9 Dec 2014

Noteless: Jaws Beer Tomahawk.lgr

I've got these two beers from my Russian friend Jegor (it's funny how we met, at the Svijany Pivní Slavnosti in 2007, where we exchanged a few words, and now we get together for a couple of pints whenever he comes to Prague). They are from Jaws, a micro-brewery from Ekaterimburg, the best in the area, according to him.

The other day, I opened the one on the right, Tomahawk, mainly because, other than the ABV % and, I assume, the Plato, there was no other information on the label—or rather, nothing I could understand, as it was all written in Russian—and I think drinking a beer you have hardly any information about can be a lot of fun.

Yeah, I know. I could have looked it up on the internet. But really, why bother? I didn't want to generate any unnecessary expectations, I had the beer in my hand already, it had been a present and I was going to drink it one way or another, so I thought it'd be better to do it unburdened by data.

I took a glass out of the cupboard, but then I said “sod it”, and picked my favourite earthenware mug—as far as I'm concerned, the best vessel for pretty much any kind of beer, and don't try to argue, because you're wrong.

I'd expected the beer to be dark—why would they've used a black label otherwise—and it was, and pretty much so, if the latte-coloured head is any indication.

At first, almost mindlessly... No, that's not the word. Instinctively, that's it, I tried to fit a style into the beer, which can also be quite fun—is it...? No, that's not true to the beer. Is it perhaps...? Not quite, but we could give it a silver medal, or whatever. But that lasted, what, two, three sips, max. Once I'd determined it was a very well-made and so far pretty good beer, it was ready to get into the more pleasant business of drinking—raise, tilt, sip, enjoy, repeat—while my mind got busy doing other, more important things. And yet, my attention would be grabbed a couple more times before the mug had emptied, as if the beer wanted to point at how awfully wrong Randy Mosher was the other day.

There's so much more fun, pleasure and joy in being a discerning drinker than a taster.

Na Zdraví!

PS: “The Art of Tasting”? Really? You've gotta be fucking joking...

3 Dec 2014

3 Brief Reviews of 3 New Places

(Well, one of them isn't that new, actually)

I've been to three places that many people have been talking about. Last week I was at BeerGeek and Dno Pytle, a week earlier, to Vinohradský Pivovar

BeerGeek, a spin-off of what many consider to be the best Pivotéka in Prague, opened in mid October, I think, and became an instant hit among the local beer intelligentsia. In many ways, it's what Zubatý Pes was 3 years ago (and still is), only that BeerGeek has the advantage of arriving in a far more mature market, at a far better address and with much nicer premises. I liked the place a lot more than photos I had seen had made me think I would (even if I still think those LCDs for the beer list are objectively ugly), and I felt quite comfortable right away—the bar looks great, as does the window to the cool-box with kegs and bottles. I'm not sure whether 30 taps aren't a few too many for a place that is not particularly big, but all the beers I had* were in good condition (if a bit too gassy in a couple of cases), and the people behind this pub clearly know what they are doing, and they also want to do it well, and for that they deserve success. Let's hope they can get the kitchen up and running soon, at least with some basic snacks.

Dno Pytle opened at the beginning of the year, and I wanted to visit it ever since I learnt they were specialised in gravity dispensed beers from Germany, and I'm a sucker for gravity dispensed beers from Germany, or anywhere else for that matter. After several frustrated plans drop by, I finally made it there on a “fuck-it-why-not” whim, while still at BeerGeek. It is very probable that I was a tiny bit pissed when I got to Dno Pytle, and I only saw the upstairs, and I still loved it! I was having a pint, talking to the owner on duty—they are two—about their “concept”, their plans—so far they've been tapping gravity dispensed beers only a couple of times a week, now, with new storage facilities, they want to do it every day— and other beery things, when he agreed to tap a barrel of something that must have been a Dopplebock, it tasted great, but nearly floored me (it was my 10th pint of the day, with an almost empty stomach), but I don't regret any of it. Like at BeerGeek, the people behind this pub know what they are doing and are determined to do it well; they also deserve success.

I wish I could give as much praise to Vinohradský Pivovar. Although it opened in October, it would take another month or so for their own beer to be ready. I went there for a quick lunch a few days after they tapped the first batch of Vinohradsky Ležák. Normally, I would wait at least a month before even thinking of going to a new brewpub or buying something from a new micro, but this one has pedigree—Franta Richter is the head brewer. Let's start with the good. The place, though not my style, looks really good, and the view to the 25hl copper brewhouse is gorgeous, service and food were both very good, the beer, on the other hand, wasn't. A fine blend of clove and burnt cable, that's how I can describe the not very intense, but still very unpleasant note of that beer, and there've been other people who felt the same. On their FB page, Vinohradský Pivovar explained that it was from their test batch, which doesn't make me any happier. Let's hope that whatever cock-up happened there will be sorted out for the next batches.

That's it, no more to say. Drink on.

Na Zdraví!

BeerGeek Bar
50.0770831N, 14.4500106E
Vinohradská 62 – Praha-Vinohrady
+420 775 260 871
Mon-Sun: 15-02
Metro A, Tram: 11, 13 – Jiřího z Poděbrad

Dno Pytle
50.0729339N, 14.4234533E
Kateřinská 10 – Praha 2-Nové Město
+420 773 028 326
Mon-Fri: 14-23, Sat-Sun: 17-00
Tram: 4, 10, 16, 22 – Štěpánská; Bus: 291 – Větrov

Vinohradský Pivovar
50.0752981N, 14.4576075E
Korunní 106 – Praha-Vinohrady
+420 222 760 080 – rezervace@vinohradskypivovar.cz
Mon-Sun: 11-24
Tram: 10, 16; Bus: 136, 175 – Orionka

*I didn't pay for my beers at BeerGeek, I drank them during an interview with Munchies