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Showing posts from September, 2013

The death of the hospoda or the beginning of a golden age?

So, I was going to write something about alternative beers and capitalism (no joke), but Alan's wondering about the discounts Wal-Mart will have on craft beer got me thinking about something that was on several news outlets last week, Czechs are drinking more beer at home than at pubs. Contrary to what the linked iDnes article says, this is nothing new, but a trend that started in 2010, when bottled beer outsold draft for the first time (that year, overall production of beer in the Czech Republic had dropped by 7.9%). Although I still believe the impact of demographic changes, people and companies moving to the peripheries of large towns, which resulted in many being forced to commute by car, has been more significant than given credit for, it'd be silly to deny that the crisis, or in this country largely the perception thereof, has played a major role. But regardless of the reasons, people are indeed spending less at pubs and restaurants, and some may have even shifted

Friday observations

I like it when I see criticism. I see it as something positive and necessary in the beer discourse, I'd even go as far as to say that it's key if we expect to get the respect we deserve as consumers. However, in order to serve that purpose, criticism, even more than praise, must be well argued and informed, and, above all, it must be fair and clear. And that's why I believe that the other day, Jardín del Lúpulo had a bit of a cock-up in their criticism of a beer festival they attended . On the one hand, they mentioned a few shortcomings, a couple of which turned out to be not such. And on the other, they made what in my opinion is the grave error of putting everyone in the same sack when they said that at the festival they had found: duff kegs that were not changed when pointed out, beers that were sold even though they needed another month of aging, beers that had not met the expectation of the producers themselves, infected beers, “experimental” beers... Later, the

A few cultural words

Stan Hieronymus, in his contribution to the latest Session, pondered on the meaning of Beer Culture . I had wondered about that myself about a year ago, when when discussing tastings . I was going to write a long rant on the matter, but I realised I'd be repeating myself as I've discussed the topic before ( more than once , actually), but there are still a couple of things that I think are worth mentioning (assuming there are any sort of things worth mentioning to begin with). “Drinking socially” while sitting alone in front of a computer, smart phone or tablet, doing all the online routine of photo-social site-rating/review is to beer culture what cybersex is to shagging. I can be fun, I'm sure, but you still finish alone, washing yourself in the bathroom with no one to cuddle. (On a side note, doing the cyberbeer routine while being with people, or taking tasting notes at a festival or a pub is even worse. That's like watching internet porn when the woman/man

A day with Heineken/Starobrno

I must confess that when they first called me I wasn't all that sure if I should accept Heineken 's invitation to a press trip to Brno last Wednesday, partly because I was afraid I'd have to put up with more marketing and PR empty words than most people should be forced to put up with. But then I said, fuck it, they hadn't done any of that at either of the the other two PR events , why should it be any different this time ? (besides, and let's be honest, I fancied that enjoying some corporate largesse wouldn’t be too bad). I'm glad I accepted the invitation, not only because the marketinisms and PRisms were kept at acceptable and reasonable levels, but also, and mainly, because I had a great day, and a fairly educational one, too. The day would be really packed, so we had to leave awfully early. I travelled with three other journalists and two people from the agency that handles Heineken's PR, who would be our guides. We were offered beer and snacks sh

Are you around next weekend?

So, you've got a plan already. Sat. 14/9 is the tenth edition of  Černokosteleckého Vykulení at Černokostelecký Pivovar , which is very similar in nature to another great beer event, Vysmolení . Though, as you can see in the image above, the beer list is much larger than the event in May, there'll still be beers tapped in different ways straight from freshly lined wooden barrels, including a couple of Germans, plus a Czech Porter that's been lagering in Catalonian red wine barrels since March, I believe. I can't imagine a better excuse for not missing it.  Na Zdraví! PD: Buses to Kostelec nad Černými Lesy leave every hour from Háje (381, 387) and take 45min to get there.

Monday morning rant

When I came across this article in Food Republic “8 Simple Steps: How To Not Be A Dick While Drinking Beer” I thought it'd be another piss-taking on the beer snobs. I was wrong, very wrong; the article could be summarised as “if you criticise the holy craft beer loudly, your are a dick and a few bits of common sense and manners”. To be fair, the author of the article, Jon Katz, does make a couple of valid points. It's a shame that they are drowned by the sort of craftoevangelist bullshit that I wish had been eradicated of the beer discourse already. It becomes quite painful to read, to be honest. What prompted the author to write this piece was, in his own words, reading “a comment left by an unsatisfied beer drinker on a favorite brewery’s Facebook page .” Unfortunately, the comment isn't quoted or linked, so we don't know what the author really means by passive aggressive, but it seems that what shocked him the most was that a beer from this brewery - one tha