A 'History' of New Bohemia
The original Kingdom of Bohemia was established back in the 13th century. Its kings dominated the region and served as Holy Roman Emperor as the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance. At its peak, Praha (today's Prague) drew together the most learned monks, alchemists, scholars, artists, astrologers and brewers, generating a heady mix of intellectual and mystical inquiry. Ever since, the spirit of Bohemia has juxtaposed tradition with inspired innovation, to give us new forms of art, taste and style. Art Nouveau, Mozart, Kafka, and gypsy jazz are just a few examples, not to mention the 1989 'Velvet Revolution' that replaced a dictatorship with a playwright philosopher as President.
But they really had us when we traveled to the region and drank the beer.
For centuries, Bohemia was not only the seat of power in Central Europe. It was the region's master brewer. In some towns, brewing contributed more than 80% of municipal revenue, and Czechs today consume more beer per capita than any other nation. It is the birthplace of Pilsner, and along with its Bavarian neighbors, Bohemia continues to produce many of the world's finest lagers. While living and working in Central Europe, we got inspired by the vibrant beer culture and styles we encountered, and we wanted to bring that experience back home.
Of course, drinkers in the US have had lots to celebrate in recent years, with new breweries producing an array of outstanding beers. But while the craft beer scene has yielded a 'renaissance' for lovers of aggressive ales (IPAs, stouts, sours), it is still stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to some of the crisper styles that are local favorites in Central Europe. So we set out on a mission to establish a 'New Bohemia', in a place as magical as we could find.
Like the old Kingdom of Bohemia, Santa Cruz is a mystical land, a place of natural beauty and power, and a slightly subversive cultural element that fosters an ideal setting in which to practice our brewing alchemy. Like the town of Plzen, where the pilsner style was born, it is not a community that accepts the status quo. It is a town that is both classic and renegade, with its own traditions--guided by a spirit of discovery and an appreciation for artistic beauty. It has a remarkable beer scene, and we expect it will soon be recognized as one of the most exciting beer cities in California, or even the Western US.
For us, NuBo is more than just a name. It's a vision of what our brewery will represent--in terms of a primary beer tradition, in terms of the essential spirit of Santa Cruz, and in terms of matching our experience and respect for tradition with a taste for new and creative flavors.