25 Aug 2014

A day out with a mate


I had been planning it for awhile, the first non-work related beer day trip since who knows when. I had studied train schedules and connections, including different alternatives for the return leg, opening times, addresses, maps. It didn't even bother me that, because I didn't want to get back home too late to make dinner, I was forced to downsize the trip from three to two breweries. I was still excited. I'd even found a friend to come with me, making the thing even more fun.

We had arranged to meet Tuesday last week at Hlavní Nádraží at 10. Our train to Zadní Třebaň was leaving 10:20, and the trip would take a bit over half and hour.

It was an uneventful ride on one of those City Elephant trains (they are really cool!) that we mostly spent catching up—I hadn't seen my mate for more than a year. We arrived in Zadní Třebaň on time, but when we got off the train I realised I was a bit disoriented. I wasn't sure where Pivovar Bobr and Hostinec U Mlýna—where the brewery has a tap—were in relation to the station. I tried asking a couple of people, even the cute girl at the ticket office, but they weren't locals. After cursing myself for not having printed the map, I chose to go left, but I wouldn't be sure we were going the right way until I asked a woman playing with her child in her garden.

Not that it was of much use, really. The place was closed. A blackboard at the pub's beer garden (quite good looking, BTW) said that the on Mondays and Tuesdays the place opened at 15. Fuck them! The website said it opened at 10! You can't trust anyone these days.

But we were two men on a mission and, with God as our witness, we were not going back to the train station without a beer in our bellies! Fortunately, we weren't far from a pub—we had seen a sign pointing to one just around the corner.

It was in a camp site—Kemp Ostrov—and looked quite nice, and equally dead. In fact, it looked it hadn't opened for the day yet. But it was, or so two štamgasty assured us. They turned out to be quite friendly, and without the tapster anywhere in sight, one of them, seeing how thirsty we must have looked, got up and poured us our beer.

Country Hospoda is, by all means, a multi-brand pub. They have Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus 10º, Staropramen Nefiltrované and Svijanský Máz. We chose Máz (I didn't expect PU to be too fresh there, and I don't like the other two) and went to sit outside.

I've never liked Máz too much, even when Svijany was my favourite brewery, but I must say that it tasted really nice that day. Maybe the capacity expansion at the brewery sorted out some quality issues, or it was a case of the “where factor”—the day was gorgeous, and we were in a very nice, and very quiet place.

Neither of us would have minded staying for another round, but we had to leave after just one. With all the talking, and the slow pace of the place, we had drunk our beers unusually slowly (at least as far as I'm concerned). Our train was leaving in ten or so minutes and, if we missed it we would have to wait to hours for the next one. We had enjoyed the pub and the beer, but not really THAT much.

The train was already at the station. It was one of those old, red, diesel single carriage ones that look like a bus. It was a fairly pleasant ride through, fields, meadows and forests, in what by all accounts appeared to be a very remote area of Central Bohemia, with the train sometimes stopping at slabs of concrete seemingly randomly placed by the tracks.

It took only 22 minutes to get to Všeradice, although it felt longer, but in a strangely pleasant way. This time we didn't have any trouble finding our way to brewery we wanted to visit from the (boarded up) station—there was a very visible sign indicating to get to Zámecký Dvůr Všeradice in no time.

After our disappointment in Zadní Třebaň, the one thing that kept on bothering me was that his place would be closed, too. Seeing construction works right by the gate to the Chateau complex didn't make me feel better. Fortunately, it's only one of the buildings that is still being renovated, and the restaurant was indeed open.

If you asked me, the tennis courts that take most of the courtyard look as out of place as a stripper at a toddler's birthday party, but it should be said that the owners have done a really good job with the restaurant inside. It's located in the old stables, barely decorated, all painted in white, with high, vaulted ceilings—it feels almost like being into Husite church—the bar in one end, right by the entrance, and the brewery in the other. Unlike almost all other brewpubs, or, rather in this case, a brewstaurant (let's see if this word catches up), the brewhouse of Pivovar Všeradice is not part of the room in a way that you can touch it, nor it is out of sight, in another part of the building, but it's in a box-like structure, with only a window that gives a view to the brewing gear.

Not surprisingly for a Tuesday early in the afternoon, the place was woefully empty, but we didn't mind it, really. And we minded it even less when we got our beers. They had four on tap: Světlá and Polotmavá 11°, Světlá 13°, and Polotmavá 14°.

With time on our side now, I decided I would work up my way through the taps, and started with the Světlá 11°. What a gorgeous beer! A true beauty! It had everything a proper Světlý Ležák should have*, and then some—a jedenáctka with swagger, one that would make anyone claiming that pale lagers are bland and boring swallow their teeth in one kick.

The Polotmavá 11° and Světlá 13°, though to me not as impressive as the previous one, were still excellent beers in their own right. The former reminded me of a Landbier, or perhaps a Kellerbier, or two, without actually trying to be one. The latter was basically like its 11º sibling, but with the hops more subdued by a slightly beefed up malt profile.

I had only one beer left to drink, the Polotmavá 14º. For some reason, I was expecting it to follow the same pattern as the two Světlé. Instead, my palate was hit with a sockful of hops. It was the house's IPA, of course. I just didn't think they had it on tap that day because the waiter didn't mention it by name. Not that it mattered, it was delicious, just as I remembered it, and a perfect way to cap the session.

The reputation of Pivovar Všeradice is more than well deserved. All four beers tasted clean and very well made, something that, as far as new breweries is concerned, sometimes feels like getting closer to an exception than a rule.

The ride back to Prague was a bit more eventful. We took the bus-looking train to Lochovice, where we could catch the express train to Prague coming from České Budějovice, at 15:20. It had a 15 minute delay, and we didn't mind one bit; the weather was still beautiful and we were not in a hurry (and we had beer). In the end, we made it to Prague by five, as my plan had intended.

Mission accomplished, it was a very fine day.

Na Zdraví!

Pivovar BobrHostinec U Mlýna
N49°55'10.702'', E14°12'33.994''
U Mlýna 8 – Zadní Třebaň

Country hospoda "Na Ostrově"
N 49°55.25573', E 14°12.52732'
Ahí en Zadní Třebaň
kempostrov@gmail.com – +420 777 150 241

Pivovar Všeradice
N 49°52.39472', E 14°6.65623'
restaurace@zamecky-dvur.cz – +607 724 091
Sun-Thu: 10-22, Fri-Sat: 10-24

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