28 May 2009

Observing

The alternative beer festival at Zlý Časy has so far been great. It might not have the scale, promotion or attendance of Český Pivní Festival, but from the stricktly beer point of view, it has been impressive.

Every day, sometimes more than once a day, there is something new, something that has never been seen before in Prague, and quite often, of dreamlike quality. Take for example pseničné pivo from the brand new Pivovar Matuška (the personal project of Martin Matuška, the brewer at Pivovar Strahov), perhaps the best Czech wheat beer I've had (it might have a permanent tap at after the festival), with a delicious complexity of flavours, or Kopřivnice Uhlo, with an almost Belgian-like character that reminded me of a dubbel, even though it is a dark lager. And I could go on and on.

But one of the things that has been the most fun is watching the faces of some people when they order a beer. During lunch time and in the early afternoon the clients of Zlý Časy can be roughly divided in two groups, those who come for solid pub grup in big portions and at affordable prices, and those who come mostly for the beer. In the first group there are those who wash down their lunch with beer and usually simply order "pivo", what they get is a glass of Kácov 10%. Not this week, though. The almost permanent desítka has stepped aside during the festival, so when someone orders "pivo", the server's response is "which one?".

"Desítka", the patron will say.

"No, there is no desítka today", the server will answer.

"So, what do you have?", the patron will ask somewhat confused. The server will show the blackboard where the beers of the day are listed. It is really funny the face that many put when reading the list full of seemingly exotic names (even though the names are of breweries that are far more "Czech" than Gambrinus or Pilsner Urquell). Some will accept the servers suggestion, others will order the lighter beer on tap, but everyone surprised and very satisfied with the quality of what they are drinking. And that is what counts at the end of the day.
Na Zdraví!

Note: I've been at the festival at Zlý Časy almost every day, but only once at the big one in Letňany. That's not because I have anything against the latter, regardless the embarrasing ogranisation mess that left me such a bad taste the opening day (things seem to be going really well now, almost everyone I've spoken to had only good things to say about the event). It's because Nusle is a lot closer to the centre than Letňany and I don't have to wait until 3PM to sit down and have something to eat and drink, not to mention the how many new beers I have tasted, the friends that I run into each day, etc, etc.

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3 comments:

  1. Glad to hear both festivals seems to be going well :)

    Please let the owner of Zly Casy know that we Swedes were all very happy with our festival visit and are very glad for his dedication to Czech micros!

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  2. I was down at Zly casy on Wednesday and it was grand, the garden really is nice - they should make more use of it!

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  3. i can almost taste the wheat beer from manchester, i will have to make do with a Wobbly Bob instead.

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