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Showing posts from June, 2012

Bad choice of outfit

Yeah, I know, I can't complain. It was pretty chilly early in the morning, but I still went out wearing only t-shirt, shorts and sandals, applying my policy of "I'd rather feel cold a few minutes in the morning than bake for the rest of the day". And the weather looked promising, it looked it'd get nice. But the forecast was wrong, go figure. The temperature hasn't changed much and now, on top of it, it's started pouring. Fuck me sideways! A PUB! What better shelter than a hospoda. And it's one of those that I know well, but where they don't know me. That's good, I'm in no mood to speak to anyone today. "Černé pivo, prosím." And it's one of the beer minimalist bunch. That's good, I'm no mood to navigate a beer list of  Zlýčasean proportions today. Oh! Yeah! Yeah, I know, it's purely psychological, but the first sip of this black beauty not only makes me feel warmer, but also drier. From the second sip

Monday Morning Musings

Jeff Alworth posted the other day on Beervana perhaps the most sensible thing I've read about beer styles. Read it, I've got nothing to add, other than he explains better than anyone the reason why I tend to find new styles rather ridiculous (specially when they aren't that new or when they are limited to only one beer ). The post generated two equally interesting responses, one in Canada, the other in the UK. Alan starts pretty much where Jeff left things and takes them even further , arguing that "Style" is a twisted method of categorisation, full of incomparables (I particularly liked the analogy with the cars), and reaches a conclusion that is very hard to disagree with. But taking in from the question at the end, the cause of style-itis. I think we've got to this situation due to the false Cartesian logic "Stylus, ergo cervisia". It is the style that should fit the beer and not the other way around (unless we are speaking about a compet

Beer at the Castle

There weren't places to sit, the food was rather poor, you couldn't wash your hands after going to the loo, there were fountains to rinse the glasses, but not to rinse your palate between samples (something that was badly needed by the end), some of the promised "pivovary" were missing and not everyone at the taps was a "pro". What else is there to critisise? Nothing, really, "Festival minipivovarů na Pražském hradě" turned out to be what it promised it would be and the kind of event that Czech beer had long deserved. The setting could have hardly been better for a day like last Friday. Right at the feet of Queen Ann's Summer Palace, with the spires of St. Vitus Cathedral hovering above the tents. I arrived around 2:30 and there were already plenty of people. As expected, I found many friends and known faces, who sometimes made it hard to keep a conversation going. Every time I turned round to rinse my glass or to get another beer I ran

An experience of years

The recent experience that Martyn Cornell and Ron Pattinson shared in their respective blogs reminded me that for already quite some time I had the tale of a... I was going to say "similar experience", but that'd have been a huge overstatement... let's leave it at "slightly related". Last Autumn my good friend Fernando, owner of the best pub in Ávila , paid us a visit and brought me a bottle of Westmalle Trippel he had in his cellar. The best by date was 25/10/08 and the bottling date was exactly two years before. The trip had shaken the bottle quite a bit, so I put it in a corner of my "cellar" and pretty much forgot all about it. One day I found it again and I thought it'd be a good idea to taste it side by side with a fresh one. I couldn't find a 75cl bottle at the time, so I had to make do with a 33cl one, with a best by date 12/12/13, which implies that it was 5 years younger than the other one. I was quite excited, the closes

And shame

The issue of naming and shaming has been discussed again recently both in the Spanish and English beer blogs. I had spoken about it more than two years ago, and made my opinion very clear. Since that opinion has not changed a single bit, I didn't think it'd be worth it to deal with this topic again, until I came across this this excellent article in The Guardian . There, Jay Rayner , the paper's restaurant critic, speaks about the fascination people have with bad reviews, the more brutal, the better. Rayner doesn't give only his view, but also interviews a psychologist, other critics and even a person who was the object of one of his most visceral reviews and the person who wrote a very negative review of one of his books. By the end, the author admits that it's easier for him to write a negative review because bad experiences are funnier and the vocabulary of the awful is wider. And his right to a certain extent. I don't publish many reviews here anymor

Selected Readings: May

Bugger me! It's June already? Are you joking? I must be having a lot of fun. Well, it's time for the roundup of some of the articles that caught my attention last month: As you all know, The World Beer Cup was held last month. I'm not going to discuss the results, as they are to me as relevant as those of the Mexican Football League, but I will recommend you read this post by one of the winners . It explains very candidly some of the backstage details of this renown competition. If we add to this how easy it is to manipulate the competitions (and this is not a rumor, and not the only way it happens here), then, choosing a beer because of the medals it might have won is, at least, a bit naive. Velký Al deals with my favourite kind of beer , the Session Beer, but from another angle. Usually, the parameter used to define a session beer is the ABV %. Al, however, proposes to add the IBU. You may or may not agree with the figures, but it is a pretty reasonable train of th

A simple solution

As in many other countries, Spain is experiencing a micro-brewing boom. The number of small producers has grown incredibly in the last few years. The phenomenon has caught the attention of the media and there are many people who believe that "craft beer" is trendy. Unfortunately, as it usually happens in situations like this, many people have decided to get on the wagon, some because they see in it the possibility to fulfill a dream, while others only want to take advantage of this trend to hopefully make some quick money, without bothering too much about the long term. All this has resulted in a bubble. Last Wednesday Txema denounced an on-line shop for selling a certain brand of beer at outrageous inflated prices . Regardless of how those beers got to these people ( they didn't buy them directly from the brewery ), the truth is that if someone makes an impulse buy on the internet and ends up paying a lot more than necessary, they have it well deserved. You don'