beneath it. As it’s put down on the bar seconds later the white and gold come together to create a perfect line across. And it’s exactly the same every single time Tomáš does it.
Tomáš is the Tapster in Lokál U Bílé Kuželky, Prague. He’s worked in gastronomy for just over 20 years and been a Tapster for eight years, which is since the opening of this bar. In 2013 Tomáš was a finalist in the Pilsner Urquell Master Bartender competition and his work shirt is proudly patched to commemorate that. Today his pub is very busy, selling on average one tank of unpasteurised Pilsner a day, which is about 1,000 glasses of beer. “So I never stop pouring!” he laughs.
“The two most important people in a Czech pub are the Tapster and the chef, which is why I want to be a Tapster forever,” he says. “I love it when people come up to me and say, ‘this is the perfect beer.’ It gives me the most pleasure and is the reason why I do what I do.”
He places another perfect beer on his bar, the foam thick and white on top. “Always Pilsner has foam,” he says. “The foam is specific to Pilsner. It protects the beer against the air, which affects the flavour. Without foam the beer is not as good; it’s not in the very best condition it can be.”
As we speak he’s either pouring or cleaning his bar. “A good Tapster should take great pride in their job – everything on their beer station must be spotlessly clean and polished.”
“There are many parts to my job. Of course, there is serving the beer perfectly, which is really the most important. But to make a great beer a Tapster also needs to clean the beer pipes from the tank to the fount regularly – at least once a day – and always when a tank is changed. Only Tapsters are allowed to change the tanks and clean the equipment.”
Many people pass the bar and say hello to Tomáš. He tells us that the main thing he likes about his job is socialising and sharing beers with people. “It’s the best to be with people and talk about beer.”
Lokál U Bílé Kuželky is just over the Charles Bridge, beneath Prague Castle. It's a classic Czech pub with the freshest beer and great, simple food. It's exactly the high quality that you expect from a Lokal.
If you’re in Prague then go and visit Tomáš and share a beer with him. Sit near the bar because watching him work is a wonderful thing. Every beer perfect, every single time.
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