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A Tale of Nice Weather and a Couple of Dodgy Beers

The weather was nice and I was in a good mood, the kind of good mood that makes you want to go for a walk, which is exactly what I did after taking care of an errand in Vysočany.

My goal, as I strolled along Park Podviní, was to have a cheap lunch with Svijany at U Rokytky, but before that I thought it’d be good to stop for a quick one at Pivovar Kolčavka.

Lately I’d heard several people slagging this brewpub. I hadn’t been there for awhile, at least a year, but their beers, though never memorable, had always been on the good side of average, in particular their 11° Světlý Ležák, which had had never disappointed. Until today.

When I walked in and headed to the bar, a waitress/tapstress was juggling three mugs under the tap of Jedenátcka, which was foaming more than the mouth of a rabid dog chewing a bar of soap. By virtue of standing there and watching her, I got the first mug to be filled at an adequate level, which I took outside.

The beer looked awful, or maybe trendy? It was as if by the end of primary fermentation it had said “I’m not longer a Světlý Ležák, from now on I identify as a NEIPA!” And the the owner (because it had to be the owner), perhaps fearing a PR backlash if they refused, chose to humour it and conditioned it accordingly. And it tasted even worse.

It’s not uncommon for microbreweries to rush some beers due to insufficient capacity, especially when the weather gets warmer. I can understand that, but not in the case of Kolčavka. If they do have capacity issues, maybe they shouldn’t make so many beers at the same time – there were five or six on tap that day, and at least three were Lagers – or maybe they shouldn’t supply at least two other pubs in town, and (I’ve heard also) Makro. To be fair, though, it’s entirely possible that I’m speaking out of my ass and that the problem with that beer was of another nature. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change the fact that the beer was rubbish.

Fortunately, lunch at U Rokytky was everything I had expected and the crystal clear Svijanská 12°, perfectly tapped from a tank, healed the damage the previous beer had inflicted on my soul.

The weather was still nice and I was still in a good mood, the kind of good mood that makes you feel mildly masochistic and, as I was – as lightly footed as I could – crossing Libeňský Most, I decided to drop by Pivovar Marina Holešovice, which I hadn’t visited since researching for the second edition of the guide.

Unlike at Kolčavka, I never had a good beer at Marina Holešovice, with the exception perhaps of the first visit not long after their opening. But three years had gone by and things may have improved.

The place still looks stunning; it’s truly impressive, enough to make me want to sit inside, at the bar, where I ordered the house’s Světlý Ležák.

This one at least looked right – almost clear, with a light haze; just like a nefiltrované pivo should look like. Although it tilted a little to the bland, there was nothing technically wrong as far as I could taste, and it would have been a competent beer if it hadn’t been for the execution. The sole waiter serving the entire place had grabbed the closest mug at hand and poured the beer without rinsing and chilling it with cold water. The result was a beer that warmed and lost its head too fast and by the end tasted like something that had been left on the bar for two hours. Of course, this poor bloke was alone and incredibly busy so he could be excused. Bollocks! No, I was the only client inside that pub and there were only two or three people outside.

Czech beer wisdom states that “Sládek pivo vaří, hospodský ho dělá.” And it’s true, there are countless examples of otherwise fine beers ruined by shoddy storage, handling, dispensing or a combination thereof. What is more infuriating in this case is that the person who brews the beer and the one that fucks it up work literally next to each other. To be honest, though, I wasn’t all that surprised, in fact, I considered myself lucky to some extent, at least this time I didn’t get rotten beer. In any case, it was a good reminder of why I don’t know anyone that can be arsed with this place.

Na Zdraví!

Pivovar Kolčavka
50°6'29.813"N, 14°28'56.827"E
Nad Kolčavkou 8 – Praha-Libeň
+420 736 735 685 – spravce@pivovarkolcavka.cz
Mon-Sun: 11-23

Restaurace U Rokytky
50°6'23.05"N, 14°28'30.857"E
Nám. Dr. Václava Holého 7 – Praha-Libeň
+420 284 828 818
Mon-Sat: 10-22, Sun: 12-22

Pivovar Marina Holešovice
50°6'21.808"N, 14°27'23.620"E
Jankovcova 12 – Praha-Holešovice
+420 220 571 183 – info@pivovarmarina.cz
Mon-Sun: 11-24
Trams: 1, 12, 25 – Maniny

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