Czech president’s secretary brews up ‘gay beer’

Ladislav Jakl, secretary and political office director for President Klaus, whips up batch of ‘queer beer’ ahead of Prague Pride

Brian Kenety | 10.08.2011
Ladislav Jakl

President Václav Klaus’ secretary and political office director Ladislav Jakl — inspired by the hype around Prague’s first gay and lesbian pride festival — has reportedly brewed up a batch of a new Czech “gay beer” with fellow members of a beer-tasting club.

“With his colleagues from the První pivní extraliga, [Jakl] has brewed some beer intended for the four percent minority. Its name is BuQičák. It has a four percent alcohol content, a pink color and a sweet taste,” the news server reported. “It can apparently be drunk warm.”

In the Czech language, a “tough nut to crack” is known as an oříšek. Translating the name of “BuQičák” falls into that category, and requires a bit of background explanation. ‘It has a four percent alcohol content, a pink color and a sweet taste.’

The word for beechnut, bukvice, is a derogative term for a homosexual man akin to “faggot” or “poofta” in English. Burčák is a partially fermented young wine that begins to appear in Prague street stands and bars in August, shortly before of the traditional festival celebrating the new wine harvest.

Combing the term bukvice with burčák would result in something like “faggot wine” or in this case a “queer beer.” The word for “warm” in Czech — teplý — is also a slang term for a homosexual, hence the reference to serving BuQičák warm.

Given the scarcity of the letter “q” is in the Czech langue — in its place you’ll rather find a “kv” in loan words (“quantity” becomes kvantita, for example) — the capitalized “Q” in BuQičák is likely a reference to “queer,” another slang and derogatory word for a homosexual that has been embraced by the community itself in recent years.

In fact, Prague’s inaugural gay pride festival has the tag line “Drink Beer, Be Queer!”

Prague Pride 2011 controversy

The Festival of Tolerance or Prague Pride 2011 event, organized by the PROUD platform, takes place from August 10-14, culminating on August 13 with a march through the Czech capital. Organizers say they expect up to 7,000 people are expected to take part in the parade on Saturday.

A gay pride march in Tabor, central Bohemia. Prague has its first on Saturday.

President Václav Klaus, meanwhile, has made international headlines for refusing to distance himself from remarks by his chancellor, Petr Hájek, that homosexuals are “deviants,” saying that he took “no pride” in the fact that the festival was taking place in the Czech capital, and criticizing a group of 13 ambassadors who expressed their support for Prague Pride 2011.

“In any event, while homosexuality is something that is markedly in the minority and therefore deserves our protection, it does not necessarily deserve to be celebrated,” the Czech president said, stressing that it is one thing to respect “homosexuality” and quite another to promote “homosexualism.”

Jakl, too, has spoken out against support for the Prague Pride 2011, telling Czech public television, “I don’t like the fact that the mayor of Prague has given strong support to this process. I’m against presenting sexuality in this form.”

Brew your own ‘gay beer’

The recipe for the 11° beer was invented by Czech beer expert Petr Buriánek. It was unveiled to the public on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia at the restaurant Aliance P.I.V. (“beer alliance”) in Prague’s Spořilov district, which lists its characteristics on its website — giving it a rating of 8 out of 10 (taste, fragrance and overall impression).

“BuQičák is similar to a Witbier, EPM 10.9%. The ingredients are barley malt, wheat malt, hops, hibiscus, orange peel, coriander, beechnuts [bukvice] and yeast SafAle U.S. top-05,” said František Trantiny of První pivní extraliga.

It is not the first “gay beer” to have been produced. In January this year, a gay Mexican entrepreneur launched the Purple Hand Beer and Salamandra Cerveza Artesanal brands, which the company behind them says are the “the first beers exclusive for the gay and lesbian community.”

The name of the beers are closely linked to icons and colours of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Purple Hand recalls a famous gay rights protest in San Francisco in 1969. 

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