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Showing posts from June, 2011

A lovely day

After finishing my visit to Úětický Pivovar my original plan was to take a bus to Prague and find somewhere to have lunch. The day had turned out to be a too nice for that so I changed my mind and decided I would walk to the nieghbouring village of Roztoky, following the romantically called Tiché Údolí (Silent Valley).

At the beginning of the walk, while I was still going through the village, I lamented having forgotten my MP3 player at home, but once I had left the houses behind and, following the creek, entered the forest I realised it was actually for the better. Had I been listening to any of my favourite music I would have missed the singing of the water and the birds, which, together with my footsteps, were the only sounds to be heard.

A truly beautiful walk, incredibly peaceful, relaxing. Even though I've been living here for almost a decade, I'm still surprised that you can find this kind of places right next to a major city, or even in it.
After enjoying a few kilomet…

Things I saw and heard in Únětice

I liked the beers of Únětický Pivovar so much, and I had such a good time at this such nice place, that the moment I arrived home I told myself I should go back there dressed as a journalist. So I got in touch with Jítka Menclová, the person in charge of the PR, and arranged a visit for last Wednesday.

This time didn't rain while I walked from the bus stop to the brewery and since I still had plenty of time I thought I would take an alternative way, which was not only nicer, but it also turned out to be shorter.

Jítka arrived a bit later and the visit started also in the company of one of the brewers. I'm preparing a piece for the Spanish magazine Bar&Beer, but I still wanted to share with you some of the things I was told there.
Únětický Pivovar isn't a brewpub, it's a beer factory that, like many others, has a taproom or výčep, as Czechs say. The taproom and the garden are already working, opening hours are Tue-Fri: 15-22, Sat-Sun: 11-22. Only soups, sausages and …

They must be joking

The headline in Czech says "Pivovary založily fond, který má chránit české pivo" (Breweries set up a fund to protect Czech beer). This fund, with the slogan "České pivo - naše pivo" (Czech beer - our beer), aims to protect the national drink from the "onslaught" of the cheap imports.

Ufff! Where to begin. The founding members. Plzeňský Prazdroj, Heineken, Budvar, the PMS group (Zubr, Litovel, Holba) Souffle Maltings and Český svaz pivovarů a sladoven (Czech Brewers and Maltster Association). When I was reading this I couldn't stop my hand from slapping my forehead in disbelief. Only Pivovary Staropramen is missing and we would have a full house. Do this people really want to protect Czech beer? Gimme a break!

Prazdroj brews Gambrinus Světlý and Premium both with a 13º batch that then is divided and each of them diluted until they get to the required ABV.

Heineken in 2009 shut down four breweries and then sold the facilities of one of them to the city …

Just words

Yea, I know, it was irrelevant to my beer ecosystem, though quite fun to follow, I must admit. However, in some way all this CAMRA v Bloggers thing (which can also be followed here and here, among many other places) reminded me of the importance words can have and a couple of conversations on the topic that I had some time ago with Evan Rail.

Evan argued that it was important for the local micro-brewers to find a Czech equivalent to "Craft Beer". I wasn't all that sure then, but I had to admit that my friend's argument was pretty solid from the marketing discourse point of view. In theory that should have been very easy, find a translation for "Craft Beer" and Bob's your uncle.

Nope, and I agree with Evan here, "Řemeselné Pivo", even though Pivovar Matuška and a couple more people are using it already, doesn't carry the same cultural, semantic or semiotic (?) meaning than "Craft Beer".

"Řemeselné" comes from "Řem…

A beery family afternoon

I almost didn't go. In the morning, the day was lovely, sunny, but not too warm, great to spend the afternoon sitting at a nice place and drinking some nice beer. However, by the time we were returning from our weekly shopping at Dejvice's farmers' market, things were getting shitty. Dark, heavy clouds were pushing away the lovely, cotton made ones and confirmed what the forecast had said the day before, rain the whole day. Bugger.

We fed our daughter and my mood was getting worse, I really wanted to go, but not under the rain. My wife, a wise woman, convinced me and we got ready to go catch the next bus.

On the way to Černý Vůl it started to rain, a few drops at first. By the time we got to the stop Černý Vůl - Hospoda (after Chýně - Pivovarský Dvůr, this must be the best name in the world for a bus stop) those drops were already falling in gangs. We dressed our daughter with a jacket and her new wellington boots, my wife put on a jacket herself and we started the almost …

Anyone in Barcelona?

The wonders of globalisation! I write a book sitting in a small room in a house in a village near Prague, I publish it through an American company and people from all over the world can order it either in print or pdf. And that's not the best.

I get an e-mail from someone in Barcelona. This person tells me they would like to sell my book at their shop. We agree on a price, quantity and conditions and I, sitting in that small room in that small house in a village near Prague, order it to this American company with just a few clicks and typing a handful of words. A little over a week later the copies of my book "Praga: Guía Cervecera para Borrachines" arrive in Barcelona.

So if you are around there and fancy reading the best beer book written by an Argentine living in the Czech Republic drop by 2d2dspuma, in Manigua. But hurry up, there are only 25 copies.

Na Zdraví!

4 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

Seasonal experiment

Strawberry season is in full swing in our garden and every afternoon it's time to pick the red fruit, just like we did yesterday.
Besides eating them fresh (with a touch of freshly ground black pepper for me, please), we like using the strawberries for many things, my favourite perhaps are jahodové knedlíky
But we are still waiting for the really big ones to ripen to make those babies. In the meantime, with yesterday's harvest my wife, thinking about the wellbeing of our daughter, made a strawberry shake with whole milk and I, thinking about... well, I don't know what I was thinking about, really, made another shake, an experimental one, with a handful of strawberries, a few leaves of mint and peppermint and half litre of wheat beer.
I mixed everything adding the beer slowly and the result was awesome. Bitter, with notes that reminded me of the brettanomyces found in Lambics and with the mint giving it a fantastic twist. I would have loved to try this with Scheider Hopfenweis…

Selected Readings: May

I'm sure that many of my regular readers have not "liked" my Facebook page, where, among other things, I post links to articles and other beer related stuff I find interesting. Since I'm cool with that and I don't want to leave you out of the conversation, I thought I would start this new section and share with you at least some of those articles. So, without further ado, let's start with the ones published in Spanish: (don't be lazy, Google Translate can do a pretty good job).

The Spanish brewer Estrella Galiciaannounced their new product, Artesana, a beer that copies almost word by word the marketing of Inèdit: world famous cook who says he took part in the creation of the beer, etc., etc. There are a couple of differences, though, according to the press release Artesana is going to be a series of beers. On the other hand, the "easy-open" cap suggests that you drink straight from the 0.33l bottle, which is not something I associate with a Mich…

Neighbourhood Beauty

By the time U Vodoucha opened I was already on the last leg of the work with my book and I had already closed to door to any new additions. I wasn't able to visit it, either, all the time I had available then was devoted to making the remaining photos of the places that would be included in the Guide. I still wanted to make it there, though, all the comments I'd heard about this new pub in Vinohrady had been very good and I promised my self that this would be the first place I would review after publishing the book. (a promise that I obviously didn't keep.

Let's start with the weaker side, the beer list. U Vodoucha has ten taps, more than half of them reserved for beers from K Brewery, the rest for micros from different parts of the country. So far, so good. However, with the exception of the excellent Majový Ležák from Dalešice (a polotmavé), all the beers that they were serving on both my visits were Pale Lagers of one Balling graduation or another. No dark beers, no…