12 Jul 2009

The Tap Race

There is no doubt anymore that the "rotating tap" model is a more than welcome trend that gets stronger every day. Right now there are at least a dozen hospody in Prague that have at least one tap dedicated to beers (mostly regional and craft) that constantly change. But the phenomenon is not limited only to the capital city. This kind of palces can also be found in Pilsen, Brno and Hradec Králové.

Together with the "rotating beers", many of these places are equipped with a growing number of taps. Pivovarský Klub has six, Zlý Časy has eight (for now) and U Radnice now has nine, just to mention a few. These seems to have become some sort of race that at the moment, and it is led by U Prince Miroslava and its 13 taps.
If it hadn't been for Hanz, the owner of ZČ, or for the article published in Svět Piva that noticed me of the existence of "U Prince...", I don't think I would have found the place. It's located in a part of Prague that I rarely go to and that isn't one of the nicest to go for a walk.

U Prince Miroslava is in a little street just a few metres from Radlická and it's visible from (the second) Laurová tram stop. It's got a nice patio in the front that seems almost to belong somewhere else. The restaurant itself is below street level and is divided in two largish rooms that don't have much of an atmosphere (at least not at late lunch time). It gives the impression of a place that hasn't found its identity yet. The back room wants to be intimate, but fails. It is decorated with Renaissance and Baroque looking paintings that are very out of place. The main room is unfortunately dominated by a big screen LCD TV that was showing a music channel. I don't like music channles at all, and I really hate it when I have to suffer them at bar, restaurant or café.

The food on my first visit, ďabelská masová směs (Devil's meat mix) with rice, wasn't very good. The meat wasn't as spicy as the name promised and the rice was undercooked. On my second visit I ordered an utopenec (pickled sausage) that, though smallish, was very good.

On both visits the service was fine. Young girls, pretty cute and friendly that seemed to be enjoying their job and even recommended beers.
And it was the beers that brought me all the way there. The 13 taps are distribuited among the Holy Trinity of Czech Beer (Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus and Kozel Tmavé), Primátor, Svijany, Opat and one or two "rotating" beers. Not bad, not bad at all. More so when two of the "permanent" Primátor are the Stout and the Weizen, both at 32CZK a pint.
On the first visit the Stout was way too cold, the temperature improved when I ordered it on the second visit. On both visits the Weizen was better than lovely. The people at Náchod are doing such a good job with this beer! It's wonderful!

You might be asking why I ordered the same beers twice when I have 13 (well, 10, the Trinity doesn't count) to choose from. The reason is one of the things that U Prince could improve. Both on the terrace and at the bar there are signs with all the beers that are apparently on tap. On my first visit I fancied a Primátor English Pale Ale, but they didn't have it. I tried with another one, with the same luck. On the second visit, a week or so later, the EPA was still unavailable, so I went for the Stout (a terrible pairing for the utopenec). As a second beer I wanted Opat Bitter, I asked the waitress if they had it, she wasn't sure, so I told her to bring me a Weizen in case they didn't, and what I got was a Weizen (a much better utopenec pairing).
This is a problem with a very easy solution. It will be enough to put a couple of blackboards where the service can write what's on tap that day. It's something that will also make things easier for everyone.

What I did like, though, was the copied paper that can be found on each table and works as some sort of beer list. Apart from the beers (not all of them available all the time) with their Balling graduation and ABV, there is also a brief description of each with tasting notes and even recommended food pairings in some cases. Something that I had never seen in Prague.

The prize goes to the description of Gambáč.
For those of you who don't speak Czech, it goes something like this: "The favourite výčepní beer in the Czech lands, indicated for undemanding consumers [...]. Characterised by [...] unified and flat "europivo" flavour...". Brilliant! Not that the usual Gambáč drinker will pay any attention to details like this, but it's fun to see that people that are selling this beer are also dissuading clients from drinking it.

I don't know how often I will go to U Prince Miroslava, it's a bit out of the way for me. But it is still nice to know that there is another place that offers a pretty wide choice of beers and not just the usual stuff.

Na Zdraví!

U Prince Miroslava
K Vodojemu 4
Prague 5 - Smíchov
+420 733 360 269
uprincemiroslava@seznam.cz

4 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

4 comments:

  1. The Gambrinus description is great, LOL.
    It's nice to see such honesty, which could easily be description of any other bland euro-lager.

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  2. I live 100 meters from the place. I never have trouble getting the Pale Ale or Bitter but have found the stout or weizen taps dry at times. Its clear timing is an issue and they also lack consistency, the pale ale and stout brings me there. BTW: They will mix the stout and weizen which you have me hooked on. Watch the waitress with the piercings, she can be quite nasty. Must say it makes the neighborhood more enjoyable. The Saint Annie pub on the corner has better food but the trinity on tap. Eat at St. Anne and drink at Miroslav.

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  3. I stopped there yesterday and they had the EPA. They didn't have any Svijany, though. I've got no problem with some beers not being available all the time, but it would be good to know which ones are before ordering.

    BTW. After I left yesterday I realised that I hadn't even thought of ordering a řezané with Stout and Weizen how silly of me... Will have to go back...

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  4. That is my one gripe, if you advertise you have the beer, keep it on tap. I think the reason they do this though is to keep the beer fresh and perhaps it keeps people coming back hoping to get one of their favorites. I think Primator and Svijany brew some of the best beer in the country aside from Kout. If they shed the trinity and readily stock Svijany, Primator and Stout I would move my bed into the place.

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