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A Beer Walk to Litoměřice - 3rd Part

Needless to say, I slept like a drunk baby. In the morning, I didn’t get up immediately when I woke up, I was very comfortable and didn’t fancy leaving the bed – the room, by the way, was great, it looked and felt substantially more expensive than the price I paid. When the call of nature could no longer be ignored, I reluctantly got up, fearful of the pain after the exertions of the previous day. But my legs were fine, no soreness, I felt like after one of my usual 10 km walks around town. Go figure. As I’ve said, the room at Penzion Mácha was great, but the breakfast was a bit wanting. The coffee was fine, yes, but all the rest was uninspiring, boring and supermarket quality. After having a couple of coffees and eating something because-it’s-included-in-the-price-and-would-be-a-waste-otherwise, I picked my book and went to explore the city a little more.  Litoměřice is ideal for a day trip. The main square is gorgeous, there’s plenty of nice architecture, and it’s also a little run-
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A Beer Walk to Litoměřice - 2nd Part

It didn’t take long to leave the city behind and for the trail to start climbing, taking me my past Střekov castle, into the beautiful suburb of Brná and then into the woods. Save for a couple of (fortunately) short sections, the slope wasn’t too steep, it was the sort of gradient that gradually saps your energy, especially when you can’t keep a steady pace due to rocks, roots and other minor obstacles. Another problem was that the trail was not very well marked in some parts and more than once I lost the way and had to retrace my steps, until I missed a turn right before the village of Sebuzín, which I didn’t realise until after kilometre or so downhill section. After weighing my options, I said fuck it and had the Mapy.cz app draw me a new route. It would be a couple of kilometres longer, but with a gentler slope, apparently.  The walk was as brutal as I expected given my shape, and there were several moments when I questioned the wisdom of the endeavour, but the sights and the utter

A Beer Walk to Litoměřice - 1st Part

 I needed to have my computer serviced, which meant that I would have to do without it for a couple of days, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to do much else than fuck all at home. The thing had been acting up for some time already – some issue with the hard drive* – and I’d decided to wait until I finished with a couple of big projects I was working on, always hoping it wouldn’t give up on me. It didn’t, and the timing could not have been any better. With the covid restrictions on all the fun stuff mostly lifted,, and the weather finally nice, now I had the perfect excuse to take a couple of much needed days off to partake in one of my favourite activities: getting a train or a bus somewhere to go on a long walk in nature, with a brewery as destination. I’ve done several, mostly alone, in the two years since the divorce and they’ve always been great, even on the occasions when the beer at the end of the road wasn’t all that good; it didn’t matter, my mind was clear, I was pleasantl

The Lockdown from Behind the Taps

In the evening of Friday 13 May, the Czech government announced series of measures that effectively put the country on lockdown. The borders were closed, public events and gatherings were banned, freedom of movement was restricted, wearing face covering was mandatory when going out and only businesses deemed essential were allowed to open. The restrictions are gradually being eased now. Beer gardens can open from 11 May and pubs, restaurants, and cafés will be allowed to welcome patrons back into their premises on 25 May, after almost two and a half months of only selling food and beverages to go, at best. The effect this has had on society and the economy as a whole is enormous and we aren’t even close to the end of this crisis, which has been especially hard on small businesses, like pubs. There’s been a lot of talk in the media about it, but I still wanted to know (and share) the perspective of the owners, so I sent a couple of questions to a bunch of them. These are the answers I g

Kout na Šumavě - RIP

At the end of last year, Pivovar Kout na Šumavě was shut down. This was no surprise to anyone who follows Czech beer news, the problems that led to this had begun in 2017, if not earlier. Nonetheless, it is a sad ending for a brewery that for some time was considered one of the best. When Koutské pivo appeared in Prague in 2007 or 8, the 10° and 12° pale lagers were better than anything anyone was doing at the time, and the two dark lagers, 14° and 18°, were equally superlative. When they opened U Slovanské Lípy, their flagship pub and also distribution point in Žižkov, and Koutland, in Pilsen, they seemed ready to take over the world; literally, because it was not only at home where they were gaining fans. Koutské pivo was also exported and, at some point or another, it made its way to Sweden, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the UK, and even the US, among others. The brewery could barely meet the demand – domestic and foreign – and it didn’t take long before they had to start thinkin

The News You've All Been Waiting For

When I published the second edition of the Guide, the plan was to wait a year or two and start working on a third edition, or at least an update, but it didn’t take me long to give up on the idea. I simply didn’t want to do the job without anyone paying me for it, especially considering the boom of “Craft Beer” bars – all of which seem to follow the template of too many taps with expensive, trendy beer styles from the same bunch of breweries. On top of that, I wanted to cut down on my boozing and I thought it’d be better to spend the limited time and money I had going to places that I knew and liked instead of new places that may not be that good, all for the sake of a vanity project. People – not many, only a few, but people nonetheless – kept asking me about it, if there was going to be a third edition, and my answer was always a resolute ‘No’. But one day, chatting with a friend, I confessed to her that I would do it if I could find a new twist for it. That twist materialised in m

Pivní Filosof in Norway Part II - Let's Get Brewing

On Wednesday morning, the ghosts of the previous evening’s Kveik haunted every room of our house and there was no open window that could drive them away. After breakfast we all tacitly agreed on going outside, closing the door behind us, making me feel almost of Cortázar’s short story “House Taken Over”. Not that we minded, we all marvelled at the sight of the water in the fjord covered in fog while the sky above was completely clear. Sigurd came for us shortly after, at nine. He had woken up much earlier, though, to the get juniper infusion going. When we arrived at his place, the cellar was warm and smelled lovely. The infusion was cooking in a 150 l copper pot on top of a wood burning stove. Sigurd explained us that it needed to reach about 95°C before anything could be done with it, and that other than feeding the fire and checking the temperature every now and again, there was nothing to do, at least in the cellar. Certain that it would still take awhile to reach the require