Yesterday I spent the whole day in Pilsen, on assignment. Part of that assignment was a visit to Na Spilce, the restaurant at the Pilsner Urquell brewery, where I would have to eat and drink on someone else's account (I know, hard work, but someone has to do it). The place was quite full, or rather, all the tables that were not reserved were taken* so I had to wait a little.
Eventually, one freed and right after I'd been given the menu, a man came and asked if he could sit. We started the usual small talk (full place, lunch break, etc.) and he didn't need more than a few words to notice that I'm a foreigner, which is followed by the almost mandatory question “odkud jsi/jste” (where are you from?).
I've lost count of how many times my nationality has been an ice-breaker, and this one was no exception. Soon we were talking about what brought me here to the Czech Rep. (the beer and the women, of course), what I was doing there at that pub and our jobs. When I told him that, among other things, I'm a beer writer, he was very interested. It turned out that in the village where he lives someone has just finished setting up a brewery and has made some beer already, which has beer lagering for some time, but has no name yet (for some reason, I like that – let's take care of the product first, and then we'll see about the branding), and this bloke would swear it's really good.
We passed the rest of the time talking about beer and pubs, almost like two old friends, and before we parted we exchanged telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. My new friend promised to pass my contact information to his neighbour so I could get to know him and his still nameless brewery.
You don't get that writing tasting notes at home, do you?
*I've no problem with reservations, it's something that I use often myself, but I was in Na Spilce for almost one hour and during that time nobody came any of those reserved tables. At most pubs I know, they will let you sit at a reserved table as long as you assure them you'll be done by the time table was reserved for, but I guess that at places like Na Spilce they don't bother to ask what time the party will be coming.