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Showing posts from September, 2014

The Answer

You are at a pub (or a beer bar, or whatever, you know what I mean). You're not alone, you're with a bunch of people. You aren't there for a tasting or any other beer-focused thing, you're there simply to hang out with those people, and that place was chosen because everybody liked it enough, or whatever. You order a beer, it's not the first of the day, maybe not even the first of that session; and it's a beer you've drunk already several times, though you don't drink it too often. There's nothing in that beer that makes you look forward to it any more than you look forward to any other good beer you know. You ordered it for the sole reason that at that where and when you fancied drinking something like that. You get the beer, you thank the person that brought it to you with a nod, and you carry on with the conversation your were having, or listening to the story one of your friends was telling, whatever. The glass of beer you've just got is

Musings on the bus back home

Last weekend I was hired for the daunting task of taking a group of 22 Swedes out for beer. Nice gig, can't complain. We went first to Pivovar U Tří Řůží , where I had arranged a tasting of all the six beers they had on tap that day. It worked out pretty well. I introduced each of the beers (which were all really, really good), answered the questions some of the people in the group asked about them, and about brewing in general, while the rest mostly talked about what they were tasting. Everyone was satisfied. With the tasting behind us, we took the tram to Klášterní Pivovar Strahov , where we were to have dinner. We had two, long tables with benches (I love long tables with benches, they should be mandatory at every pub) in a room we would have to share with two other groups, bigger than ours—one of people in their fifties, the other, of students. Fortunately, we were the first to arrive, and we could order the food and the first round before the other two groups showed up.

A Casual Lunch

The other day, some business that I had to take care of took me to Braník, more precisely, near the place where Zemský Pivovar will have their brewery (and a fuckton of work ahead of them). I think it was the first time ever I was around that neighbourhood, and once I finished with what I had to do, and with time in my hands, I decided I'd do what I always do in such situations, wander about. It was a very fine day for walking, even walking uphill, and that part of Braník turned out to be a pretty nice and very quiet residential neighbourhood, though one lacking in pubs (I only walked past one that didn't look too inviting). Feeling increasingly thirsty, I followed my feet downhill to end up in Podolí, in front of a place called Pivovarská Restaurace Dvorce (my feet are the best guides I need). The name sounded familiar, and after standing there for a full minute, I remembered I had seen it mentioned a couple of times in The pub taps beers from both of Richte

A recipe to celebrate the arrival of Autumn

A couple of weeks ago, as we drove to the Farmers' Market in Dejvice, I asked my daughter what she wanted for dinner. Duck, she said (ain't that the best daughter in the world?). For some reason I've now forgotten, roasting a whole bird was out of the question that day. Fortunately, one of the stands was selling duck breasts that day and I bought three. While I sipped a beer at the market, after finishing with the shopping, I though about how I would cook them. This is what I came up with. You'll need: Duck breasts (obviously), deboned 250-300ml of good Pale Lager (any pale would work, I think, even an IPA!) 2-3 (depending on thickness) Tbsp red currant jam, or whateverberry jam 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and diced 1 medium sized onion, coarsely chopped Sage, savoury, marjoram 1 tsp cinnamon salt, pepper Put a deep pan to heat until it reaches a temperature of are-you-mad-you-want-to-burn-down-the-house degrees, and put the already seasoned breasts ski

This is perhaps my last word in "Craft Beer"

A couple of weeks ago Alan and I got an e-mail from Stan saying that, in a moment of weakness, he'd agreed to write a piece about the phrase "craft beer" asking us if we believed that the phrase, or the concept created an "us vs them" mentaility. The following is what I wrote back to Stan a couple of days later (with some minor editing), which are, I believe, my final thoughts on this whole craft beer bollocks: First of all, I don't see “craft beer” as a concept, but as a brand, one that's basically in the public domain. As any other brand, it has a series of—more or less fanciful—positive attributes associated to it, which have made it a very successful and valuable brand, with a pretty loyal consumer base—people who, in many cases, don't drink Russian River, Stone or New Belgium, they drink Craft Beer. So far, so good. I've got nothing against that, quite the contrary. If using those two words can help a good brewer sell a few more hl, t

A short comment on Vykulení

What can I say that I didn't already say in May ? Because as I did say last week , Vykulení is basically the same as Vysomlení, but bigger, which means that it is a bloody great beer event, even if not as minimalist. The beers were really, really good—at least the ones that I bothered paying attention to. I know some people weren't big fans of the Smoked Porter, I loved it, and kudos to Jarín for sticking to his guns and making the beer he wants to make, the way he wants to make it, and doing it well, which is more than you can say about too many new breweries these days. Not in the case of last Saturday at Černokostelecký Pivovar, fortunately. Once again, the beers were really, really good—at least the ones that I bothered paying attention to, but even among those that I didn't pay attention to, I didn't find anything I disliked. Not that I drunk everything, mind you. The single malt beers, those were good. Nice, simple exercise. Three of them, one with Pilsner malts

See you this Saturday at Vykulení

I'm really looking forward to this Saturday! I'll be going to Vykulení at Černokostelecký Pivovar . Vykulení is quite similar to Vysmolení , but bigger, with more beers and breweries, including some imported ones (you can see the whole list here ) and with a focus on floor malts. Like at the sibling festival in May, there will be beers drawn from the wood in different ways, but also a few single malt beers brewed by the in-house Černokostelecký minipivovar Šnajdr . It all looks quite interesting, but, more importantly, I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun! See you there. Na Zdraví! PS: As in the previous occasions, I've been invited to spend the night in Kostelec. What a beauty it is to not have to worry about getting back home after a whole day on the piss!

The Straw Challenge

I don't quite subscribe to the theory (for lack of a better word) of the “right glass” for this or that style of beer. Firstly because sensory experiences can not be objectively evaluated or quantified (EDIT: outside of a controlled environment), and secondly because there are many other factors that contribute to the experience of drinking beer that the theory fails to take into account. But I don't want to argue about it. I believe we will all agree that beer is best enjoyed when drunk from a glass (well, I prefer an earthenware mug, but let's not argue about that, either). However, if you still have friends among the normal people—you know, people who don't give more than a fuck and a half about beer because, it's just beer—sooner or later you will face a situation where glasses (let alone the “right one”) won't be available. At best, there will be some plastic cups, but quite often not even that; and your only alternative will be to drink from the bottle o