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Showing posts from October, 2012

A window to the past?

About two months ago, I was having a few pints with my friend Artur, a.k.a. the Polish Photobomber. We were talking about beer and life in general and when it was time to go, we decided to close the session with a  Rauchweizenbock * that I hadn't drunk for quite awhile. After we got our pints I realised that, besides being a bit paler than I remembered it, the beer was also a bit sour, and yet, excellent! This contamination (it can be described that way, it hadn't been planned by the brewer) had added a new layer to an already very interesting and quite complex brew. It would all have remained another interesting sensory experience, if it hadn't been for Adrian's tale about his encounter with a stale Mild , which made him wonder if that wasn't something similar to what stale porters tasted like in the 1800s. Could it be that this duff rauchweizenbock had also shown me some sort of historical postcard? In many occasions, and from several sources, I have hear

Gypsy Porter+Friends+Zlý Časy = Perfect Evening

Last Saturday, at Zlý Časy's upstairs bar, we did a rather informal, official presentation of Gypsy Porter , the beer that Gazza Prescott, from Steel City ,  Pivovar Kocour and yours truly brewed in Varnsdorf . There's not a lot more I can say about this Baltic Porter that I haven't said before . Bollocks! There is! Gazza did a great job with the malt grist (Pilsen, Munich, Carafa Spezial No. 1 y Carared). It prevented the beer from being cloying, even though it coats your palate thanks to a relatively lower attenuation (to give you an idea,  Pardubický Porter , that also declares 19º degree Balling, has 8% ABV, Gypsy has 7,2, with an original Balling graduation of almost 20). The hops balance this symphony of malts beautifully and the whole thing has a quite dangerous drinkability for such high octanes. The only thing that didn't turn out quite as we expected was the aroma. After two months lagering, the Citra hops we added at the end of the boil had left only a s

It happened one day

I've just remembered this anecdote I've been told a couple of months ago. It goes somehow like this: The people of  Pivotéka Pivní Rozmanitost went to a craft fair in Ustí nad Labem with their brewing project  Pivovar Nomád (I owe these beers a post). At their stand they were selling Žižkovský Svrchňák at 25CZK/0.5l. A man came by and asked about the beer and the person at the stand explained him what it was about, but the man ended up saying that since he didn't know the beer, it must be bad (or something like that), and he went to another stand to buy Gambrinus for 29CZK. The first reaction of everyone who heard/read this story was (in several languages)  "What a twat!" , which is actually, unfair. People shouldn't be critisised for their tastes in beer, you and I can legitimately say that Gambáč is crap, so what? We all like at least one thing that other people can legitimately say it's crap. What can be critisised though, to a certain extent, i


This Saturday, Oct. 20, from 5PM at  Zlý Časy , together with Gazza Prescott, from  Steel City Brewing and someone from Pivovar Kocour , I'll be presenting  Gypsy Porter , the beer we brewed together two months ago in Varnsdorf . Gypsy Porter is a Baltic-Porter inspired strong black lager. The recipe was put together by Gazza on the base of the recipe of Sinebrychoff Porter , which  Kirsten England , brewer at  Pour Decisions , sent me (if you haven't already, read the interview he gave to Fuggled , it's great). It was brewed with a double decoction mash (as it should be) and we used Pilsen, Munich, Carafa Spezial No. 1 and Carared malts, Saaz hops (pellets) and Citra (aroma, cones). The Balling graduation was 19.8 and fermented for about 10 days to 5.4º. It's a gorgeous beer and I can't wait to see how it has evolved since I drank it a few weeks ago at Slunce v Skle . You are all invited. Na Zdraví! Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free


A brewery that teams up with a renown, Michelin starred cook to develop the first beer of its kind, which can also pair with any sort of food. No, it's not  Inèdit , is  Sagra Bohío , which is thus described on its webpage: "Bob Matlman and Pepe Rodríguez, Head Chef at el Bohío de Illescas - Toledo (Current National Gastronomic Award and Michelin Star), have joined to create the first Spanish craft beer designed to pair with any meal, specially dessert. For that, a triple malt beer, with additional maturing and bottle conditioning, has been brewed. The restult is a an Ale, triple malt, balanced, with chocolate colour and aroma, with caramel, coffeee and apple notes." It's very possible that this beer is great, I haven't tasted, but, together with the "Gastronomic Beer" , this is the kind of marketing laziness that makes me not want to buy a product (if I could). And it's worse in this case, because it's not even original, and on top of it,

Selected Readings: September

A bit late, but here you have it, the best, worthiest and most interesting of the stuff I read last month. We start in Spanish, with a double dose of Mexican wisdom.  Amigos de la Vid and In Cervesio Felicitas pull no bollocks in their lists of the worst Mexican craft beers. Their opinions are very well argued and valuable in an alternative beer scene that is just getting started. The best of all, though, is what each of them says about "locality". ICF:  "Supporting a Mexican product only because it's Mexican and not because of its good quality is lame and absurd". Amigos:  "Stop trying to instill a nationalistic sense to Mexican craft beer. We all know that most of the ingredients used are imported".  Brilliant. From Portland, Beervana explains the difference between mass and elitist reviews . I couldn't agree more. Though I acknowledge that rating sites offer some useful information, at least when a quick reference is needed, I get a lot

A Good Example

I've never drunk the beers from the Argentine micro Finn , I've got no clue as to what they are like, but they've already earned my respect. The other day, on their Facebook page, they posted a picture to announce that they had to pour 120 bottles down the drain because they were not happy with the quality of the product. This is the kind of professionalism, respect for the trade and, more importantly, the consumer, that many of us are demanding to all micros (and not so micro). Yes, Finn  aren't the only ones to do something like this, I've heard of many others. Unfortunately, though, there are still many who prefer to do things differently and have no problem with taking a flawed beer to a festival or bringing you a contaminated one at their own brewpubs or, as I've been told by people who know, giving a year and a half shelf life to products that are almost undrinkable after only six months. Nobody likes to see a whole day of work (and money invested) go