Tweet I didn't have it planned, but almost at the last minute I decided to attend the opening day of Český Pivní Festival 2009.
When I arrived a few minutes after the opening of the opening day of last year's edition, there were a couple of things that weren't working all that well, small and understandable organisation problems. However, the most important thing, the beer, was flowing from the very start.
It wasn't like that this year. I arrived almost at 4PM (the festival had started at 3). The grounds were the huge, warehouse sized tents had been set were coverend in water (there had been a pretty big storm around 3). I met Evan Rail and Velký Al in tent #6, the one with Kout and the micros. After greeting them Evan asked me if I noticed something wrong. "No beer", I answered. It was almost 4 and they weren't serving beer yet! At a beer festival! Someone from the organisation approached us to apologise, explaining that due to some technical problems they wouldn't start serving beer for another half an hour, then he suggested we go to tent #3.
There we went. The few people that had arrived at the festival seemed to be all there. There were long lines at the taps and the beer was being tapped very, very slowly. Table service, not a chance. At least we were able to buy some tolars (they were selling them in little bags of five units, pretty clever).
Very thristy and a bit frutrated we decided to go back to tent 6. Beer was already being tapped. Only Konrad, of all, the least interesting. I couldn't wait any longer and went to the next door tent. Things were working fine here. With a Primátor Stout in my hand I went back to my friends, only to go with them back again to tent 5.
Things now were looking a bit more festivally. People was slowly arriving. Table service was excellent. The waitresses, all of them very friendly, would show up as soon as a glass was empty to see if we wanted another beer. I stayed with Primator's "non lagers", Stout, EPA and Weizen (what a great idea it was to include them). All of them were in great shape. Almost too good, I would say, specially EPA and Weizen (I could see many people drinking the latter at the neighbouring tables).
We returned to tent 6. It was pretty populated already. Table service was already working properly and all the beers were flowing. The craft of the day was Rampušak, de Pivovar Dobruška, a very nice pale 12, unfiltered and with a lot of life in each sip.
I left a bit after 7, still not liking the choice of venue. Compared with last years, where there were trees, green and life, this one looked like a factory or a distribution centre for a supermarket chain. The atmosphere outside the tents wasn't too different to that, either.
While I was walking the metro station I noticed that all tents were opened and there were plenty of people in each one. The festival was working at full steam already. Comments I received and read during the weekend were all very possitive. Still, the bad taste that the beginning left still lingered. Organisation errors like those are unforgivable. I hope nothing like that happens, I hope the festival is a success.
Oh! Before going to the middle of nowhere that is Letňany, I had stopped by Zlý Časy to check out the parallel festival they are organising. 11 beers craft beers on tap each day (well, when I arrived, there were only 8, we had to wait until the storm passed for the taps in the patio to be set up). I had three, all of them really, really good. Do not miss it, no true beer lover should miss this festival. Actually, if you have to choose between the big one in Letňany and this small one in Nusle, choose the latter.
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