1 Oct 2008

Autumn is here

Warm weather is over, it was just like that, no smooth transition. One day it was warm, the next, it was autumn. My finances have improved, thoughnot that drastically. Not enough to allow me to go back exploring, but I still managed to attend two wonderful beer festivals.

How many wonderful beers I had at those festivals! And the several more that went down during last month.

I had chosen a winner pretty much at the beginning of September. Not only because of the quality of the beer, but more for the sake of being subversive and a bit controversial. It was Kukuřiční Ležák from Chýně. Yes, a maize beer. It was partly inspired by this post in "A Good Beer Blog". I had tasted and liked the top fermented version last year, this year, it was bottom fermented and I liked it even more. Together with those fruity notes that are almost a signature of the beers from Chýně, the corn could be felt almost like popcorn. The beer never tries to hide its cursed ingredient, quite the contrary, it shouts it on your face. But not in the silly marketing gimmicky way of Stella Artois, who does it in order to hide the fact that they use it as a cheap adjunct. This is a beer proud of being what it is.

But choosing Kukuřiční Ležák wouldn't have been fair, not matter how much I liked it. A few days later I attended the festival in Prague 11 and ended up fascinated by several of the beers I tasted there. From the superb teabeer, to the powerful Weizen Dopplebock 19%, together with Bilinné, tapped from the oak barrel where it had been lagered, and the almost cult Jihoměsťasnká 11°, which more than lived up to its reputation.

To make things harder, a week later I went to Slunce ve Skle Festival in Pilsen, which was actually a great orgy of craft beers. Twelve brewers from all over the country presented around 40 beers for all tastes. It was impressive the variety and quality of the line-up. Several of the beers I had that day were brilliant and could have been fair winners this month.

It wouldn't be fair, either, if I forgot two beers that I had already tasted before and reappeared during the last few weeks. The first of them was Janáček Comenius 14°. I had drunk it for the first time last year and was really unimpressed, then I had it again at Pivní Festival Praha and didn't find it too memorable, but when I drank it on tap at Pivovarský Klub the other day it was like having a different beer, as if it had found its identity, both in the bouquet (where citrus peel predominates) and the taste (that starts with some caramel and fruit only to quickly become really really dry). I really liked it a lot.

The other one was the good old Křižikova 17°, which also had quite some change. Not that there was anything wrong with the last couple of batches. The change was such that several of us wondered if we were actually drinking the same beer. It was darker, more caramel, richer, better.

So after a lot of consideration and meditation on the issue, I decided to give the award to someone who had got really close to it the last couple of months, Kocour Vandorf. They just keep on coming out with one great beer after another. Which of the beers that fascinated me last month should take the prize? Should it be their IPA, or the EPA, or the Stout, or the V3 rauch. Hard to say, though I would say V3. On the one side, because it is not a style beer proper (which I always prefer), and on the other, because of the wonderful concept behind it. Yes, it is true that as a rauch, I liked the one from Purkmistr a bit more, but as an idea, V3 has no match.

Na Zdraví!

Oh! I had forgotten. In September I had the pleasure of drinking 33 beers that I had not tasted so far this year, many of them completely new for me, and also excellent. The total so far goes up to 277.

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

6 comments:

  1. The V3 is indeed a worthy winner, a fantastic beer which has been consistently good regardless of where I have had it: PK, PD or Plzen. What Kocour are doing is groundbreaking and I think they should be encouraged to start their own small pub purely selling their stuff in Prague.

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  2. Well, for now not our own pub, but I work on a Kocour tap in one pub in the center of Prague. Let you know when it is for real.

    And we also start selling bottles with our speciality beers soon. Over the web site and in Klub in KArlin...

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  3. I must add that I had V3 also at Zlý Časy and, though it tasted different, it was still brilliant.

    Honza is Anonymus you? I've heard that you will have a permanent tap at Tramvaj, is that true? If so, that would be one more, great, reason to like that place more.

    I'm already looking forward to the news about that tap in the centre, and also about those bottled (conditioned?) beers.

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  4. Yes, it is me. I am sorry, I did not "sign" it.

    No, it is not Tramway I am talking about. More info soon.

    Our beers are not bottle conditioned yet, altough I am planning that too.
    Honza

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  5. Yippee, the centre of Prague!! Opletalova is a wonderful street and could use some decent beer - also I happen to live there, so no self-interest at all! ;)

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  6. It's always great to know that good news are coming....

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