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Showing posts from February, 2013

Precarious balance

Yesterday, as I drank the Argentinean beer Grosa (a present from my good friend Guerrillero Culinario), I was reminded of what Boak and Bailey asked the other day about balance.

Unfortunately, this word is often associated with "boring". Though there are indeed many balanced beers that are boring, the truth is that many unbalanced beers can be boring, too. I'm speaking about those that explode at first sip and then run out of script (often they are of the sort that I call "tasting beers").

But a balanced beer can also be very interesting, and even fun to drink, specially when that balance is on the precarious side. This is the example of Grosa, a beer aged in wine casks, brewed by Jerome, in collaboration with Argentine music legend, Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA winner, and part-time winemaker Gustavo Santaolalla.
At first, all the bits that make a Grosa's flavour seem to go into the mouth stumbling and pushing each other. It takes them a moment to realis…

Progress Report

Things have been slow around here lately, partly because of work, and life in general, and partly because of the book I'm writing with Alan.

Although we haven't been able to dedicate as much time and energy  as we would have liked to this, still unnamed, creature, it has already grown to a respectable 12000 words. Our goal is to make it to 30000, after which we will have to start with the tedious work of editing, adding footnotes, reviewing our opinions (one of the nice things about writing something like this is that your ideas can change as you work and see some things from a different angle), etc.

Thus far, the topics that have been, or are being, discussed are: styles, health, tasting, language, micro marketing, extreme and experimental beers, collaborations. In the pipeline are value/price, myths, beer writing and blogs, evangelism, industrial vs craft and likely some more.

The book has already taken to what appears to be a neighbourhood hospoda, Alan's kitchen, a ta…

Valuable value

The other day, when I learnt about a new beer from a very famous British brewery, I started thinking, once again, about the concepts of value and price/quality. 2D2dspuma beat me to the punch, and in great manner, but I still wanted to talk about it but from a slightly different perspective.

The beer in question has been aged 4 years in whisky casks. Though 4 years wouldn't have raised any eyebrows in the past, nowadays it is something very much out of the ordinary (with the probable exception of some Lambics), and this alone is enough to make this beer quite interesting, at least on paper. Shame about the price, though; roughly, the equivalent of 750CZK for a 330ml bottle. Pfff!

As I've already said several times, I've got no issue with brewers pricing their product in any way they see fit. It's their business decision and nobody is under any obligation to buy that product. That's why I also believe that it is unfair to criticise a beer for its price if you have…

Czech Beers at BBF

There's less than a month left to go for the second edition of Barcelona Beer Festival, to which I had the chance, and the pleasure, to make a small contribution.

The organisers had asked me, already for last year's edition, to help them get Czech beers. It was too close to the date and I wasn't able to arrange anything with anyone. This year, we had more time and already in summer I spoke with Honza Šuráň, Chairman of the Czech Microbrewers' Association, and Milan Starec, one of the owners of Černokostelecký Pivovar, and I put them in contact with Miker Ruis, one of the people behind the event, so they could agree on whatever that needed to be agreed on.

The result is this list of beer:
Imperial Pilsner and IPA, from Břevnovský Klášterní PivovarKávove y banánové pivo, from Pivovarský DůmCatfish Sumeček, Samuraj IPA, Quarterback and Gypsy Porter, from Pivovar Kocour Needeless to say, I'm really happy to see that Gypsy Porter, the beer I made happen (which, by the w…

Friday Musings

"Price should stop being an element to compare beers" This comment (followed by "Is there any competition where the price is considered when evaluating the product") could be considered naive, silly, or worse, if it wasn't for a small detail, it was made by Alex Padró, the owner of a brewery. It reminds me a bit to the quote "Life is too short to drink cheap beer that closes the "I'm a Craft Beer Drinker" video, where several people who make a living out of beer can be seen.

Just like I've said several times, I've got no with people like Padró setting the prices they see fit for their product or sevices. In fact, I think it's their inalienable right (especially if we are speaking about a leisure and luxury product like beer). Neither do I have much of a problem with their trying to convince me that the price, however high, is fair and reasonable for those product or services, as long they do it in an honest way, respecting the int…