20 Aug 2014

Lovely beer day with the family


Last Saturday I took the family (or rather, the missus, because she didn't want to take the bus, drove us) to Únětický Posvícení at the local brewery (where else?).

We arrived shortly before two and, even though the weather didn't look too promising, there were already a lot of people—both the patio and the restaurant were full, the only place with still plenty of free seats was the old stables, which have been recently turned into a taproom and where the main part of the event would be taking place.

After procuring ourselves with grub and booze, I talked a bit with Štěpán and Lucie Tkadlec, the couple who are running the brewery. They told me a bit more about the renovations on the main building, which include changing the roof and, more interesting still, giving the building its original looks back, which, if this picture is anything to go by, will look great. I also talked a bit with the Brew Master, Vladimír Černohorský, always a great pleasure.

By the time a barrel took the stage, literally, the stable was full. The village's alderman gave the official start to the day's festivities. After a few words and a bit of singing, the barrel was tapped—it looked the ones we took to Bavaria–and everyone got a pint. As in previous years, Posvícenské Pivo is an 11.5º Amber Rye Lager that I was very much looking forward to drinking.

A bit (two or three pints) later my wife took Nela to see the theatre performance for children in the brewery's attic. I stayed behind, talking to some people, but not for long. At the insistence of Černohorský I joined the Posvicenský Pochod, which would take us first to the memorial to the young men who died in that idiocy of imperial proportions that was WWI, and later to the chapel of Jan Nepomucký (St. John of Nepomuk), where the keg we were carrying on an ancient looking wooden cart was tapped.

The chapel is located in a very nice spot overlooking the village. Unfortunately, it's not in the best of shapes—quite neglected, with the walls inside covered in graffiti—but there's little the village can do about it as the chapel still belongs to the Catholic Church. However, they were able to restore the column and the statue of the saint by a large tree, opposite the chapel.

We stayed there a bit longer, sipping our beers, in the now very pleasant weather. When the keg dried up—which didn't take too long—most of the party left. I was enjoying myself a lot and decided to stay until the march went back to the brewery.

As we resumed our way, the assistant brewer was told to go fetch some bottles to drink at the next stop, the local cemetery, where something really cool happened.

We were standing by the cemetery's chapel, next to an apparently unmarked grave. It's headstone had long since disappeared, replaced by a large rosebush. The alderman was telling us that the grave had belonged to the local Fielder family and that, according to the records he had consulted, it was the resting place of one of the last brew-masters of Únětický Pivovar before it was closed after WWII, though he admitted that, without the headstone, he couldn't be 100% sure. Until the sun came out from behind a cloud revealing, almost as if by magic, the name Fiedlerový carved on the stone lid of the grave, which nobody had noticed.

We drank to the memory of that man and went back to the brewery. All feeling really good about ourselves and what we had seen.

Back in the brewery I joined my family again, and there was a lot more drinking, friends and fun. We danced to the tunes of a pretty good cover band and stayed until 9 in the evening or so. It was really a great day.

One of the many things I like about Únětický Pivovar is the way it has become a part of the life of the village. It goes beyond marketing wisdom, Štěpán and Lucie live there and are themselves part of the community. They want their business to prosper, of course, but they also want the village they live to be a better place for everyone.

Na Zdraví!

What about the beer, you say? Gorgeous! A true beauty. Nuanced, but with character; it doesn't need to scream in your face to get your attention, without demanding more attention than you are willing to give, it's almost impossible to get tired of it. In fact, with the exception of the desítka I had when we arrived, it was the only beer I drank for the whole day (Wow! Being at a beer related event and sticking to only beer for the whole day, who would have thought you could do that?).

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