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Showing posts from July, 2009

Take that Inaraja González

Before it degenerated into a discussion about whether this or that beer is or not an ale, I had mentioned in my critique to the "Método de Cata" that their authors said that we mustn't taste beers that are "older" than three months. What would be their opinion, then, about Geuze Mariage Parfait 2004?

That 2004 isn't the year the brewery was established, nor it is a reminder of a Balling or Plato graduation, it is the year the beer was made. If my French doesn't fail me, the label says that Mariage Parfait is a Geuze á l'ancienne o oude, made from a lambic with at least 3 years of special maturing by Frank Boon, and that only 240hl a year are bottled.

I had originally planned to age this beer for at least a few months together with others I have in my cellar. However, in what turned out to be the last evening before my wife and newborn daughter came from the hospital, I felt like playing loud music and drinking something special. I went to the cellar a…

Greater Potential

Pivovarky Staropramenhave decided to axe Kelt, a Stout-like dark lager that, until Primátor Stout came to the market, was the only local alternative to overpriced Guinness brewed who knows where. I'm not going to say that I'll miss it, but it wasn't a bad beer at all, it was actually pretty drinkable.

(Curiously, Kelt had their peak in sales in 2004. That year the Belgian Interbrew (the owners of Staropramen) merged with the Brazilian AmBev to spawn our beloved InBev. I wonder if the subsequent increase in the marketing for Stella Artois had anything to do in the decline of Kelt's sales)

The reason the Smíchov based brewery gave was: "“We see greater potential in our other brands.”

Which ones?

I remember reading sometime ago that the local chapter of InBev was planning to promote Hoegaarden more aggressively this summer. We're already at the end of July and I haven't seen much really. Who can blame them. AB-InBev has put their Czech subsidiary for sale and per…

Sometimes anything will do

I don't understand why people rave so much about Summer and have such an issue with Winter. If you gave me to choose between a -15°C day an a +30°C one, I'd pick the former without a nanosecond of hesitation. Hell! I would even pick a -25°C one! It doesn't matter how low the temperatures are, if you put on enough clothes, eventually you'll feel warm. When it's hot, you can get naked if you want, and you will still feel hot.

One of the (many) things I didn't like about Buenos Aires were its summers. Awful! 40°C in the shade were pretty much par for the course, and if you wait for the night to bring some relief, think again because many days temperatures won't go below 30. And this Monsoon like season we've been having in Prague is doing a pretty good job at reminding me of those sticky Porteño summers I have and will never miss.

And there I was, nearby Flora Metro station, on the hottest day of the season, drenched in sweat and thinking how lovely it would…

One Note Stout

Not long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Martin, from the Danish beer site AllBeer. Actually, I already knew him, he was part of that group that made me feel like a celebrity last December. This time, however, we had the chance to sit down and talk. He came with some of his beer friends and we spent part of an afternoon chatting about Czech and Danish beer.

I've already talked about it, Denmark has become a very exciting place for craft beer lovers. One of Martin's friends told me how Mikkeler, I think, is experimenting with spontaneously fermented beers. Not in the Belgian style, but based on Nordic legends that tell how beer was brewed thanks to the god Thor spitting in the fermenters. The interpretation is that the celestial flog implies a spontaneous fermentation. Interesting.

They brought me two beers, one of them Brøkhouse Julebrygg 2008 is still in my cellar awaiting more appropriate weather, the other didn't last very long.

The Stout style traces its origins to Lond…

More than expected

Stefan, a.k.a Quack-Duck, is a fellow beer enthusiast and, for some time, beer blogger from Germany. A couple of months ago I met him and his friend whose name a I can't remember (sorry) to spend a very pleasant afternoon drinking and talking about beer.

Stefan brought me a sample of one of his favourite beers. Tettnanger Coronator, which he gave me wrapped in compliments. Now, my friend knows his beer, and knows it well, specially the German stuff, and I don't think he's the kind of guy who spreads compliments like the wind spreads seeds. So this was sure going to be a beer that I would really like. Right?

