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Showing posts from 2015

2015 - The Least Productive Year

This year has been the blog's least productive, by far. I'm not lamenting it, much less apologising. I've very busy with my job—fortunately, even if sometimes it was a bit too much—and with the book, which was far from an easy task, but well worth it—I'm proud of it and it's selling pretty well. The other, maybe more important, reason why I've been writing so little is that I feel I've run out of things to say about beer. I've lost count of how many posts I started, only to abort them after a few sentences because I realised I was repeating myself—“again this? Sod it! I'll browse Reddit instead”. In fact, I feel the whole beer discourse is repeating itself (and probably has been doing so for a while already). I can't understand, for instance, why so many people are still getting their pants in such a twist every time an independent brewing company is sold to a bigger one; it happens in pretty much every industry where economies of scale play a

Just killing time

Yesterday afternoon, I had a couple of hours to kill between a tasting I hosted at Vinohradský Pivovar for Prague Beer Garden and the opening of Bad Flash Bar , the new place of Zlý Hanz and Kulový Líbor, which gave me a good excuse to check out this pub that'd opened recently, 20 Píp Craft Pub , hoping that it will be at least better than its name. This is the kind of place that a few years ago I would have run to as soon as possible, after becoming aware of its existence. Now, though, places like this—with more or less taps—are almost a dime a dozen, but I was still curious to see if 20 Píp was bringing something new to the game. Unfortunately, I can't give you an opinion on that. I did go to the place, yes, and it looks nice, welcoming, and small enough to make me question the wisdom of having so many taps. There weren't many people when I arrived shortly after 5—only an older couple drinking coffee and two blokes chatting with the tapster at the bar. I sat at

Four pints watching the telly in Kladno

TVs at pubs. I'm not their biggest fan. I can tolerate them when when they're set in mute—you can ignore images a lot better than sounds, and most the sounds coming out of the telly, at least the stuff they put on at pubs, is the acoustic equivalent of the effect food poisoning has has on your bowels—but only barely. And yet, there are times when a TV on, even with sound, can be a force for good. The last place a visited for the second edition of Prague: A Pisshead's Pub Guide was Starokladenský Pivovar . It was a chilly, rainy afternoon in early October; I hadn't been there for at least four years, nor had I seen their beers in Prague, at least not at the pubs I frequent, or that I had been to while doing the fieldwork for the book, and I was curious. The place hadn't changed much, or at least not significantly. There were few patrons at that time, and most were drinking Gambrinus, I think. I sat at the bar and ordered the house's desítka, fantastic! Abso

Why it is OK to say "Their Beer Sucks"...

… If that is what you think. The way I see it, when you bought that beer, you also earned the right to express your honest opinion about it in any way, with any words and through any channels you see fit; whatever that opinion might be. There are people, though, who disagree, like this bloke here . Fortunately, he isn't nearly as ludicrous as to believe that beer is a privilege and not a birthright , but still. He gives several reasons why you should never say 'Their Beer Sucks' , let's see what they are: It's biased I don't quite get where he's going with this. It seems to come from the objectivity delusion most reviewers suffer from. And shouldn't that apply also to "Their Beer is Great", or that opinion is never biased? Whatever. He explains it saying that Even though you may think that a beer isn’t good, there are most likely others out there that do like that particular beer. So? They are free to disagree with my assessment, as

REJOICE! REJOICE! For the Day has Come!

