18 Feb 2009

Good news

The moment I received Ian's SMS telling me that Pivovarský Dvůr Chýně has a pub in Prague couldn't have been more ironic. I was right there in Chýně with Velký Al and the head brewer of Everards, an important regional brewery in England.

The plan was to have lunch at the Pivovarská Krčma, where else, but it was closed because of some technical problem. So we went to the restaurant, where there was no electricity, but still food and drinks were being served. We didn't have as good a time as I would have liked, the beers were not in their best shape and the service was awful, not that they were rude or tried to rip us off, the just ingored us. We sat there for more than one hour with empty glasses and neither of the servers ever bothered to ask if we wanted something, let along clear the glasses and the plates. We spent the rest of the afternoon at U Medvídku, where things worked much better. Just like Al says, it was very interesting to talk to a professional brewer and see the industry from another point of view, stripped of marketing and PR bollocks, just a bloke who loves his job and is happy to talk about it. I've never drunk any of the beers from Everards, I don't know how good they can be, but meeting the person in charge of brewing them was a big pleasure.

Fast forward almost two weeks. I was finally able to make it to Hotel Victor. If I'm not wrong, this place was a pizzeria until not long ago, and it shows in parts of the decoration, the furnishings and the atmosphere, at least when I visited it.
I chose a table by the window. The place was pratically empty and the waitress came with the menu as soon as I sat. There are three beers on tap 10° světlá, 12° polotmavá and 14° tmavá. I oredered a pint of the mildest and a nakladaný hermelín.

The beer was in much better shape than last time in Chýně. While I waited for my cheese I had a closer look at the place. Everything still looks new (they opened about two weeks ago). The big windows let a lot of light in and it was nice to see the world go by through them.

My pickled cheese arrived. Though Boak & Bailey exaggerate a little when they say that I seem to live off the stuff, I do know my hermoš, and I know it good, and let me tell you that this one ranks among the best I've ever had. Wonderfully marinated, for several days, I guess, very tasty and tender, covered with onions that seemed to have been cooked before being put in the pickle, which added a new dimension to the flavour. A bit more spice, and it would have been just perfect, but still, it was lovely!
I stayed for a couple more beers, one of each of the other two (in small glasses). The polotmavá was also in much better shape than last time, the tmavá, on the hand, was missing something. Perhaps it's not sold so much.

I liked this place. I felt very comfortable despite the lack of atmosphere. The service was excellent. The waitress was very friendly and always smiling, suggesting just the beer I was thinking of ordering and when I was leaving she asked me if I would go back. Of course I will! The beer is great, for a good price (29CZK/0.5l desítka and 1.5l PET bottles can be bought for 75CZK) and it's only about 200m from U Slovanské Lípy, a hospoda that has already become one of my favourites. U Radnice is not far, either. These three pubs, together with a few more around have suddenly turned Žižkov into a very attractive pub crawling destination.
I really hope they will do well, and that people will be able to appreciate the beers from Chýně. Who knows, if they are successful that might make other micros look for partners to offer their beers on a regular basis in Prague. But that is a bit of a dream, for the moment, we'll have to make do with these and the beers from Kout na Šumavě a couple of blocks away, which is not that shabby...

Na Zdraví!

Restaurant in Hotel Victor
Husitská 72
130 00 Praha-Žižkov
hotelvictor@iol.cz

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

6 comments:

  1. yes, a great little place and somewhere i can take the missus. A few more customers and a tweaking of the menu inc. a lunch menu and it would be perfect.

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  2. I don't know if you ever go to cajovny, but if you do I suggest ordering a Japanese hojicha (roasted green tea, I believe), and compare the taste to the Chyne polotmave.

    Totally agree about the cheese. Admittedly I don't order it everywhere I go, but we appear to have struck gold with this place. In fact I'd probably go there purely for the hermos, even if they didn't already have excellent beer. :)

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  3. Might be worth a wander up there this weekend, what with Mrs Velkyal out of town....

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  4. OK, OK, you don't live off it. You just eat at least one portion a day.

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  5. As an ale lover I still find the beer at Chýně
    totally super(super smooth tasty and refreshing) svetle mid or cerne , why do most czech nationals maintain pilsner is the best czech beer? can't seem to understand that one.

    steviee

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  6. Marketing, my friend, marketing.
    That, together with the attitude of many people that goes pretty much like this: "It's the best beer in the world, so why bother trying any other".
    But it's not only with Pilsner Urquell, you can put as many brands as you like there, from many countries, and it will be the same.

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