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Showing posts from April, 2014

Back to the Roots Reviews: Pivovar Bašta, Pivovar U Bulovky

No, I haven't forgotten. I've been around some of Prague's brewpubs and have a few reviews in the pipeline. Here's the first two of that bunch: Pivovar U Bulovky and Pivovar Bašta.

Basically, both these places are neighbourhood pubs that happen to make their own beer, but that is pretty much where the similarities end.

U Bulovky opened in 2004, back when the fingers of one hand was more than enough to count the city's brewpubs. It was the first to open out of the centre of town, very far from the tourist frequented areas and was, from day one, a stand-alone business, the creature of a Brew Master, Frantíšek Richter.

Bašta, on the other hand, opened in late 2007, right at the beginning of the current microbrewing boom, as an annex to an old school pub, U Bansethů. The owner is not a brewer, but someone who realised what a good business making your own beer can be.

Since then, Bašta has expanded with a couple more rooms (it has also gone non-smoking) and, more rec…

On the Piss in Bavaria - Part 4

What? You're thinking of reading this post without first having read part 1, part 2, and part 3? What sort of mad person are ya?

When we got to Hofbräuhaus Kristof called a friend of his to check if he was in town. It was Diego, an Italian who sells Auer-Bier at his pub in Verona, and an all around great bloke.

Diego is one of those larger than life characters with a seemingly endless supply of unbelievable (say that with an Italian accent) anecdotes that could make a palace guard on duty laugh. Despite being a foreigner who comes to Munich only every other weekend or so, it took him only six months to be accepted among the Stammich at Hofbräuhaus, and he now has his own earthenware Maß that he keeps in the cage-like locker reserved for the most loyal regulars of the beer hall.

The prospect of waiting maybe half an hour to get another Maß of that bureaucrat of a beer wasn't too appealing, and it was decided we'd go somewhere else – Hofbräuhaus is, in general, one of tho…

Good news, after all

I wasn't very much looking forward to April this year. Back in February I leant that my main beer supplier, Nápoje Charvát would be closing at the beginning of the month – some personal issues of the owner. When March was coming to an end and there was no news about someone who would carry one with the business, as was Mr. Charvát's wish, I started to worry. Loosing that bottle shop would be a real pain the ass to me as there's not a single one retailer in Prague that can match this nápojka in terms of brand diversity, price and convenience – we park nearby when we come to town by car, which gives me the possibility of buying beer by the case. And then came the sad news about Kaaba.

Although it's true that now in Prague there are plenty of nice spots to have a good early pint, to me, Kaaba wasn't so much about the beer as it was about the people I met there, and that would be very hard, if not impossible to replace.

But things have turned out well, after all.

Náp…

On the Piss in Bavaria - Part 3

Do not attempt to read this post without having read Part 1 and Part 2, or you will not understand a fucking thing.

Nature called way too early the following morning. The bloody cunt couldn't have waited another hour, could she? After attending the call (and opening the windows, I hope the cleaning lady was provided with a gas mask), I tried to go back to sleep, without success. I wouldn't say I had a hangover proper, I felt rather as if my stomach was still trying to figure out what to do with the previous night's dinner.

It was still too early to go down for breakfast, not that I was hungry, actually. I turned on the telly to help me pass the time, but without expecting much, and can't say I was disappointed.

I don't think German TV is a lot of fun even when you understand the language, so you can imagine what it is like when you don't. But I found CNN, and it made me wish I didn't understand English. Their coverage of the missing Malaysian plane was i…

Introducing the "Permon Standard"

I must confess that I wasn't very impressed with first warm fermented beers from Pivovar Permon, they weren't very good. But they've improved quite a bit since then. They are not going to knock anyone's socks off, they do their job quite well and at a more than reasonable price to boot, when compared to other similar beers made in the Czech Republic. This makes them ideal to use them as a benchmark, and that's how I've come up with the "Permon Standard", a bar to measure the české ejly in terms of price/quality.

To give you an example, Benediktin IPA, from Břevnovský Pivovar or Podlesní IPA, from Pivovar Podlesí, could be said to be AP (Above Permon): they are pretty much in the same price range, but I like them better. On the other hand, Rebel IPA from Havličkův Brod is BP (Below Permon), the pint I had the other day was at around the same price but didn't taste very good. The IPA and BIPA from Two Tales are also BP, but because of the price - I…

On the Piss in Bavaria - Part 2

You should read the first part before this one. I'm not joking.

With jolly bellies, we left Schneider-Weisse and headed headed to Essing, enjoying the gorgeous Bavarian countryside as we cruised along.
Essing is a pretty, small village, most of which can't be more than a couple hundred metres across, as it's crammed between a creek and a (limestone perhaps?) cliff.

The day was on full spring when we parked in front of the Brauereigasthof Schneider and we went straight to the deck in the back of the building. An idyllic setting, really. I picked the Bock of the house, which was a bit too thin flavoured for my taste, but I didn't care, I was like a pig in shit.
While we were sipping our beers and chatting, Líbor went to get something from the car and when he came back, he said he had bumped into the owner and brew master of Schneider Brauerei, who had agreed to show us around his brewery.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the one with had left about an hour before…

The Session #86: Beer Journalism

This month's edition of The Session has Beer Hobo asking:
What role do beer writers play in the culture and growth of craft beer? Are we advocates, critics, or storytellers? What stories are not getting told and what ones would you like to never hear about again? What’s your beer media diet? i.e. what publications/blogs/sites do you read to learn about industry? Are all beer journalists subhumans? Is beer journalism a tepid affair and/or a moribund endeavor? And if so, what can be done about it? I'll answer the first two questions:

The first one: I don't know why beer writers should limit themselves to one brand, in this case, "Craft Beer", and why are we expected to play any role in its growth or culture, we aren't supposed to be PR.

The second one: too much fanboyism, not enough criticism (though that is getting better), and even less storytelling; but to each writer is free to write what they feel like, I don't have to read it, if I don't like it.…

On the Piss in Bavaria - Part 1

The story of how I joined Líbor, the owner of Kulový Blesk and importer of Schneider-Weisse and Au-Hallertau, and Štěpán and Mírek, director and business rep. of Únětický Pivovar respectively, starts last year in September.

My wife had taken the weekend off, leaving me with our daughter. What is a responsible parent supposed to do to entertain a very energetic 4 y.o. child? Well, go to a bloody brewery, of course! So we took the bus to Únětice, my daughter jumping with joy.

There were visitors that day at Únětický Pivovar: the owner, the director and the brewers of Schlossbrauerei Au-Hallertau, who had come with a barrel of their Weissbier.

The pub was pretty full when we arrived and we were invited to seat at the table with the Bavarians, who turned out to be really cool people, and with Líbor, who, it should be said, is a top bloke. We had a great afternoon, the “Auers” invited me to visit their brewery and I told Líbor I would him in Spring in one of his regular trips there. T…