YEAH, MADAFUKA! The second edition of Prague: A Pisshead's Pub Guide is out, and you can already order your copy or dowload the e-book version here here in . It took longer and was more work than I thought it'd be, but it was worth it; I'm happy with the result. I believe this edition is better than the previous one—though you'll be the judge of that. It is bigger, that's for sure. It has 17 pub crawls and one separate section that cover over 130 pubs, cafés, restaurants and brewpubs of all shapes, sizes and colours. The hand-drawn maps are back, of course. This time, though, I wanted to make them more functional and made them available on-line. They don't look as pretty but, if you have a Google account, you can do stuff with them here . If you don't have a Google account, you can still see and print them. This is not a comprehensive, let alone a “Best of...” sort of guide. It's totally subjective and the reasons pubs were chosen ar

Major Update

I can happily announce that I have completed the biggest, hardest but most fun part of the project “Prague: A Pisshead's Pub Guide - 2nd edition” : writing the blessed thing. It has 16 pub crawls and a few sections, and in total it covers over 130 pubs, cafés and restaurants from all over the city and beyond. Granted, a few days behind schedule—partly because I decided that the last chapter would an epic 11-pub crawl written in0 a sort of short story style—and there are still a few lines that need to be written. But I can now get started with the more tedious part of editing and putting everything together, including the pictures, and turn a bunch of text files into a book. I don't know how long it'll take me to complete that. It'll depend on work, you know, the one that pays the bills (and the beer); that always takes top priority; unless there's someone willing to buy a few hundred copies in advance, so I can dedicate myself full-time to the task. Anyway, j

A Measure Rant

Beers served in 0.4 l portions aren't anything new. Flekovský, Sv. Norbert, Staropramen Granát, Velvet and Kelt (when it was around), and Ferdinand Sedm Kulí have always been available on that size, only. But it seems that recently, this plague has multiplied. None of the three newest brewpubs in Old Town, U Tří růží, Národní and U Dobřenských, serve any of their beers in a full, adult portion of half litre. There are also pubs like Pivo a Párek and Pivní Rozmanitost that are now selling some beers in 0.4l sizes, and even bigger companies like Plzeňský Prazdroj and Pivovary Lobkowicz have got on the game. I don't like it, at all. When I think of točené (or, to speak correctly, čepované) pivo, I picture a half-litre glass or mug (or a 0.3 l one, for those rare occasions that I want a malé pivo), so a 0.4l serving gives me the sensation that I'm being short-changed. I know it’s only a sensation, it's not true (though if you can buy at Vojanův dvůr a half-litre of a

Vladimír Černohorský, an Obituary.

I'll never forget how I first met Vladimír Černohorský. Pavel Borowiec, Chief Editor of Pivo, Bier & Ale had asked me to meet him at Pivovar U Valšů. The brewpub had recently changed owners and had hired Černohorský to put their brewing shit together. I arrived at about the agreed time, and went downstairs. There I was greeted by two geezers sitting at a table next to the brerwhouse. The older one defiantly asked me what I was doing there. After I told him, he stood up, pulled a pocked knife and said something threatening. It didn't scare me, but amused me, and this old man responded with a huge, honest smile. He told me to take a sit, and get a beer, while I waited for my colleague, who should be arriving any time. We met again some days later on a trip to the Annafest. There I learnt who Vladimír Černohorský was, one of the most respected and admired Brew Masters in the Czech Republic; and that he'd been in the field for over half a century. That was enough

Beer Hike

My wife and daughter are on holidays in Greece. They left on Monday last week, and I've been alone since; I couldn't join them because of passport issues. I worked most of the time until Thursday (field-work for the book and writing two chapters, and some translations) and I took Friday off. I wanted to do something I'd been thinking of for a while, a hike from Únětice to Stromovka, stopping at every place that sold beer along the way. Here you have the day's diary, and a lot of photos. I take the 10:18 bus to Černý Vůl. The hike starts there, with a walk, mostly in the woods, to Únětice The hike starts here It's not 11 yet when arrive at the brewery. The pub's still closed. I go around to make a couple of pics. The building with the renovated façade looks fantastic. They've done a good job restoring the facade I break my fast with a house's 10º. It's followed by a 12º and lunch, pork in a creamy mushroom sauce, with knedlíky. Carbs

The Proper Glass

There are still fools out there who insist that each beer style has its proper glass. They're liars! All of them, without exception. The proper glass to properly taste any beer is this Anything else is a compromise. Na Zdraví!