Right?

Kronenbrauerei Tettnang is located in the region where the Tettnang noble hops are grown. Something like Pivovar Žatec in the Czech Rep. Their Coronator, a Salvator - oops! Dopplebock(*) - with 7.2%ABV pours a pretty dark shade of ocre and it's topped by a compact head that doesn't last too long. The nose is greeted by notes of dried fruit, plums, apricots, …

Seasonal treat

July is the month of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apricots and other lovely delights. You can eat them fresh or turn them into an ingredient of one of the most delicious Czech specialities, ovocné knedlíky, fruit dumplings.

The other day, when I was on my way to take the bus back home, I got a text message from my wife asking me to buy hard tvaroh (curds). I didn't really feel like going to the shop, so I asked her if it couldn't wait until noon the next day. She said it couldn't because we were going to have ovocné knedlíky for dinner. I did go to the shop as fast as my legs could carry me and bought a pack.

That day the in-laws had come y my mother in law (Czech mums in law are the best!) left a nice bunch of knedlíky filled with home grown apricots.

There are two kinds of dough for these dumplings: a yeasty one and one made with curds. We like the latter better, it's lighter and tastier. The recipe is very easy, too.

Ovocné Knedlíky (serves some people)

For th…

Why?

What you will read below is not a serious historical paper, nor does it intend to be. I haven't done any in depth research. Take this as me thinking out loud. Shall you find any bollocks, please let me know, nicely, don't hurt my feelings.

Ron Pattison has started with his series "Summer of Lager". One of the firsts posts he published is called "The Spread of Pale Lager" and is a about how the Bavarian brewers adopted the style of pale lager that had been created in Bohemia in 1842, a process that was much slower than many people believe.

Reading the post reminded me of a question that's been going around my head for quite some time: How and why the pale (pilsner) lager became the dominant style in what is today the Czech Rep., to the point of pretty much driving to extintion all the other styles that had been traditional until then?

One afternoon, while having a few beers, I discussed this with Velký Al (whom I wish the best fortune in his new life in the…

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 t…

A good intention isn't enough

The other day, on the beer blog Apuntes Sobre Cerveza I found an entry titled "Tasting Method". The author, Pedro Biehrman, refered to a pdf he had found in a Spanish beer website.

The paper is called "Método de Catado de Cervezas" (pdf, SP) and was written by Carlos Inaraja González, brew master at Heineken (Spain, I presume) and Francisco Javier Soriano Perdigón, Gastronomy Professor at the "Gambrinus School of Hospitality" (that also belongs to Heineken) in Sevilla. According to them, it's aimed at Somelliers, Hospitality school teachers and professionals in the restaurant business.

I thought the idea was great and worth of being promoted. The "handbook" has nine pages full of information. Much of which is very good and useful. Some of the rest can seem rather obvious to anyone with a bit of experience tasting whatever, but it is still worth reminding. There is some stuff in there, though, that seem a bit too "strict": 22°C and 60…

Welcome, princess

My daughter has finally arrived in this world, with a two week delay (she didn't want to come out, and who can blame her), and she is, of course, absolutely gorgeous, an angel. My life now isn't and will never again be what it used to. But don't be afraid, I'll keep on writing this blog, perhaps not with the same rythm as before, but write I will.

(And since I'm on the subject, I wanted to thank from the bottom of my heart all the staff of the Maternity Hospital Podolí. The birth was no party for my wife and each and every one of them were absolutely fantastic!)
As I announced back then, I wanted to brew something to celebrate such a sepcial event. The chosen recipe was a strawberry and mint weizen, which was quite a lot of fun to make.
When our princess was finally brought home I opened the first bottle. You can't imagine how curious I was. It pours an intense pink, almost red. Almost no head. The nose was like extra brut Champagne mixed a strawberry pureé. Prett…