Good Beer Hunting

no. 470


With 40+ people scattered all over the world, it’s rare that I get a glimpse into the working style of any particular writer or photographer who contributes to Good Beer Hunting. So having an opportunity to tag along with Evan Rail while he pursued the Wild Creatures story in Mikulov, Czech Republic was a rare treat.

We traveled through the Hungarian and Czech countrysides to a small town where the Wild Ale producer set up shop, far from the more dense, consolidated influences of Czech Lager. We ducked our heads and crossed the threshold into a multi-generational wine cave owned by Wild Creatures proprietor Jitka Ilčíková’s parents, where she stored many of her earliest “homebrew” experiments. And then we ended up at a small restaurant burrowed into the side of the mountain, filled with the exuberance of an accordion player, dancers, and a flame-throwing winemaker. I was caught up in the revelry a bit myself.

When I looked back, hours into a slow-drip interview between Evan and Jitka, I saw a writer diligently still at work, asking process questions about the beers, cross-referencing facts about the operation, and otherwise attempting to ferret out a story from a humble and shy-but-confident producer who wasn’t used to the attention.

“She said she doesn’t like Brett to show up in the beer,” he said to me later that night after leaning on her viticulture background for more details and intent. “She knows it’s in there, but she wants the clarity of the fruit to come through. Isn’t that a crazy thing to hear?”