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Showing posts from May, 2013

Interview in Pilsen

Last Wednesday I was assigned by the magazine  Beer Connoisseur to go to Pilsner Urquell to interview Václav Berka and I had a great time. Berka, of course, is pretty well known personality here, almost a celebrity, in fact. He's the most visible face of the most iconic Czech beer brand and he's a pretty cool bloke! He showed me around the brewer, starting with the maltings, which aren't open to visitors, and he let me peek into the decoction kettles, something that visitors don't get to do, either. All while he answered to all my questions. Thanks to it I was able to learn a few things I didn't know. The bottling line has a capacity of 1m bottles/day, and it's used not only for Pilsner Urquell, but also for Gambrinus and Kozel, which is brought by tank lorries. In 1913, Pilsner Urquell was brewing 1 million hl, today production is bit less than 2 million. There's a curious story about the establishment of Gambrinus. Urquell was already quite succ

11 years

I had forgotten about it. Last year , the year before and the one before that I had chosen some special beers to celebrate my anniversary in the Czech Republic. I hadn't thought about it this year until I was sitting last Monday afternoon drinking a Postrižinská 11°. It was that 11 degree beer that made me realise that I've been living here for 11 years. How appropriate! ¡Fuck me, time flies! As I've already mentioned, moving here has been the decision of my life. This country is far from perfect (and which is?), but despite all the shortcomings, I still like it as a place to live, work and struggle. As a beer lover, on the other hand, I can't imagine a better place than Prague right now, the scene in the last few years has changed incredibly (and not only in Prague). I can still buy a great beer like the above mentioned 11º, at 12CZK a bottle, I can still have Pilsner Urquell tanková in any neighbourhood and now, on top of that, there are 14 brewpubs, two distri

Hmmm... what was it that I wanted to talk about?

I had the draft of a post somewhere in my brains, one that was freely inspired on an article I read recently that made me think about pubs and why we buy them, I guess I will have to look for it, it may have drowned a little last Saturday at Černokostelecký Pivovar . Fuck me! What a great time I had! Really, Vysmolení es an almost ideal beer event. Gorgeous place, excellent beers. Four specially brewed for the occasion: a desítka that perhaps had a bit too much Munich malts (brewed in Varnsdorf), but that it was still great as the first beer of the day; a dvanáctka of the kind that laughs in the face of those that say that Pale Lagers are boring (brewed in Kounice, which is slowly becoming one of my favourite micros) and two smoked beers (brewed in Přerov), both with almost the same recipe, the only difference being the kind of smoked malt used. Then there were two beers dispensed from pitched barrels, one the Bavarian way (a surprisingly brilliant 14º from Nová Paka), and Únětick

Are you around this weekend?

Fancy doing something really cool? My friends at  Černokostelecký Pivovar are holding the second edition of Vysmolení. Last year, I had a great time and I'm really looking forward to going again this Saturday. The excuse for this event is to pay homage to a once very important trade in the Czech beer industry, the cooper, presenting perhaps one of the important jobs these artisans had, pitching. Like last year, there will also be four beers specially brewed for the occasion, a desítka, a dvanáctka and two smoked beers, one made with beech smoked malts, the other peat smoked. The beers will be poured from wooden barrels with two dispensing methods, top pressure with air compressor and old Bavarian style, by gravity. Personally, I'm looking forward to see how much the restoration works at the brewery proper have advanced. What these people are doing is really commendable. Instead of setting up a brewpub, they decided to put back into work the original brewhouse, that

Monday Musings

Peklo na talíři (Hell on a plate) is an internet "TV" show that reviews products sold by supermarket chains, trying to raise awareness about the rubbish we buy and the tricks used to sell it. The topic of this episode (sorry, I can't embed it) is cheap wines and, as usual, the host has invited a renown authority on the matter, who will, as announced, blind taste eight samples. After going through them, the expert explains that the wines belong to the "entry level" category and, among other things, mentions something very interesting, the key about wine is personal preferences and expectations. Taking this into account, this good man picks two wines saying that they are good for what they are, simple, clean and "work like wine", he also says that they are fine to mix with soda or a summer cocktail. I didn't bother to read the comments, but I can imagine the reaction of some connoisseurs (or people who fancy themselves as such) after seeing

Let's talk about what's important

Let's talk about "Premium Beer". Why are some beers "Premium" while others aren't'? How can we define "Premium"? Is it a matter of ingredients? Is proper "Premium Beer" made with 100% malted barley o are natural ingredients like rice and corn also allowed? And if so, is there a limit in how much of the can be used? Isn't the use of these adjuncts maybe mandatory? Can rice and corn be used to give character to a "Premium Beer" or should they be used only to cut down costs? Is there a maximum or minimum production volume for "Premium Beer"? Does this limit apply to each batch or annual production? How about processes? Can a beer be "Premium" if it's not filtered and pasteurised? Is "Premium Beer" allowed to "evolve" or is it better to mummify it in a bottle or can? And is the can a worthy container of "Premium Beer"? Is "Premium Beer" a prerogative of big b