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Showing posts from January, 2016

Sleep well, Ležák is safe

The general public can sigh in relief. Those evil bureaucrats won't be messing with their cultural identity. At the same time, local geeks and brewers can sleep well in the knowledge that Czech beer nomenclature won't be the object of international mockery once the new legislation comes into force. The most contentious issue of the proposed amendment to Regulation no. 335/1997 Coll. of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic has been settled with a compromise. It is been agreed that Ležák will remain as a category, but only reserved to bottom fermented beers, as Perun and Praotec Čech intended, while all the rest will be indicated as Plné Pivo —always for beers of 11 to 12.9° Plato At last Tuesday's press conference, representatives of the Czech Association of Micro Breweries (Českomoravský svaz minipivovarů - ČMSMP) explained that this, and the other changes, will more accurately reflect the current picture of the local beer market, adding that, in order t

The Tram Beer Challenge (2): I.P. Pavlova - Újezd - Chotkový Sady

There's a tram at the stop (I.P. Pavlova, in case you missed the first instalment ). I could catch it, but I'm no Bruce Springsteen—I wasn't born to run. And there's no need, anyway; any tram would do. It doesn't take long for one to come, the 22 to the centre. I'm trying to figure out where I'll have to get off, but I can't quite remember whether there is a stop between Karlovo nám. and Národní tř. There is. Újezd is my destination, then. I know where I'll drink my next beer. Kampárium was one of the new places I wanted to check out for the 2nd edition of the Pisshead's Pub Guide. I didn't make it in the end; I'm not sure why—laziness, probably. Good to have an excuse to see what this pub is like, and drink some Polička in the process. Other than the staff, it's empty. Both servers greet me with a wide smile when they see me coming in and going down the stairs, as if they were happy to finally see someone who will take them ou

The Tram Beer Challenge (1): Karlovo nám.- Perunova - I.P. Pavlova

So here I am, crossing the street to the Karlovo nám.–Moraň tram stop, eager to start the Tram Beer Challenge . The trees and roofs are still clinging to the snow that fell earlier in the week, as if they were relishing in the feeling of it, unwilling to let it go. Soon, however, the snow will turn into what many Czechs unlovingly, and accurately, call sračka . In the meantime, I'm enjoying it—when was the last time it snowed like this? Last winter? I'm not sure, nor am I about the previous one. I don't have to wait, I see a tram coming just when I step on the pavement: the 10 to Sídliště Ďáblice. I count the stops; I will have to get off at Perunova. Bugger! I know all the pubs there, they're in the guide (and those that aren't, aren't worth a visit). Wait! There's this one. It's a bit further than I'd like, but I haven't got much of a choice, have I? As I start walking down Chorvatská, I realise that this may not have been a very bright

About Those Changes in Czech Beer Regulations

Czech beer regulations are set to be updated. Most of the changes, however, are in nomenclature; though not all of it is pointless. Once the amendment comes into force, the category  Speciál will be called Silné Pivo . It does make a bit of sense, maybe; a beer doesn't need to be higher than 13° to be “special”, and there is nothing special about many beers bigger than 13°. Though, whether a beer with an ABV just north of 5% can be considered strong is another question. Porter as a legal category will be scrapped. The is the one change I fully agree with. Right now, a brewer who wants to make something like Fuller's London Porter could technically speaking get in trouble because the beer isn't 18° or higher. Not anymore. (I just wonder how long it will take for a beer geek to come out of the woodwork, shouting that Pardubický Pivovar must change the name of its Porter because it is not an Ale). The most contentious issue in the proposed amendment—at least for the l

World Beer Idol, as it happend (well sort of)

I was at Hradčanská on a cold Saturday morning, early enough to make me question some of my life's choices, waiting for the minibus that would take me and the other judges to Zichovecký pivovar , and I still wasn't sure what to expect from World Beer Idol , my first experience judging a beer competition. Would I be up to the task? Would it all be as serious as I feared? The trip to Zichovec was pretty uneventful; I spent most of it talking to Chris Baerwaldt, from Pivovar Zhůřák , and we got to the brewery, the stage of the competition, at about 9. It didn't take too long for the thing to get properly started. Jakub Veselý, the organiser, divided the judges in three groups. Mine was quite multinational: two Czechs, a French, an Australian, a Yank and me. We were given the score sheets and told how we should fill them in. We were to rate each beer according to appearance (15 points), aroma (30 points), flavour and mouthfeel (30 points) and brewing style (25 points). I

Presenting: The Tram Beer Challenge

I mentioned it the other day , but I want to explain this new project in more detail. The starting point will be the Karlovo nám.–Moraň tram stop, where the most lines go through. I will take the first tram coming from either direction and will get off at the sixth stop. There, I will find a pub, have a couple of beers and maybe some food, and go back to the stop I god off at, where I will take tram coming from either direction and will get off, this time, at the fourth stop, where I will find a pub, etc., etc. The procedure will be repeated, always starting from the last stop I got off at, until I can't be arsed any longer. Originally, the legs were going to be 10 stops each, but I thought it would make the trips unnecessarily long, so I cut it to six stops one way and four, the other; eliminating the risk of going back too soon where I started, or swinging endlessly between two stops. Since I won't know where I'll be going, there will no point in doing any research

Guess what I'm up to this Saturday

For all those who follow this blog, my opinion about beer competitions* will be a well known fact; that's why I was a little surprised when a bit over two months ago, Jakub Veselý, of Pivo Falkon fame, asked me if I wanted to be one of the judges of a new international beer competition he's putting together. I agreed without giving it a second thought. I enjoy having new beer experiences as much as the next beer geek, and this one will also give me a chance to see what competitions are really, first hand. The first edition of World Beer Idol takes place this Saturday, 9/1, at Zichovecky pivovar . It's very conventional: there are over three dozen categories that cover Lagers, Ales, Weizens, Porters and Stouts, Sours, and even Nealko and Radler; the samples, sent by the breweries, will be evaluated in blind tastings, with a session in the morning and another in the afternoon. Judges have been asked which categories we feel fit to evaluate objectively. I marked a bunch