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Showing posts from January, 2009

Opening palates

Many are those who still think that beer isn't good to accompany food, at least not soemthing that isnt' casual or quick, not to mention beer as ingredient. However, and I believe I won't be saying anything new to many of the readers of this blog, reality shows otherwise. Beer can pair with foods just as well, if not better, than the best wines, and can also be, if chosen correctly, an excellent ingredient for the most delicate recipes.

That is what "Pivo v poháru i na talíři" (beer in the glass and the plate) wanted to show last Thursday. The event was organised together by Pivovarský Klub and the local chapter of Slow Food. Each of the six courses (soup, warm appetizer, two main courses and two deserts) were made with beer as an ingredient and accopanied by carefully selected beers. The pairings weren't put together by any professional sommelier, but by Aleš Dočkal (one of the partners of PK) using common sense and the advice of friends.

The cellar of the Klu…

More leftovers

While going through the pending tasting notes I have I found those from Glops. Ramón and his wife brought them from Spain, and they gave them to me during the pleasant lunch we had at Svijansý Rytíř.

They were three samples, Glops Torrada, Glops Negra y Glops D'hivern. They are brewed by Llúpols i Llevats a microbrewery from Barcelona.

It was the second batch of Spanish beers I was going to taste. The first one was from industrial breweries, and some of the samples really impressed me. With Glops I had more curiosity than expectations. Llúpols i Llevats is a relatively new company, established in 2005, working in a market where local craft beers still seem to be very much a novelty.

I started by Torrada and it wasn't a happy beginning. The label says it's a lager with 4,5%ABV, fermented 7 days and lagered for 21. According to the webpage it is a dunkles, though its colour looked a bit too pale. Both the bouquet and the taste were overwhelmed by something that I wasn't abl…

Seasonal leftovers

As I mentioned in previous post, I have loads of pending tasting notes, some are a couple of months old, actually. Considering that Christmas is still rather fresh in our memories (and around our waislines) I will start the winter clearing with one of the Christmas specials I had during the last Holidays.

I had already tasted one of the beers from Nøgne Ø. It was their Imperial Stout, which was part of the selection my friend and fellow beer blogger Knut Albert brought me on his visit to Prague last summer. I liked the beer a lot, so much so that I almost choose it as one of the beers of 2008. I was really looking forward to tasting their God Jul, brought to me by Gunnar, another Norwegian beer enthusiast with whom we had a fantastic lunch at Chýně together with his brother.

I waited until the weekend between Christmas and New Year to open it. I wanted to drink it and taste it when it was quiet. I really like the minimalist design of Nøgne Ø's labels, and also all the information th…

For Gourmands

Next Thursday, 22/1 at 7PM, at Pivovarský Klub, a very interesting event will take place. It's aim is to prove that beer can be a great pairing with food, just as good or even better than wine.

Evan Rail has been doing something liek that with Hotel Mandarin Oriental. Thematic tastings paired with food prepared by the reknown restaurant of the luxury Malá Strana hotel. The really steep price of 1200CZK per head, however, has surely left out many people who would have otherwise loved to attend.

Based on the same idea, the beer temple in Karlín, together with the Slow Food groups, has organised this event, called "Pivo v poháru i na talíři" (beer in the glass and on the plate). A five course dinner (soup, warm appetizer, two main courses, dessert), each made with beer as ingredient, and each paired with a carefully selected beer. If you like the food, you will also be able to take the recipes home.

It isn't exactly cheap, 500CZK per person (333CZK for Klub card holders), …

Both faces and the future

Whether is a passing trend or not, time will tell, but as things are today, there is not doubt that the Brewpub as a business model in the Czech lands is very successful. Only since the publishing of Evan Rail's book "The Good Beer Guide - Prague and The Czech Republic" in mid 2007, nearly 20 new brewpubs must have opened in the whole country.

The reasons for this success are several. They reclaim the old tradition of a brewery in each town. Many of them are located nearby or right next to tourist attractions such as castles, while others are by cycling paths, and cycling is a very popular pastime among Czechs of all ages. Many others are also attached to hotels of relatively good quality. It is also said that some of them are supported by state or municipal funds as they are considered an important tourist attraction. The great majority offer beer at similar or even lower prices than those of the mass produced brands. About the quality, it can vary, but most of the most …

Rara Avis

The great majority (not to say almost all) of hospody in Prague and the rest of the country only stock two or three beers maximum from the same brewer or brewing group. Restaurace U Kláštera is something out of the ordinary.

The first time I went there was more by accident that decision. I had taken the tram to Břevnoský Klášter with the intention of having lunch at Klášterní Šenk, but that day it happened to be reserved for some sort of social event, so it was closed to the public. Being already quite hungry and without much else to choose from around, I headed towards the other restaurant I had seen opposite the tram stop, U Kláštera. When I got closer I noticed a sign of Klášter above the door, made me glad, I was going to be drinking the same beer after all. There was also a sign of Pilsner Urquell, but that is something I had already seen at other places that stock beers of lesser known brands.

Big was my surprise when besides Klášter (Ležák and Tmavé) and Urquell this pub also tap…

Starting the year

Our new year's celebration was very quiet. Our neighbours invited us to the party they had organised. We spent the evening sitting, chatting, eating many things and drinking beer (Zlatopramen, far from a favourite, but still very drinkable), sext and mi contribution, home made malinovice. We didn't stay up too late, less than two hours after toasting and watching the fireworks we went back home. So it wasn't until the first day of this still brand new 2009 that I was able to sit and open somehting special to greet the year that had just begun.

And being that this will sure be a very special year for me, I thought of a very special beer, and what more special than Brewdog Paradox Smokehead. I had received, through Evan Rail from the good people of BrewDog and was really looking forward to drinking it. It isn't necessary to consider all the good comments and reviews that this beer had gathered, it is enough toknow that it is an Imperial Stout matured for, I believe, 18 mo…

So Long, 2008!

2008 was a very difficult year for me. A year I would not like to repeat. But I am not going to bore you with my personal dramas because I don't think that is why you are here. You are here to read about beer.

Beerwise, 2008 was a fantastic year. Loads of new beers, several new micros, some of which, like Kocour Vandorf came out with very exciting products. During the year I was also able to find new places that became favourites, like Zlý Časy and U Slovanské Lipy.

The blog, both in is Spanish and English versions, gave me so many satisfactions. The Spanish version has already received well over 80000 hits and the English version got more than 30000 hits in its first year, with the number of visitors growing each month. La Ronda has allowed us, the Spanish speaking beer bloggers, to do something more than gazing our navels and speaking about the beers we are tasting (which is not bad, mind you) by doing something more community oriented that I think helps spread the culture of good…