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Showing posts from September, 2012

You learn something new every day

The other day I attended the official opening ceremony of Břevnovský Pivovar at the namesake monastery. A nice do, I must say, with the Prior blessing the brewery, and the beers, of course, and a few friends who made the afternoon even more enjoyable, there are few pleasures in this life that are bigger than a friendly chat paired with excellent beers, and the beers from Břevnov are top-notch.

Their světlý ležák, in my opinion, already ranks among the best you can drink in this country. It's completely different from any other I've drunk before. There's the classic, wonderful, sexy malty body of a proper Czech pale lager (bless decoction for that), but this one is almost bursting with notes of mint and something that reminds me of chewing a sage leaf, in between those two there's some fruit that my friend Evan Rail described as that bit of a peach that is by the stone, thought it could also be described a not fully ripe apricot. It gives the beer a truly unique charac…

WOW!

To be honest, I wasn't going to write anything about last Saturday's Slunce v Skle. Not because there was anything wrong with it, quite the opposite, just like every year, it was great, it's still the best festival in this country. The thing is that I didn't believe I would have anything new to add to what I said two years ago: great atmosphere, lots of friends and familiar faces, the weather started out rather dodgy, but then got really nice...

The biggest difference, perhaps, was the quality of the beers. Unlike the previous two editions, I didn't come across anything that was bad. But then again, I didn't drink that much, or actually, I didn't drink from as many breweries as previous years. It could also be that what I wrote on Friday played a bit of a role and, instead of chasing after every new brewery (there were several) I mostly played safe and went for stuff I knew or had very good references of. I even repeated a couple of beers! And though I did…

Friday Morning Musings

The other day I came across this very good (and rather old) article in The Economist that speaks about how having more to choose from results on people actually buying less because they can't quite decide. Boak & Bailey went through a situation like this a while ago while in London, where they had the nagging feeling that choosing one beer or one pub might mean that they were missing something better.

Whenever I drop by places like Zlý Časy, more and more often find myself taking the opposite path. I go for the stuff I know and maybe, depending on how long I'll be staying, the company and my mood at the time, pick one or two new beers, but only after at least a couple of pints have been properly taken care of. In fact, I'm becoming increasingly tired and bored of this inflation of new beers and part of me is slowly beginning to wish that the bubble would finally burst.

All of this is happening thanks (or because of) the beer fetishists. These are people who seem to pr…

A Few Quick Reviews (IV)

A new installment of the round up of reviews originally published on my FB page for those four or five of you who don't have Facebook.

Slaný TUPL IPA: Could be a tad more aromatic, could have a bit of a longer finish, but SOD THAT! What a chewy, complex, rewarding, beauty this one is!
Cigar City Cucumber Saison: I'd be lying my ass off if I said this is one of my favourite beers, but bugger me! This is one interesting little bastard that masterfully avoids the gimmick. One I'd love to drink again. (thanks Glen!)

Opat Benediktin 15º: As if a Märzen was trying to do some mischief.

13º Český Granát, Žitný Speciál from Regent? Are you kidding? Does this apricot marmalade, ginger, strawberry syrup beauty come from Třeboň? Hats off to them, it's bloody lovely!!!

Přerovský Negr: A big, mean, scary looking muthafuckin nigga that turns out to be a nice fun bloke to be with after all.
Novopacké Kvasničák: Scores for being one of the few, proper kvasnicové, starts well enough, but end…

Both for the everyman and for the selected few

After he heard a couple of wine posers say that they couldn't take beer seriously until it became "more like wine", Velký Al issued another rant against the "winification" of beer. I agree with him, I also find the "beer is the new wine" bollocks a bit irritating and very stupid. However, there's something that Al doesn't quite take into account when he complains about those who want to gentrify beer, history.

If you've read what Martyn Cornell and Ron Pattinson have written about beer in the 19th century and beyond, you'll have noticed that beer has not always been only the "everyman's drink". The higher classes used their beers, the most famous of them, perhaps, were the Pale Ales (India or otherwise), to which we could add the Porters/Stouts brewed for the Russian ruling class, among others (even lagers, in the early days, were quite a posh drink in Britain). In the continent, the Reinheitsgebot was amended in the 17t…

Selected Readings: August

You all have a calendar at hand, so none of the opening bollocks this time. Straight to the point.

Martyn Cornell carries on with his lifetime mission of smashing the myths of beer history. This time is, once again, the turn of IPA. Mandatory reading, specially for those Wikipedia copypasters.

And speaking about mythical histories. Evan Rail sheds some light over the origins of Pilsner Urquell. Like many legends and myths, the one behind the birth of the most famous Czech beer traces is loosely based on facts. It turns out that, contrary to what I had speculated, the protest of the burghers did take place, but not quite for the reasons we have been made believe.

Back to the present where Garret Oliver speaks with lot of authority about the crimes against beer committed in the hospitality industry. I'd like to add another one, committed by most restaurants in this country, "not giving a shit".

The issue of negative reviews has been profusely discussed, everyone has their…

Tasted conclusions

Over the weekend I thought a bit more about tastings and their contribution to beer culture (I still haven't made up my mind whether "beer culture" is a real thing or not, but for the sake of the argument, let's say it is) and I've reached some conclusions.

More than once I've seen the word "learn" mentioned, that at these events people "learn". Learn what? Learn to drink? Don't we learn that when we are 2? Learn to enjoy beer? Are they expecting me to believe that until I was told about the proper serving temperature and glass for a Barley Wine I wasn't enjoying my beer, or I didn't know how? Are they morons or have they got their heads so high up their own arses that the fumes have made them idiots? (and this goes to my couple of years ago self). Learn how to appreciate beer? This is not modern art, it's beer! All you need to do in order to appreciate beer is to pay attention to what you are drinking, that's pretty m…