Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2010

Another review

Yeah, I know I should be writing about the tetrahops and all the mess they've caused here. But it's Friday, I'm tired and can't be arsed with rereading newspaper articles in Czech. So you'll have to be patient, perhaps next week. In the meantime, tasting notes...

Once again, a Norwegian brew, this time from Nøgne-Ø. This is one of those beers that I've been wanting to drink for quite some time, it goes by the name of #100 (the reason for that, you can read on the brewery's webpage) and, unlike the other beers from the Grimstad micro, it hasn't got a style mentioned on the label. I love it when a beer doesn't belong to any style, it's a pity there aren't more of those. But then, many times happens that someone makes a styless beer that becomes successful, other people start copying it, someone pulls a style out of their ass, usually starting with "Imperial", and soon you get a bunch of idiots criticising the original one because for …

Official Presentation

After more than half a year of going around, the other day was the official presentation of Aliance P.I.V. with a press conference that took place at the iconic První Pivní Tramwaj.

As I already told you back then, this project has brought together, for the moment, five Prague pubs with rotating beers. Nothing has changed in their philosophy, the association is open to any hospoda with at least one rotating tap as long as they agree with a couple more conditions, to offer the brochures of the Alliance and to display the beer cards.
Those two things were also explained and presented at the conference. The brochures are a sort of catalog or guide with the addresses, pictures, etc. of all the members, and they will get bigger as more pubs join. The cards aim to show all available technical data of the beers on tap, detailed list of ingredients, plato, EBU, etc. The idea is not only to inform the public, but also to encourage brewers to give as much information as possible about their beers…

A quick question

You are at a beer shop. You fancy drinking something new. You see that there are only a few beers you've never drunk before, but you don't have any references of them or their brewers.

Which of them would you buy? And what if they were all from the same brewer?

Na Zdraví!

5 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

Pragmatism

"I don't drink commercially produced beers anymore..."

This must be the most stupid comment about beer I've ever read (the author then mentions that he likes Bernard a lot).

Lately I've been discussing this and other closely related topics quite a lot. I think I've already made myself clear, but it's still worth repeating it: every brewery that exchanges their beers for money with the aim of making a profit is commercial. Regardless of its size, philosophy and all that. To divide breweries into "commercial" and "non commercial" is just silly.

But it's not this what I wanted to tell you about today. I'm sure many of you, at least once, have dreamt about having your own brewery. These days I've been meditating about this (the beauty of having a long commute), but trying to do it from a more realistic point of view.

Let's say I've come across a sum that could be enough to set up a micro-brewery (OK. This is not realistic, …

News at the Czech Beer Festival 2010

Just in case some of you still don't know about it. I'm a beer journalist. Really, there are real people who pay me (not much) for writing about beer (not here, though, I write this blog just for the sake of it). As such, I was invited to the press conference of the Czech Beer Festival.

There's not much to say about the conference itself, which was held at the recently reopened Malostranská Beseda. What was interesting, though, was the news that we were told.

The previous years I wasn't too happy with this idea of the "Czech Oktoberfest". I was wrong. I was seeing it from the wrong point of view. The reality is that those who like to sit down to "taste" and "discuss" the beers they are drinking are just a tiny minority. What most people want is to have a good time drinking good beers, preferably in half litre measures, and that is exactly what the festival offers. And it seems to be working really well. One of the news for this, the third, e…

IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIIIIIIIIIVE!

The other day, the news of the demise of U Slovanské Lípy was met with great grief by many in the beer community, not only local, but international. A day of mourning was even suggested.

My friends, remove those black armbands, wash away your tears because this Koutská Pivnice has been resurrected!

It opened again yesterday, 19/4. Besides the new management and opening hours (from 4PM) little else has changed, fortunately. Yesterday, taking care of things, were two young lads who, despite still needing to improve their tapping skills, were full of enthusiasm for the beer they were selling and for good beer in general.

From here, I wish them nothing but success.

Na Zdraví!

The Tap Race: Out of Control

It was only nine months ago that I first wrote about the "Tap Race", when I told you about my visit to U Prince Miroslava and their 13 draught beers.

Three months later, Zlý Časy would take the lead with 16 taps and it all seemed things were going to stay like that.

No, no way. A couple of months ago I heard that U Radnice, which after several name changes is now called Svět Piva had 18 taps. But with the experience of my last two visits still fresh in my mind, going to see them was not one of my priorities.

It didn't matter, because they weren't the leader anymore, and who wants to be friends with someone on the second place?. A couple of weeks ago, U Prince Miroslava installed a beautiful rack of 20 taps!

The guys in Žižkov, though, would not be discouraged, so they added three more taps, and that's it, they surely told themselves, we've got the longest one now, nobody can match us.

