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Showing posts from October, 2010

Lazy

According to my imaginary schedule, today I was supposed to write the reviews of 4 English Ales, but I can't be arsed. I didn't sleep well and I'm just too tired for that. Instead, I want to share with you some photos I've taken recently. Some of them will make it to My Book (which is coming along really well). I hope you like them.


Na Zdraví!

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

Top fermenting in Lagerland

As a beer lover I feel really fortunate to be living in the Czech Republic, where without having to walk or pay too much I can drink some of the finest lagers in the world, in all their colours and strengths.

I drink bottom fermented beers every day, literally. I haven't got tired of them and never will. However, I also appreciate variety and that's why I'm glad to see that more and more breweries are venturing into the world of top fermented beers and also, that there are distributors who are having some success importing this kind of beers.

And it seems that there are plenty of people out there who think like me, because this Saturday, Oct. 30, Pivovar Kocour is organising in Varnsdorff the Ale Festivale 2010, dedicated exclusively to top fermented beers (yeah, I know that not all of them are ales, but the name of the festival is kind of cool as it is).
There will be several Czech micros as well as distributors taking part of the event. The offer will include some new an…

Bloody styles

I like discussing styles. It's a very rich topic and it usually generates heated debate. Pete Brown the other day started the latest discussion when he published the first and, a day later, the last of the two posts he said he will ever write on the subject. He was followed by other bloggers like Mark Dredge, Velký Al, Stan Hieronymus and a few more that I haven't read yet. All, together with some of the people who commented in their posts, present more than interesting arguments.

As for me. Well, I consider myself a style anarchist, but at the same time, I think knowing your styles well is important for two kinds of people:
beginner brewers because it can help them know what to do with the ingredients and what the resulting beer should be like (something like a cookery book for those who are just starting)judges and organisers of competitions, because style guidelines will help evaluations to be more objective and based on more concrete parameters. (of course, to me, competiti…

Oh God

If there's anyone out there who still doubts that Gambrinus is going through a crisis, I think the new product of the best selling brand in the country will make things clear.

After, what in my opinion was, the pilot test of the unfiltered version of světlý, Gambrinus has now presented something almost revolutionary and very innovative, XCLNT. A new product specifically created for young people (I didn't know youngsters spoke all in capital letters and without vowels).

And what kind of young person is the target consumer of XCLNT? Fortunately, we have the answer right in the first paragraph of the press release announcing the launch:
They are 20 y.o. They live for each moment and friends mean everything to them. A bit dreamers, a bit rebels. They don't want to settle. They are independent and crazy. At parties, they are able to let loose and have fun until the morning. Clubs and bars are their second home. They like being the centre of attention, they wear designer shoes an…

Just a little detail is missing

After having written about it, I really wanted to taste Svatovaclavské Doppelbock. The other day, while I was in the centre killing some time, I started to think where I could find it and I suddenly remembered Krušovická Pivnice.

I hadn't been there for ages. Actually, I never liked the place too much, but I really wanted to see what that beer was like and I couldn't think of any other alternative. Besides, I was also considering whether this pub should be included in one of the crawls in my book. So, after a quick stop at U Medvídku to say hello to my friend Laďa Veselý, there I went, thinking that even if I didn't like the place, a quick beer wouldn't do me any harm.

I ended up staying for more than one.

Already before walking through the door I noticed some changes. Gone were the writings on the windows and the beer list had slightly changed. Krušovice Imperial tanková and Mušketýr Nefiltrovaný, as well as the expected Dopplebock. And the prices! 25CZK for half a l…

Good Vintage

Last summer I had the pleasure to meet Edgar, a friend from Barcelona, who was here on a visit with his girlfriend and one of his mates. We had agreed I would pick them up at their hotel to take them to Nusle for some lunch. Needless to say, we had a great time.

Besides been a big beer enthusiast, Edgar is a sommelier at a very well regarded restaurant in Barcelona. But he's not your usual sommelier, he is in charge of the restaurant's beer list. During the meal (and the several beers we had for dessert) we spoke a lot about his job. Edgar told me the beer list is quite successful and that there are more and more people who are beginning to realise what many of us have known for some time, beers usually offer better value for money than wines.

While he was telling me about all that, I couldn't help but think how many restaurants in the whole of the Czech Rep. offer something similar. Only one, that I know of. It might be hard to believe, but at the same time, hardly surpr…

Progress report

It's been more than half a year since I published a Progress Report about my book. The reason is that, well, there hasn't been much progress since then.

Yeah, I did write many entries and found several new places, but one day I hit a wall. Partly it was because of being too busy or tired, but mostly it was because it came to a point that I didn't know how to continue anymore. Writing one review after another of hospody, etc. from all the corners of Prague had become tedious and, what was still worse, I was afraid that it would also be tedious to read. And I didn't want that.

I had to find an alternative, perhaps I could include some more articles about local beer culture. But that was not enough. I really didn't know what to do. But one night, after going to bed and unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, I had a revelation. The book would change, and rather radically.

And that is how what was going to be a list of places ordered geographically, became a "Pub C…

Proper grub

Anyone who says that Czech pub grub is bad is an idiot. There, I said it. Czech pub grub is great. It's the most amazing thing since the invention of beer. The problem, of course, is that there are many places that don't make it right, either because they don't know or, more often, they don't care. But that is something that happens everywhere in the world, but go to the right place and you'll be able to eat very well and for a very good price.

At home we like to cook some of that stuff, it's not too complicated and the ingredients are usually cheap and easy to find. The only inconvenient is that it can take quite a long time to prepare and/or cook it, that's why we usually do it at weekends, specially on those days when the weather invites to you stay at home.

And since I love all of you, here you have the recipe for one of my all time favourites:

Bramborové Knedlíky Plňené s Uzením Masem
(Potato knedlíky stuffed with smoked meat)
Ingredients: (for about 10 …

The Tap Race: Madness

In my last entry about the Tap Race I asked how long Zlý Časy's leadership would last. Actually, it was something I wrote because I thought it would look nice. I never expected that there would be people willing to keep on expanding the offer of draught beer.

Well, as it turns out, there were, the Tap Race has a new leader with 30 taps!

Prague Beer Museum opened a couple of weeks ago right in the centre of the city, in Dlouhá. I had known about this place already before its opening. Se Padilla, one of its owners, had contacted me to ask a few questions.

I met him last summer and he told me about the project. I liked it, I thought it was a pretty good idea, but what I liked the most was Se's attitude.

He is someone with a lot of experience in the trade. He has owned and managed several bars, both here and in the US. When he decided he wanted to set up a new place in the spot where Tom-Tom Club used to be, he realised things would not be easy. He told me that most of the cocktail…

On a couple of good ideas and a lot of pain

Several times I have already critisised Heineken because of their policy of closing down breweries and also for their very own interpretation of the concept of free market. But it is good to be fair, so credit should be given when it is deserved.

I really like what they are doing with the seasonal beers. They started a few years ago with Starobrno's Zelené Pivo (which, by the way, seems to be turning greener and worse with every year) sold at Easter. Last year they got serious with it when they presented Dožinkové Pivo, a pretty decent wheat beer brewed in Austria by Krušovice's brew master and sold at the end of Augusto, and a Christmas special. This year all of them have been joined by Svatojanské Speciál and Svatovacklávské Dopplebock, both brewed at Velké Březno, like the Christmas one. The former is a 13º Polotmavé brewed for Midsummer day and the latter and, at the moment, newest, was presented earlier this week for St. Wenceslas day and it's a lager of 21º Plato tha…