…was Budweiser vs. Budweiser, as recounted by Der Spiegel’s Andreas Tzortzi.
The first, lucky American fans outside of the supermarket — the stars and stripes one had draped around his shoulders was a dead give away — were the lucky recipients of their first ever Budweiser. The real kind, as Europeans insist.
“More hops,” said Bill Thomas of Dallas, Texas, dark shades not quite concealing the sparks of joy in his eyes. “Cleaner, less carbonation … tastier.”
The first verdict was in. But would the lost Americans down the road share it?
A lifelong drinker of the American version of Bud, US fan West Interian’s palate is hardly what one might call discerning. But on a hot afternoon, in a town who’s name every one seemed to have trouble pronouncing, Interian became a convert.
“I’ve drunk Bud my whole life, and this tastes better,” he said after a gulp or two. Then he paused. “Hell, this is warm, and it tastes better. Try this, Rex.”
Rex Corbett grabbed the modest green bottle: “Hmmmm, that is good,” Corbett agreed. The bottle never made it back to Interian.
And the Czechs? I had given up hope of locating a six-pack of Anheuser-Busch in town because, well, nobody touches the stuff here. The stadium was, of course, the last and most logical choice.
Do you speak English? The two jersey-clad, face-painted Czechs — who will later reveal themselves as Tomas Novak and Martin Jirounek — nodded yes.
“This may sound strange,” I said, “but, I want to buy you a beer. And then I want to watch you drink it.”
An odd come-on, perhaps, but it was a difficult one for Novak and Jirounek to turn down. The two agreed, and waited until I worked my way to the front of the line. Behind the counter, acne-splashed teens poured Anheuser-Busch Bud — as it’s called here so as not to trample on Czech Bud’s brand — out of the familiar brown plastic bottles and into cups. The server was wearing gloves — like I said, they don’t touch the stuff here.
“It’s cold,” Novak ventured, helpfully. “But it is missing, um. I don’t know how to say. It is missing … um, yes. I miss the, uh, typical taste of beer.“