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Stone Berlin's Failure Shouldn't Surprise Anyone

Joe “Thirsty Pilgrim” Stange, writing for Good Beer Hunting, goes behind the headlines with an insightful story on the failure of Stone Berlin, reviewing, among other things, the difficulties the California based brewing company faced when putting together their brewery in the German capital.

Though there’s no doubt that the delays and unexpected costs contributed its ultimate fate (and I sympathise Koch’s frustration with the builders), I believe that, even if everything had gone according to plan (which hardly ever does), the enterprise was doomed for the simple reason that it had arrived way too late. Let me explain.

The first time I head about Stone’s plans to set up shop in Europe was ten years ago – and it’s possible that even Berlin was being mentioned then. To put it into perspective, this was a time when Brew Dog was still using their first brewery and their Punk bullshit was taken seriously by not few; a time when De Molen, Meantime, Nøgne Ø, Birrificio del Ducato, and Cíbel…
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The Reason I Haven't Had a Drop of Beer in the Last Three Weeks and Counting

A tooth, one motherfucking tooth.

Health, fortunately, had never been something I’d ever had to worry. The only serious disease I’d suffered was pneumonia, when I was 10 (how I got it is itself a funny story). Since then, other than the very occasional flu and those “feeling a bit under the weather” things, I’d always been healthy. At 47 now, I was fit, active, I’d never been a smoker, I ate well, I didn’t have weight issues, and I had even cut down a little on the boozing because, well, I’m not getting any younger and I decided that if I wanted to keep on enjoying my beer in the years to come, I had better slow down a bit. And despite all that, that motherfucking tooth almost sends me to an early grave.

It all started on Tuesday, September 18. I woke up feeling a bit dodgy; nothing that I couldn’t get rid of taking the day off and resting, I thought. There was a mild pain around the earlobe , but I didn’t pay too much attention to it, I believed it was just another symptom of whateve…

A Tale of Nice Weather and a Couple of Dodgy Beers

The weather was nice and I was in a good mood, the kind of good mood that makes you want to go for a walk, which is exactly what I did after taking care of an errand in Vysočany.

My goal, as I strolled along Park Podviní, was to have a cheap lunch with Svijany at U Rokytky, but before that I thought it’d be good to stop for a quick one at Pivovar Kolčavka.

Lately I’d heard several people slagging this brewpub. I hadn’t been there for awhile, at least a year, but their beers, though never memorable, had always been on the good side of average, in particular their 11° Světlý Ležák, which had had never disappointed. Until today.

When I walked in and headed to the bar, a waitress/tapstress was juggling three mugs under the tap of Jedenátcka, which was foaming more than the mouth of a rabid dog chewing a bar of soap. By virtue of standing there and watching her, I got the first mug to be filled at an adequate level, which I took outside.

The beer looked awful, or maybe trendy? It was as if…

A Few Easter Beers in Písek

As we’ve been doing the last few years, we spent Easter with relatives, in Strakonice. On Saturday, we went to Tábor, an uninteresting town beewise*, but I loved it nonetheless. The old town is charming, full of narrow, twisting alleys where one can get happily lost, and the main square is gorgeous.

On Sunday, we headed to Písek, a very nice town for a day trip. It was our third trip there; the first one had been a few years before, also at Easter, and the second, last year in summer. This time, what brought us was the permanent exhibition for children at the old malthouse, which my daughter really wanted to see.

As we were getting ready for the trip, I remembered that last year, in autumn, a brewpub had opened and I volunteered to stay with Isis, our bitch (he!), while the girls were in the exhibition.

Pisecký Hradební Pivovar is located in an urban nook near the town’s main square, in what remains of the old city walls. The entrance is through a corridor that leads to a park in the…

Back to the Roots Reviews: Pecký Pivovar

Like last year, we spent our daughter's spring break in Pec pod Sněžou, at Chata Orlík, a comfortable enough hotel, with very friendly owners and staff, near the slopes, but far from the bustle of the town, and with the best value for money dinners I've ever had – the buffet menu was different every day, with a soup, an appetiser, a main course, dessert, cheese and fruit, all top quality and wonderfully made, and at 180 CZK per person (half for kids).

After a day of skiing, the meniscus of my right knee suggested, in no uncertain terms, that I should take a day off. At a ski resort, if you aren't skiing, there's not much else to do other than drink yourself silly. The problem is that the bars near the slopes, besides being overpriced and with beer that isn't served in the best conditions, aren't very suitable to go for a quiet pint or five. I also didn't want to stay in the hotel. But I always have a plan (well, not always, to be honest): I'd walk up t…

A Philosopher in the League of Extraordinary Pissheads

Although I understand the value they can have for the brewers (and their marketing people), it’s been my opinion for quite some time that, as far as the experience of the consumer goes, beer competitions, even the most prestigious ones, have fuck-all relevance. My experience judging competitions in the last couple of years (as much fun as they have been) not only has failed to change my views, it has reinforced them.

There’s one exception, though, První Pivní Extraliga. Unlike other competitions, the samples to be evaluated are not carefully selected (or even specially brewed) and sent by the breweries, they are procured at supermarkets and shops. This means that they may not be very fresh and may have even suffered some sort of abuse or another. In other words, they are beers we actually drink and not an idealised version thereof. The main competition, Světlý Ležák in half-litre glass bottles, also rewards consistency. The winner will have to be successful competing against other nin…

Two Announcements and a Quick Comment

After much pondering and musing, I’ve decided that there won’t be a third edition of the Pisshead’s Pub Guide. The main reason being that I can’t be arsed. I realised that, like with the second edition, a new edition would need an almost whole re-write, which that’s a lot more work that I’m willing to do at the moment, especially since it would involve visiting at least a big chunk of the many Craft Pivní Bary that have opened, which, at a cursory glance, seem to follow the model of too many taps and overpriced beers. However, regardless of my preferences (and prejudices), they’re becoming an increasingly large part of the local beer landscape and, if I wanted the guide to showcase Prague’s scene as well as the previous two editions have, I would have to give them a go – and, once again, I can’t be arsed. Right now, I don’t feel like going out for beers to places I feel I may not like only for the sake of what is not much more than a vanity project. If I go for beers I want to do it m…