28 Dec 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 big role, why would the brewing industry be any different? Ah! Yeah, the fairytale.

On a side note, and since I'm on topic. To all those brewery owners and executives that take the pulpit every time a sale is announced: shut the fuck up already! Really. When I was nine or ten, my mum took me and my sister to buy trainers. I really wanted the Bjorn Borg tennis shoes—they were all the rage at the time—but they didn't have my size. They had my sister's, who tried them on and said she wanted them. My response was telling her that she was stupid; that those trainers weren't for girls, but for boys; that she would be made fun of; that she could not have those trainers. Those brewery owners and executives remind me of that. Whether they do it because they're butthurt they aren't getting the trainers they want, or because they hope their tantrum will result in nicer, more expensive, trainers, I can't tell, but they're beginning to look pretty pathetic.

And for the sake of fairness. To all those owners who've recently sold their brewing companies. You also shut the fuck up. That “the beer is not going to change” bollocks; nobody believes it, not even yourselves. It will change, if it serves the purpose of the new owners, and there's little, if anything, you can do about it; whether that change will be for the better or the worse will depend on whom you ask. Incidentally, I read an article not long ago (and I wish I could be arsed with looking for it) that said some breweries are tweaking the recipes of their core IPAs to make them relevant again (and I believe you know what I mean by that). Those beers are also changing because it serves the purpose of their owners; whether that change is for the better or the worse will depend on whom you ask.

But enough with the ranting. This post is not about ranting, is about navel-gazing.

As I was saying, the beer discourse has become too repetitive, and I've lost interest in it. I've decided to focus on what does affects me as a consumer—my own beer ecosystem and experience. What people are arguing about in the US, the UK, Spain or Scandinavia is of no concert to me, not enough to bother to comment on it here. That's why I have Facebook for.

There's this project I've been thinking of for awhile and I want to make it happen in 2016, maybe with someone else. I will announce it properly once I have a few things worked out. I will also start a new series that will involve visiting random pubs. It'll be very simple: at a yet to be chosen tram stop, I'll get on the first tram (or bus) that comes in either direction, will get off at the 10th stop and will walk into the first pub I come across, preferably one that is not in the book already. Who knows, I might end up finding a lost treasure, or not; at the very least, it will be fun, which is what I want.

There are a couple more things, but you'll see; in any case, don't expect 2016 to be a lot more productive.

But well, happy new year to everyone!

Na Zdraví!

16 Dec 2015

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 a table near the door and picked the beer list on the table. 'KINHELL! Those prices! IIRC, the cheapest beer on the list was 58CZK a half litre, and not Matuška, Clock or Falkon, but for Cvíkov 14° (which is far from being the most expensive brand on the market).

I picked up my stuff and left, without ordering anything. I don't remember having done that, ever, at least not at a place I wanted to visit, but I'm not willing to support that kind of business model, not when Prague, and Vinohrady, is nowadays full of places offering good, interesting beer at more reasonable prices.

But if you feel rich and want to check it out, go, and let me know what you think. In any case, I wish success to the owners of 20 Píp—I've no reason not to. Maybe they'll manage to find their audience, I won't be part of it, I reckon.

Na Zdraví!

20 Píp Craft Pub
50°4'33.743"N, 14°26'16.392"E
Slezská 1 – Prague-Vinohrady
+420 605 000 866
Mon-Sun: 15-01

PS: I ended up in Dno Pytle, which I don't regret, at all. I also had a good time at the opening of Bad Flash Bar, by the way. Lots of known faces, it's a pity I couldn't stay longer. I wish those two pajeros success, they've done a nice job with the place.