Pilsner beer changed the world of beer. Its production process has become a world standard. The lucky participants of the Beer Congress, which will be organized by AEGEE-Plzeň from 22nd till 26th of January, will learn more about this great heritage of this beautiful Czech city, which will be European Capital of Culture in 2015. Visits to breweries, lectures and workshops will explore the world of beer in depth. “Beer is a Basic Element of Czech Culture”, says Aneta Caltová, President of AEGEE-Plzeň in the interview with the Golden Times.

AEGEE-Plzeň is waiting for you!

Golden Times: A congress about beer! Is this a fun event or a serious event?
Aneta Caltová: I would say it’s both! We are trying to make it a balanced mixture between fun and serious. There will be various presentations and workshops related to culture and beer as the basic element of Czech culture. On the other hand our participants will relax at a bowling game or in one of the many pubs with a nice beer mug in their hands. So although it seems that one will consume quite a lot of beer, it’s definitely not the only thing that will be done!

Golden Times: Can you tell more about the programme? Will there be many lectures and exercises? 
Aneta: We asked the Culture Working Group to make a contribution to our event, so there will be presentations and workshops about culture provided by them. Then we will take our participants to a debate with the realization team of the European Capital of Culture 2015. The Beer Team will also get to know a lot of information about the history of beer, about the brewing process and more during the visits of the breweries Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus.

The main gate of the Pilsner Urquell brewery

Golden Times: Will the participants make their own beer? 
Aneta: Unfortunately, brewing beer is a rather complicated and complex process and we do not dispose of sufficient equipment to try it on our own. Nevertheless, our participants will learn the brewing method during the visit of the brewery and during one workshop we will teach them how to make a proper draught beer, which is not that easy as it seems…

Golden Times: What will the participants learn about Plzeň as European Capital of Culture 2015? 
Aneta: They will get to know the history and background of this European project and will discover its purposes and goals. As mentioned before, they will be introduced the realization team of “Plzeň 2015”, which is taking care of the whole happening about being European Capital of Culture 2015. Moreover, they will be presented the process of accomplishing the given goals through organizing various events, workshops, exhibitions and discussions with citizens of Plzeň.

The great synagogue is the third biggest in the world

Golden Times: A couple of words about Plzeň as city. Why is it worth visiting the city? 
Aneta: Plzeň is a very nice, rather smaller city with about 170,000 inhabitants. It was founded already in 1295 on the confluence of four rivers. There is a picturesque city centre with Gothic cathedral, Renaissance townhall, Franciscan monastery or Jewish synagogue – the third biggest in the world! It is also home to brands such as Pilsner Urquell or Škoda Works. We think it is a very favourable place to spend a few days in.

Golden Times: What will be the social programme of the event? 
Aneta: For example lots of games, some of them related to beer apparently, an unforgettable pub crawl in teams, every night a different theme party… A lot more fun is going to be prepared yet!

Golden Times: Do you have some personal contact to the Pilsner brewery? Or even get free beer sponsored?
Aneta (smiles): Actually yes, two members of our board have a part-time job there. Unfortunately we couldn’t get any free beer supply, but there was a significant discount given and there will also be a small surprise prepared for our participants during the visit of the brewery.

AEGEE-Plzen2Golden Times: Currently there are lots of discussions about the external image of AEGEE. Do you think that this event could harm the image? 
Aneta: We are aware of the present discussion about the image of AEGEE, but we are convinced we cannot cause any harm to it. Beer is a basic element of the Czech culture and we will present it just as that.

Golden Times: How many members does AEGEE-Plzeň have, what were your main activities in 2013 and what are you planning for 2014? 
Aneta: AEGEE-Plzeň is a tiny antenna which was founded in 1998. It currently has about 40 members, but just about ten are active ones. Still it’s a success for us, last year we had half of these figures. In 2013 we organized our traditional event “Skiweek” in March and then local events such as squash tournaments or language evenings. As there were not enough active members to organize a Summer University, we focused on promoting AEGEE and the Summer Universities in order to recruit new members. Which we managed, but still hope to gain a lot more members in the future! Our plans for the upcoming year, beside the Beer Congress, are to organize another volume of Skiweek, a Summer University in co-operation with AEGEE-Bamberg and AEGEE-Passau and possibly a Local Training Course as well.

Golden Times: Anything else you would like to add? 
Aneta (smiles): We would like to thank you for this interview and we hope we will satisfy all the eager members of our “Beer Team ” this January!