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Showing posts from August, 2010

Great Surprise from Argentina

Gerardo Fiorotto, owner of Green Belly, is a very respected and, by some, admired, micro brewer from Argentina. I've been in touch with him since pretty much the very beginnings of my blog (back when I wrote only in Spanish) and I've always had the impression that he's someone who knows very well what he does and takes his new trade in a very serious and professional way without having lost his passion.

A couple of months ago he contacted me again after quite some time. He told me his daughter (a brewer herself, too) was on her way to Prague and wanted some tips about places where she could taste some real Czech beer. I sent him a short list and Gerardo wrote back saying that his daughter would not come empty handed, she would be carrying a very special brew.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet her, but the beer still got to my hands. Gerardo's daughter left it at my second home Zlý Časy. I went there a few days later and, after saying hello to the known faces, th…

How Innovative!

It seems like Damm didn't have enough with Inèdit and Saaz. They needed in their portfolio another innovative, ground-breaking, revolutionary, one of its kind, 33cl of pure awesomeness in a bottle beer. Behold! Here is Weiss Damm. A Heffe Weizen....

WOW!

In the official description of the product we can see bollocks like: "...brewed according to the original German recipe of the 16th century Bavarian master brewers", which by now should not surprise anyone, really. It is the rest of their marketing that bothers me the most, though.

Weiss Damm is nothing new in the Spanish market. Imported wheat beers have been relatively easy to find for quite some time already.

Well, they are imported. Weiss Damm is Spanish!

OK, but there are several micros that have been brewing wheat beers for longer than you.

Micros, micros. Who drinks those beers? Nobody!

Well, I wouldn't say that. Anyway, what about Cesar Augusta from La Zaragozana?

Hombre! That is not the same. Our beer is brewed…

Good Choice

Breaking a little with the habit, my friend Ramón decided that this time he and his wife would visit Prague in summer. Keeping with the habit, we arranged to meet for lunch. Breaking a bit with the habit, this time I didn't go alone, but with my family, wife, daughter and my parents, who were on a visit. We met at Klašterní Šenk, perhaps my favourite restaurant in Prague. We had some really fantastic food (those ribs, man, they were awesome!) and a great time in all.

Keeping with the habit, during lunch Ramón gave me the beers I had "ordered". When before coming he asked what I was interested in from his native Catalunya, I thought I would play safe, and ordered something from Agullons and Guineu. These two micros have great reputations and I had already tasted samples from both. With these new samples I wanted to prove if the Montserrat from Guineu had not been a one-off, and if I had been right in giving Agullon's Runa Brown Ale the benefit of the doubt by consider…

News Flash

I was going to publish a review of Spanish beers, but that would have been two reviews in the same week, so I decided to leave it for later. So we'll have to make do with a compilation of news, some of them not so new.

Brewpubing

I've given up all pretense of keeping up with the openings of new brewpubs. How many have there been so far this year, 10? It's amazing. I have tasted the beers of several, though,  and there's a bit of everything, from the ones from Mutějovice, which I found on the wrong side of average, to Černý Orel from Kroměříž, a Baltic Porter-like dark beer, that was really, really good.

The ones I can (barely) keep up with are the brewpubs from Prague.

Finally Jihoměstský Pivovar is living up to its name. Since sometime last month the beers you can drink there are brewed on site and at least the three or four varieties I've tasted make going "do Háje" really worth it.

Closer to the centre, in Nusle, U Banstehu, besides being now 100% non s…

To wood or not to wood...

As I've mentioned before, I really like this trend of aging or maturing beers in barrels. And what I like the most about it is what some brewers are doing, commercialising the "same" beer with and without the wood. That way, the consumer can what this additional process adds to the beer, decide which of them they like the most and if the additional price is worth it.

So far, I'd had tasted only one beer in both versions, with the barrel aged one being a massive success. One year in French oak, previously used for maturing wine, had turned a beer I didn't like at all into one I loved.

Now, thanks to my great friend Gunnar, I was going to have the opportunity to see what effect the barrel treatment had had on a beer I had loved, Nøgne-Ø Imperial Stout. Would this beer have improved after three months in Scotch Whisky barrels (as unsurprisingly promises the brewer)?
The Highland Edition of this Imperial Stout pours as black as the original one. As expected, the aroma…

Important Reminder

I hope the summer break has not made you forget: On 15-16 October is the International Gathering of Beer Bloggers here in Prague.

Since the date is getting closer I need to have know who is going to attend, and if you are bringing company, as soon as possible.

This is very important because of Friday's activities. The people of SPP have proposed a very interesting trip (see the link above), but whether we make it or not, and how much it will cost, will greatly depend on how many people will be attending.

So, please, send me an mail to confirm your presence before the end of the month (those who have already sent one, please, do it again, just in case). The more, the merrier.

Na Zdraví!

3 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

The Session #42: A Special Place, A Special Beer

Finally I manage to take part in The Session. This month the invitation comes from Ramblings of a Beer Runner who proposes the following topic:
"...write about a special place in your life, and a beer or brewery that connects you to that place. It can be the beer from your childhood home, a place you once lived, your current hometown, a memorable vacation you once took, or a place you've always wanted to go to but never had the chance..."I think we all have our good share of special beers and/or special places, and I'm no exception. However, having at the same time A very special beer in A very special place can be a bit more difficult.

I write about Czech beer for the Spanish magazine Bar&Beer. My third article was about local brewing schools. During my research I visited SPŠPT (that in Czech stands for Industrial Middle School for Food Technology), where, among other careers, kids can learn Brewing. There I was received by the school's director, his predeces…

And here it is!

Those who follow this blog or have met me in person already know very well that Zlý Časy is my favourite pub, bar none. And it seems I'm not the only one, the place is packed almost every evening.

Its success is not only thanks to the 24 taps, all rotating, all with beers from regional and micros both domestic and imported, but also to the condition they are kept, their variety (the other day there were 5 wheat beers, 4 smoked, 2 ales, one German keller, etc.) and to the fact that the place has never lost the atmosphere of a neighbourhood hospoda. Every time I go I meet someone or start a chat with someone new, sometimes they are people who, overwhelmed by the choice seek the advice of those who sit at the bar.

None of this would be possible without the energy and the healthy bit of madness of Hanz, the owner. Hanz is someone knowledgeable and passionate about beer and also hard working, ambitious, open-minded and above all, a top bloke whom I consider a friend.
Not satisfied with …