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Showing posts from June, 2008

Out of tune

This is an entry I should have written long ago. The reason why I didn't do it before is that when I went to visit Louis Armstrong I wasn't carrying my cammera, so I promised myself I would go back some day and make photos of the place.

I never did.

Why? You might be asking.

That visit was a distaster. I decided to go to Armstrong because it must be one of the few places in town that stock Litovel, beers with which I wasn't very acquainted. It has two branches, both in Vinohrady, both in quiet streets. I chose the one in Manesová because it was the most convenient for me at the time.

I liked the decoration very much. To many, it might be a bit too much on the kitch side, but I found the jazz theme kind of amusing. When I walked in I took a few seconds to admire the décor. I spotted a table for two in one corner and there I was heading when one of the waiters with a pose, attitude and speaking like a bouncer at a posh disco (though much, much smaller in frame) asked me if I wan…

The Golden Spring

This is another one of those beers that I didn't like at the beginning, that I always tried to avoid. Zlatopramen 11° was in the list of my least favourite beers. But as it was the case with Platan, at some point something changed for the better and I stopped running away from it.

Zlatopramen is the flagship brand of Drinks Union, Heineken's brand new asset, joining Krušovice and Starobrno. It was actually this beer that started the trend of jedenáctký. Now, there are only a handful of breweries that don't make a 11°balling beer, in many cases they are almost indistiguishable from the 10° or 12°. Such was the market success of this beer that made Zlatopramen, once some sort of cheaper version of Březňák, be favoured by DU's people. Much is owed to the advertising campaigns and the slogan "O stúpen lepši" (a degree better). This is a beer that aims to compete with the most popular desítký, nothing too ambitious in quality terms.

The other day I fancied drinking …

Well connected

At first sight Privní Pivní Tramvaj (First Beer Tram) might look like a dive, and maybe at second and third sight as well. It's located right next to the last stop of tram 11, in Spořilov, the northern end of that monument to twisted Communist social mentality that is Jizní Město, an endless forest of paneláky that can bring down even the most upbeat character. It can't be any further from the tourist crowds.

After gathering a bit of courage and walking in, we can see that, what looked like any other of the millions of Gambáč pubs, is actually something much more interesting. We can notice a very particular atmophere. It's a small place, its chairs are actually benches rescued from old trams and the walls are decorated with paintings and rock posters. It's eeriely quiet in the afternoon, you can almost start to miss the almost dispossed local drunkard loosing his last coins at the fruit machine while cheap vodka, but that's just for a second or two.

Surprises don'…

Weekend flash

For those in Prague between June 20 and 22 who want to taste some good beers, I recommend you make it to Zlý Časy. They will be tapping beers from Plzeňský Kraj, some of which have never seen the light in the capital.

The represented breweries will be:

Chodovar
Kout na Šumavě (that according to Evan Rail brews the best Pilsner Lager in Czech Rep.)
Střibro
Dobřany
Pukrmistr
U rytíře Lochoty
Lotr
and if there is space, that Urquell one

Each will have to beers that will rotate in the 7-9 taps.

I won't miss it this time

Na Zdraví!

Something is changing

I really like cafés, but the old fashioned ones. I don't like at all those with plastic or metal furniture, LCD screens on the walls that only play MTV, and with a decoration that seems to have been designed by a robot. Fortunately, in Prague, there are still several, and very good, ones from the others.
Dobrá Trafika is one of them. It has two branches, one in Malá Strana and the other one in Vinohrady. Both are well known, but I'm sure there are many who have walked by the door without taking a second look at them. That's because in the front there is a "trafika", basically a news agent, where you can also buy tobacco, alcohol, etc. However, both have a room in the back, and there is were the café works.

Dobrá Trafika has been one of my favourite cafés for some time already. It has many things that make it ideal to sit down in the afternoon to relax a little while reading a good book. The decoration is of the kind I like the most at a café. Old and worn out misma…

We had to wait so long

Pražský Most u Valšu is the newest brewpub in Prague. We had to wait long for it. Its opening was planned for the end of last year, but a series of technical and bureaucratic problems resulted in their beers not seeing the light until a couple of weeks ago.

They didn't make much of a fuss about it. I think the owners were afraid of announcing the "opening" and then another problem would come up. Fortunately for them, though, u Valšu is a restaurant that has been open for quite some time already, so the business was not much affected and things were more or less normal (except, maybe, for the constant questions about the kettles in the cellar or when the beer would be ready). Even before their beer was ready I had visited it a couple of times. They were already a sort of rarity in the neighbourhood since they stocked Rohozec and Březňák, which are reason enough to drop by every now and then. Still, I wanted to wait for the brewery to be fully working before writing a revie…

We all win

May was a brilliant month in terms of beer. I started it sampling the very good Spanish beers that my friend Andrés sent me, and finished it at the Festival. Between that there were the unconvincing beers from Erdinger and a couple of very forgettable Polish beers. There was also some new stuff, Majové Polotmavé 13° from Pivovar Louny, a very tasty beer, new in the market (I reckon) and that gives some hopes that the new Dutch owners will keep this pivovar open. It reminded me a bit of Primátor polotmavé, with just a bit more caramel in it. Nice beer to sit down and sip slowly. And what can I say about Bock 16° from Richter. They make some really nice German style beers there at U Bulovky. This one was an amber with a creamy white crown. Its nose mixed apple, caramel and mint. The caramel dominated the palate, together with some bitter nose, somewhat like burnt sugar. The caramel continued in the finish, now joined by citrus notes. All that with a permanent subtone of apples. Deliciou…

Second round

Just as I had promised myself the other day, I made my second visit to Pivní Festival Praha. This time the weather was a lot nicer, pretty warm and with a lot of sunshine. Ideal to sit and have a few beers under the shade of leafy trees.

I got there early, again, there was a bit more people than the previous Friday. I went around a little to make some pictures and noticed that most of the stands were already open, and were offering a rather wide assortment of food and merchandising.

Not being able to score a free pint this time, without further ado, I headed towards the K Brewing tent. Big was my surprise when I noticed that the tent had been expanded to the neighbouring one, which the first few days had offered only Staropramen and Braník. Svijany, Platan and Janaček had been now joined by Herold. I took a seat and ordered a pint of excellent Herold Polotmavé 13° to drink while I waited for one of my mates, who was already on his way.

I enjoyed the beer slowly and noticed that, already …