Notch Polotmavy is a brand new beer and a limited release available in draft and 22 ounces bottles (specs and deets here). It’s yet another style from the Czech Republic that gets very little exposure in the US, and is a wonderful alternative to the sweeter Oktoberfest lagers or spiced up pumpkin beers that hit this time of year. As usual with Notch beer releases, there’s a fair bit of history and back story on the style and how they decided to brew their own interpretation.
The Czech word Polotmavy translated to English is “half-dark” or what we know as amber. As with all Czech styles, brewers categorize by color and strength, so a Polotmavy can range from 4% to 8%. Ours is a Polotmavy Lezak, on the lighter side of amber, and 4.4% ABV. Check out the interminable brewing historian Ron Pattinson’s quick guide to Czech beer, and then realize everything you’ve been told about Czech beer styles is false.
Notch’s Polotmavy lies firmly on the drier side of the style, with a good smack of Czech Saaz for balance. And at this point I need to warn those who equate hoppy with citrus, pine and juicy fruit – this beer has none of the hop character you’ll find in hoppy US beer styles. Notch Polotmavy is 100% Saaz, from the first wort hopping all the way through to the dry hopping, and the result is a classic Saaz hop character (herbal, grassy, floral). It is certainly hop forward, but balanced, and the malt comes through beautifully. Notch Polotmavy is a subtle beast, if that makes any sense.