Last week I was guiding a small group of Norwegians and, after a really good lunch at U Slovanské Lípy, we stopped for a pint at Pivovar Victor. It was my first visit since my review in January, which can be summarised, good service - decent beer - awful food.
When we arrived the place was empty and we were very much welcome by the bloke at the bar, who's pretty friendly. From the three beers they had that day we chose Kouřované (smoked). It didn't look good, the liquid in the glass, rather than beer, looked like something someone had scooped from the muddy banks of the Vltava after a storm, what was curious was that it had hardly any smell at all. As I expected, it was undrinkable, it tasted as if it had everything that could possibly go wrong in a beer thrown together.
I called the Výčepní and told him that the beer was off. Without any problem, he took all the glasses away and promised to bring fresh ones, the only excuse he gave was that it was an "alive beer" and that those things happen. Once at the bar he said it'd take him a bit to bring the new beers because had to tap a new keg and needed to flush the lines first.
From a fresh keg, the beer was now something else, nice amber with a shade of ochre, clean looking and I must say, very tasty, very good beer.
And yet, I didn't leave the place very happy.
The way this man handled the situation deserves praise, yes. I've been at places where they give you a funny look when you tell them a beer is duff, but this bloke took it very well and apologised repeatedly. So far so good. But Victor is an effing brewpub! A place like Zlý Časy could give you the excuse that they got unlucky with a keg, or something, but Victor? Who can they blame if the only beer they sell is the one they make themselves? (and that "alive beer" thing is nothing but a mountain of obnoxious bollocks, really). Isn't there anyone in that company that can be arsed with doing some basic quality control? ¡They only have three taps for fuck's sakes! That smoked beer was unpresentable. This wasn't a case of a mild contamination or oxidation, just by looking at it was clear that the beer wasn't well. That beer shouldn't have left the bar.
This is not the first time that something like this happened to me. It happened two years ago in Žatec, and in one of my visits to Pivovar Beznoska for my review for the Prague Post, one of the beers was already on the limit of the acceptable. Neither am I the only one who's been through this sort of situaion, Pivníci have come across the same problem more than once and so have Pivní Recenze. It's something really hard to understand and it's borderline stupid. The beer is what makes every brewpub unique, it's the place's main attractive (if not the only one); it's what makes some people willing to travel across a whole town, or even a whole country. I find it really unacceptable that a place where beers are supposed to be at their freshest will serve something stale. If they don't give the beers they make in their own premises the respect they deserve, what can one expect from the rest of what they sell?
Really, please, get your fucking shit together!