HA! HA! Laughed Hanz in Nusle while pouring the first pint from one the 8 new t…

A nice concept

I was going to write something brainy, important, controversial which probably would have shaken the world of many of you, but I couldn't be arsed. Instead, I chose something trivial, banal and unimportant, tasting notes (I've got tonnes pending).

Once again, the Norwegian micro Haandbryggeriet, one of my favourites in the world. This time with two of their "historical" specialities, Gravøl (Farewell Ale) and Hesjeøl (Harvest Ale).

I really like this concept, recreating ancient recipes, adapting them to the modern tastes, but at the same time (and least in HB's case) trying to use methods that are as close to the old ones as possible. Fortunately for them, and us, they have plenty of material to work from because, according to Jens Maudal from the brewery, it was traditional in Norway to make special beers for every occasion, and actually, farms were bound by law to do it.
As expected from an ale that was brewed for funerals, Gravøl is dark, very dark. The nose is s…

A true boom

Although I might still be a bit too early to speak about a trend in reference to the growth of the regional breweries, if we see this from the point of view of microbreweries, then there can be absolutely no doubt they are enjoying a boom. And this is not only a rosy view of a darker reality.

An article published in the daily Hospodářské noviny and reproduced by the portal Pivovary.info shows with figures that the reality is actually brighter than the expectations of many enthusiasts.

In 1990 there was only one microbrewry in business, U Fleku. In 2006 there were already forty registered. It might not look like a lot in a country with the tradition of the Czech Republic, but it must be remembered that here almost all micros are brewpubs, which require a much larger initial investment than those which evolved from homebrewing projects, as it's the case in other countries. But it still doesn't matter, because the numbers are still surprising. Last year the micros reached a total o…

Yes to "Specials", no to "Rock Stars"

The latest edition of the eternal debate about cult, expensive, extreme, rare, weird, experimental, etc. beers (I think we can put them all in the same bag) started in Ireland, then moved to England, from there it crossed the Atlantic to Canada to end up, for the moment, in, well, wherever Stephen Beaumont happens to be right now.

In a nutshell, Beer Nut and Alan McLeod are not too keen on them, while Stephen and Mark Dredge (who would also like to see more brewers like rock stars, but I will get to that later) are really cool with them.

From here, a small village not far from Prague, I have to say I'm really happy they exist, seriously. But it's not because I think they are better than the rest, o because I believe that they are automatically worth the price asked for some and not even because I'm all that interested in buying them.

There's another reason. I'm glad they exist because just by being they break the stereotype of beer as "an inexpensive, mildly alco…

From the Motherland (II)

Although my first experience with craft beers from Argentina was not very satisfying, I was left wanting for more. So when Lionel, one of my readers down there, wrote saying he was going to come to this neck of the woods and fancied bringing me some sample, I was really glad.

I could have gone for some of the craft brews that have been recently getting good reviews from the Argentine beer blogs, but I wanted to drink something easier to get there and that could also work as some sort of benchmark for the new beers in Argentina. That's why I asked my friend to bring me something from Antares (which unfortunately, he couldn't get) and Otro Mundo (which was able to get).

I had heard and read quite a lot about Otro Mundo, usually followed by good comments. This brewery didn't follow the usual model in Argentina (and other countries), it wasn't an evolution of homebrewing. The owners are far more ambitious and since its conception, it was planned as a serious business and fro…

I've found some answers

...Or at least it seems so

Do you remember that some time ago I told you that I had found a mention of beer in Buenos Aires in the early 19th century? Of course you don't. Why do I bother to ask? Nobody's got such an attention span anymore.

The book where I found that data was not a beer book so it didn't say anything about the kind and provenance of the beers in question. It only said that they were imported and that they reached the final consumer (bribed official) already bottled. I was left with a couple of questions.

The other day I came across an article published in the eletronic version of a Uruguayan newspaper titled "The First Beers in the Río de la Plata", which seems not only to have the answers to those questions, but also a couple more interesting bits of information.

At the time I didn't think the beers reached Buenos Aires already bottled, I might have been wrong. Although he doesn't give any specific facts, the author, some Alberto Moroy, say…

When is a beer good?

The other day the Spanish blogger Chela wrote a post about adjuncts in Iberian beers, which also deals with the difference between taste, as in the subjective personal opinion, and quality, which is more objective, in beers.

The comments discussed what is that makes the quality of a beer good or bad, and if that could be defined based on which ingredients and processes are used. This is something that could be fascinating for some of us, but the truth is that for most mortals it is pretty cryptic and also absolutely uninteresting.

I believe there's an easier way to explain what makes a beer good, and I'm sure most of you will agree: "If you like it, it's good"Knowing how, when, where, in what volume, with what, by whom the beer I'm drinking was made will not make me like it any more or less, or at least it shouldn't, if I'm honest with myself. It could be useful to understand why I liked (or didn't like) it and then have some information that can he…