The brewery in Domažlice is producing a very special beer for the Czech Republic city’s celebration of Liberation Day.
Two Rivers American Pale Ale will be a featured beverage as citizens observe the day Lt. Col. Matt Konop of Two Rivers led an advance party into his ancestral hometown to liberate it from Nazi occupation.
Stanislov Antos, vice mayor of Domažlice, said the name of the beer was chosen as a reminder of our cities’ partnership.
That partnership took root May 4, 1945, when Konop’s 2nd Infantry Division advance party rolled into the town, German occupiers fleeing before it or taken prisoner.
What made the event that much more remarkable is that Konop’s grandparents had emigrated from that very region of then Bohemia. Konop was raised speaking Czech on the family farm in Stangelville, 20 miles north of Two Rivers; it was to be his fluency in that language, along with his previous gallantry in action, that led him to being made commander of the advance party.
Konop wrote about that day in Domažlice:
“On my arrival I parked my jeep in front of a line of store buildings in the heart of the city. As I got out of my jeep I glanced at the signs on the buildings and, to my surprise, I saw a sign Hruska! My grandmother’s name was Hruska and now I realized I was catching up with the past…
“I was surprised to see the many people lining the streets and still arriving carrying home-made Czech flags and waving them. Soon I heard the music of their national anthem, Kde Domov Muj, which I recognized as I heard that melody many times before [in his Czech enclave in Wisconsin]…
“A man and his wife finally got to me and the man told the group nearby that I was a Czech, that my grandparents came from that area, and that I was their ‘liberator!’ More embarrassment for me, but my driver was enjoying this to the limit. I was put on the shoulders of a group who carried me through the street and I could see people taking pictures…”
As Konop was cheered, the townspeople proclaimed, Jsme osvobozeni jednim z nas: “We are liberated by one of our own!”
The moment was indeed captured in photographs, the image replicated on the bronze plaque that’s mounted on the Hruska building in the main square of Domažlice.
Of the celebratory beer being rolled out as part of the Liberation Day observance this year, Konop’s grandson, Patrick Dewane, said, “My grandfather would have loved this...For his birthday he used to tell us, ‘Just get me good beer and rye bread.’”
According to Brewmaster David at Městský pivovar Domažlice, he and co-brewmaster Jane are preparing a limited batch of 264 gallons.
“The ale will have yellow to golden color, medium body and pleasant hoppy flavor with flowery, spicy, and citrusy aroma because of the intensive dry hopping for which we add several American hop varieties: Amarillo, Cascade and Citra,” he said. “It will be unfiltered and unpasteurized with slight haze.”
The brewmaster added, “The Two Rivers ale will be refreshing and very drinkable to emphasize cooperation between Two Rivers and Domažlice.”