There’s no better way to kill a few hours in Prague than going on a beer run. That was the case last Thursday when I decided to check out Pivovar Na Lochkově, which had opened about a year ago.
After having taken care of a couple of errands, I went to Na Knížecí to get the 120 to Lochkov. It was a pleasant half hour ride through some parts of Prague I haven’t explored yet (I spotted a couple of interesting pubs, btw).
Lochkov is one of those countless villages that Prague gobbled up sometime last century, and it seems to have been spared the overdevelopment of similar localities. Though very near the SW section of Pražský Okruh, it’s still very surrounded by fields and small patches of forest. Having lived the first three decades of my life in a city where you have to drive for well more than an hour to see anything resembling countryside, going through fields after a few minutes by bus from the centre is something that never ceases to fascinate me.
The brewpub is almost around the corner from the bus stop, opposite an old, abandoned brewery that seems to have been quite big. I arrive shortly after opening time. The waitress is still making photos of the lunch menu to be posted on FB, for sure, and there’s only one other client; though more will be arriving soon.
The place is quite modern and not too big. It has walls with what looks to be fake exposed bricks and there are a lot of straight lines and other details that remind me a little too much to Potrefená Husa or a bar at an airport. The only thing that makes it somewhat welcoming are the large windows that make the front. You can see the brewhouse (5 hl, I reckon, and quite good looking) from them, in one corner, behind the bar, which isn’t very long. To the left of the bar is the kitchen. I take a table opposite the bar. The plush bench along the wall is really soft and when I sit the table ends up being a tad too high.
The service is flawless. My order for food and pivo is taken as soon as I've made myself comfortable. The food, holandský řizek with potatoes and a salad does the job. The portion is generous. I’ve had worse for 120 CZK.
But what's brought me here is the beer. I don’t remember seeing any references to Pivovar Na Lochkově since their opening, at least not in the last few months, so I don't know what to expect. There are three beers on tap: a Světlá 11°, a Polotmavá 13°, and the Ipička. I begin with the Pale Lager, of course.
It wasn’t good. It smelled heavy of honey flavouring and little else. It reminded me to what the owner of another microbrewery said while he was showing us the shop: that they have to add caramelised malts to their Světlý Ležák because Pilsner Urquell has made people expect a darker Pale Lager. Bollocks. Some of the best beers in the style are really pale and nobody seems to mind. If only that had been the only problem with this 11°. It tasted as if diacetyl and phenols were fighting over the mouthfeel while the hops wanked in a corner. It was the food that made it drinkable.
Needless to say, my expectations for the next beer, the Polotmavá 13°, weren’t high. It looked mahogany, almost like a Dunkles, and it was delicious! Bit of wood and nuts, with enough caramel to balance it, and a breath of floral hops in the finish. I really loved it, and decided that this beer alone had made the trip worth it.
I had time for one more before taking the bus, and it would have to be a small one. What the fuck. Let’s get the Ipička. It was crap. A couple of years ago, ČIPEs (Český India Pejl Ejl) were quite yeasty and unfinished. They seem to have evolved to something cleaner that smells like cheap cheese. I’ve noticed this feature in too many of these beers lately, including Bernard’s and last month’s Prazdroj’s (though to a lesser extent). It’s horrible! This one was also had hardly anything to balance the harshness of what I suspect are old, oxidised hops . Why do they bother? Or rather, why do I bother. I should know better by now.
Pivovar Na Lochkově has a few things going on for it. I don’t regret the trip and, if I could get some assurance of consistency, I wouldn’t mind going back just for the Polotmavá 13°.
Pivovar Na Lochkově
Ke Slivenci 36 – Praha-Lochkov
+420 257 212 378 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bus: 120 to Lochkov