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With all Tapsters being trained in Plzen, there’s a complementary team of highly experienced Brewery Bartenders who travel around Czech and European bars teaching them how to serve perfect glasses of Pilsner Urquell.
Veronika Mikésková is one of the Brewery Bartenders. After working in gastronomy for a number of years, Veronika took at job at Prague’s Konvict bar. There she worked alongside fellow Master Bartender and Brewery Bartender Lukas Svoboda. With him she learnt all about the processes of pouring great beer and the importance of the Tapster. Now, 10 years later, she smiles when she explains how it’s her job to travel around and tell people about Pilsner Urquell.
“We need to know how people in other countries know beer,” she says. “In Czech, the people know – the beer is born there so they understand it.” Whereas in Germany, “people want less foam. But this is Pilsner Urquell and this foam is typical for Pilsner Urquell.”
Veronika teaches all bartenders the same steps to pouring the perfect Pilsner Urquell, and creating the best experience with the foam. She’s worked with hundreds of people, so what does she thinks makes a great Tapster?
“The people must have passion. Passion is inside my heart and inside my mind. You can show how to pour and how to clean glasses but the people have to want it.”
Veronika’s own passion is clear in the happy smile that’s always on her face when she’s pouring beer or talking about it. And this is important; in the Czech Republic, the Tapster is at the heart of every pub and they help to create its atmosphere by pouring great beers.
“It’s very important when people drink your beer and next time they come back and want it again,” she says. And regardless of who she’s pouring a beer for, “always the beer in my hand has to be perfect.” She’s even developed a ‘signature’ on her beer, which is to twist the glass at the end of the pour to leave a small swirl in the thick foam. “We like it when people notice us!”
So is there anything she notices in other Tapsters? “I look for the hands of the barman. If they don’t have wet hands then I know that the quality of the beer won’t be so good.” To many this might seem an unusual response, but in the Czech Republic the glasses are cold and wet all the time and the barman is constantly cleaning them. “They must always be getting glasses out of the water,” so they must always have wet hands.
She also explains that when she started “there were few women on the tap. Now it’s like a revolution.” And does she see a difference between a male and a female Tapster? “I think that women softly care about the beer. We have more love. The man pours it harder.”
It’s the small details which can make a big difference. If you spot a Tapster with wet hands, or see a swirl in your foam, notice something somehow ‘softer’ about you beer, or even just feel the energy in the bar, then it’s all down to the Tapster.
“When I make a great pour sometimes I don’t want to give it over! Of course I’m very happy they will drink it but sometimes I just want to keep it for myself!” she says with her smile beaming.
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