Tweet You've heard (and read) me saying this countless times (I've even mentioned it in articles that've been published in magazines!), this thing with the microbreweries in the Czech Republic is amazing. Only five years ago there were around 50, today there are 120 and counting. Last year alone more than 20 new ones opened!
Of course, not everything is rosy. This boom has brought some growing pains. For some time I've been reading about an incipient shortage of qualified workforce, and the other day someone who seemed to know what he was saying told me that some of the micros that have opened recently are actually enterprises to swindle money from the European Union Structural Funds. Beer, or the business of selling beer, is of little, if any, importance to this people, they've already earned what they wanted to earn just with the project, what happens next is not their problem.
The reality is that I've drunk some serious crap lately. I don't mean boring lagers, beers about which you might say "it could have a bit less/more of this or that". No, I mean Crap. At last year's Slunce v Skle there were at least two beers that I ended up trowing away, unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the perpetrators anymore (I stopped taking notes at festivals, I suggest you do the same). But if you want names, here are a few: 11º from U Stočesu, the brewpub of Rokycany, abominable, made even worse by the fact that it was the last beer that session. Melantrich, which I described as "Nasty and proud of it". However, nothing compares to the disaster that was U Orloje, in Žatec, there's no excuse for a brewpub serving a beer that is off! Who is the dimwit who runs that place?
Fortunately, we have Slaný's Pivovar Antoš, Únětický Pivovar, Kout, Kocour, Matuška or Třebonice, just to name a few of those that are making some very good stuff (though Matuška could give us a break with the prices).
And it's also worth mentioning that Kocour, Matuška, Třebonice and several others have managed to introduce exotic species to the Lagerland's landscape. Warm fermented beers are multiplying and are becoming more popular on both sides of the counter. However...
...Most seem to be following the same two or three recipes. What is not Pale Ale is India Pale Ale. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but American hops aren't the only kind that can be used for this kind of beers, even if you are aiming at a high IBU (look at some of the entries in Ron Pattinson's Let's Brew series, if you don't believe me). And what about brewing something else? I'd love to see more Stouts, Porters or the odd Brown Ale, Barley Wine or Saison. And it's not necessary to go too far. Hardly anyone makes dark wheat beers, just a couple of Weizenbock (very good ones, by the way) and that's it (and let's not talk about rye).
Fuck it! It's not even necessary to leave Lagerland! There seems to be no one who would like to have a go at some old (non světlý ležák) recipes from a century ago. And don't come with "but they were brewed the same way as today". No, they weren't. Oh yeah, but extract flavoured abominations, nobody is afraid of that, are they? (Can anyone please remind me the name of the git that added food colouring to a beer flavoured with red wine extract?). Fuck all of them, really!
I woke up in a bad mood today. Instead of bitching so much I should be grateful to be living in this beer paradise, where I can say that Pilsner Urquell is an average pale lager while I complain about its ubiquity. See? I already feel better!
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