26 Aug 2013

Pivovar Hostivař, a lazy review


So, I finally made it to Pivovar Hostivař. Ever since its opening in April (I think it was) I had heard very good comments about it, but I was put off by its seemingly remote location, but the other day I was left with a couple of hours to kill in my hands and decided I would put them to good use.

Getting there turned out to be easier, and in a way, faster, than I had thought. There are buses from Skálka that take you there (and there's one, the 175, from Florenc, which must take half day), but I was in Vršovice and I chose to take tram 22 all the way to the end at Nádraží Hostivař and then take the bus (125 or 183) a couple of stops to Řepčická. Easy peasy japanese.

The brewpub can be seen from the stop, it's hard to miss. Unlike most Czech brewpubs and micro breweries, Pivovar Hostivař was not set up in an existing facility, but built from scratch. It looks a bit like a wooden box with one window in the corner showcasing the stainless steel brewhouse. I'm not much of a sucker for modern architecture (or what mostly passes for modern architecture in Prague), but I must say that I like what they've done here, the building fits perfectly in the surroundings.

Modernity continues in the interiors, but fortunately, without any of the faux-retro stuff of the Pilsner Urquell restaurants or the the almost McDonald's style of Potrefená Husa, but something very personal. Two of the walls are windows and there's an impressive mural depicting the brewing process made of crown caps covering another. It's all strangely welcoming. There's also a large garden that promises to be great place once the plane trees grow a bit and the kids' playground is added.

Service was very good; quick, attentive, friendly. Food., on the other hand was a bit disappointing. I only picked something from the limited lunch specials, smoked pork neck with spinach and potato knedlíky. It wasn't bad, just almost cafeteria-like bland; I was expecting more. Perhaps I should have ordered something from the rather interesting looking menu.

But what brings you to a brewpub is the beers, and Pivovar Hostivař gets those right. Their 11º does everything what a proper světlý ležák should do, no more, no less and I'm very, very fine with that. Their 12º is an excellent polotmavé, with a dandelion flower note managing to get herbal bitterness and caramel coated nuts to work together in harmony. The special beer that day was a Weizen, which was also the weakest of the lot. Just like the food, it was perfectly drinkable, but a bit too characterless for my taste. The H-Ale capped the session. Lately, I've become a bit weary of Czech made “Ejly” (I've got a piece on that in the pipeline), but this one turned out to be the of the kind that gives me hope for the future. It wasn't too aromatic, but it tasted clean and packed a lot of flavour in a solid, almost matron-like body, with a perfectly balanced hoppyness that, if my memory doesn't betray me, swung between the flower and the pine. Not very sessionable at 15º, perhaps, but a nice way to put an end to an evening (or in my case, an afternoon).

I also talked to one of the owners, who was doing management duties (we had met during that trip to Franconia two years ago). He came over to my table after he recognised me* and we had a bit of a talk (he also showed me around the brewery proper, nice gear they have), but that's something I'll leave for another post.

So the big question, is Pivovar Hostivař worth the trip? Yes, if you have the time, certainly. There was a lot of attention to detail put into the enterprise as a whole and that includes the beers, which, in this day an age with two new micros opening every month, is something that deserves a fair bit of praise.

Na Zdraví!

Pivovar Hostivař
50°2'46.940"N, 14°32'56.636"E
Lochotínská 656 - Praga-Hostivař
+420 702 202 903 - info@pivovar-hostivar.cz
Mon-Sun: 11-23

*As a policy, and unless I'm going somewhere expressly “on business”, I do not call or write to a place to let them know I'll be visiting them. Firstly, because I don't think I am that well known and secondly, because even if I was, I don't think I deserve any special treatment. That said, I'm always happy to talk to anyone that happens to recognise me. And yes, I happily paid my bill here like every other mortal.

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