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Showing posts from August, 2008

Clear and cold truth

The other day, on the post Spreading the Gospel, someone left a comment complaining that I was disrespecting their tastes by implying that beers like Heineken are crap. I've got no problem with anyone's tastes, I don't judge people based on what they do or don't drink. I also didn't want to imply that Heineken is crap. I am 100% convinced that it is. But that's my opinion and you may or may not agree. But it isn't something capricious, it is based on irrefutable facts provided by Heineken themselves. Just like wines, beers have their right temperatures for drinking, which vary from type to type. In the case of lagers, most of them at least, (and Heineken is one of them), the right temperature for dispensing is between 6 and 8°C. It is there that the beer expresses itself best allowing the consumer to appreciate all its characteristics, for better or worse. Actually, Czech beer wisdom says that the right temperature is that of the seventh step going to the

La Ronda #3: A tasting for beginners

La Ronda is a community project of the beer blogs in Spanish that is inspired (if not an outright rip-off) of The Sessions, started by Stan Hieronymus and spread throughout the English beer blogosphere. This month, Delirium, from "De Cervezas y Otras Cosas" has proposed a very interesting topic that I thought it is worth sharing with my English speaking readers. The idea is to choose 5 to 8 beers to put together a tasting aimed mostly at people not very familiarised with the different kinds of beers available out there. There are a couple of catches, though. The beers shouldn't be from obscure craft breweries that can be got only once a year and the likes, but stuff that can be relatively easily found locally. It really gave me a lot of food for thought. It wasn't easy to put together a line-up. From the very beginning I decided that all the beers would be Czech. Not because I have anything against (good quality) imported ones, but because I believe that although bein

I'm glad I'm not Canadian....

Not because I have anything against the country of Canada or its people. My relief is a product of these writings on a can of Molson Canadian: "Only Molson Canadian has true Canadian taste. It comes from over 220 years of brewing experience, a unique cold brewing process and only the finest ingredients this land has to offer. The result is a premium lager that pleases the world's toughest beer critics - Canada's beer drinkers." What can you expect after reading such words? Not much, actually. Anyone with something other than air between their ears will realise that they are no more than marketing bollocks, of the populist kind. What comes out of the can doesn't disappoint (when there aren't expectations, there isn't disappointment). Molson Canadian is a non-beer, no distinctive taste, no character, no body; fortunately forgettable. I've had nealko piva better than it. As I've said, the fantasy written on the can can't be taken seriously. Howeve

Spreading the gospel

A few months ago we discussed Beerevangelism. Which is what many of us beer bloggers usually do. Thanks to my offices many of the people I know have discovered that Czech beer is not only Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus, and that there is a lot more and better to be discovered and drunk. And they weren't only foreigners, but also quite a few Czechs, among them some of my clients. A typical case of someone who has seen the light was that of one of our new neighbours. He and his girlfriend moved in a few weeks ago, and with my wife we paid them a visit to see how they were doing in their new house. They were tired, but happy. They had just finished working for the day. The offered us beer. "What do you have?", I asked. "Staropramen Ležák", he said. Before I could say anything my wife started laughing and told him that I didn't like that beer. Our neighbour said that it was very good, and that he liked it a lot and insisted that we take a bottle. Without any joy

Down there

Skanzen is too close to my favourite Pivovarský Klub, which many times makes me forget about it. It is a strange place. Pretty much opposite Florenc metro station and located in a very deep cellar (I never pay attention to my mobile while I'm dining, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't pick a signal down there). After going down a couple of floors by a stairway decorated with crude Czech comics, you will be facing a wall. On it there are signs pointing to the bar (right) and to the "sál" (left). The former is divided in a couple of areas by the bar. The furnishing looks cheap and not too comfortable, more appropriate for a garden than a cellar, the walls are also decorated with Czech comics as well as with interesting drawings and pictures (plus the almost mandatory array of junk and old bottles). The latter is is a pretty big room with tables and benches like those used at beer gardens, and dominated by a big screen where sports events and music videos are p

A corner hospoda

Literally and spiritually speaking. Šumavan, better known as Klášterní Pivnice, is located a few metres from an old favourite of mine, Svijanský Rytíř . It is small and divided in two rooms, at the entrance there are the taps and a couple of fruit machines, then there is the main room, with tired looking tables and chairs, yet still comfortable, it is also very nicely painted, olive green on the wood panelling of the walls, and terracotta for the rest. This gives it a very pleasant atmosphere when the sun goes through the windows in the morning. And I say in the morning because this hospda opens at 9.30, quite a rarity. And that is the time when I prefer going, it is almost empty and quiet and, better still, it is possible to breath, once the patrons start filling it, the place becomes a smoke cloud and your clothes and person acquire a bouquet reminiscent of a well aged ashtray. But before that happens this is a very pleasant hospoda for a late breakfast. They have a good choice of go

August, the Session Beer month

A couple of months ago we in the Spanish beer blogging community started our version of "The Sessions" called "La Ronda". Last month's was really interesting (if you read Spanish, you should go and check it out here ). Anyway, the conclusion we arrived after that Ronda was that we all like beer (actually, that was well known long before). But it turns out that, though it might not seem so, we don't drink just any kind of beer in any kind of place or situation, there are some beers that most of us prefer to drink when we are alone and with time, and others we prefer when we are with friends and getting noisier as the glass empty to be filled again to be once again emptied. This is the ideal environment for the session beers, which are those that we can drink in more or less considerable quantities with more or less controllable and tolerable consequences the day after. In their honour, we have decided to declare this month, August 2008, International Session

The Summer goes on

And it is still hot in Prague. Which makes it all the easier to drink beer, not that I have much trouble doing that in Winter, but there are certain brews that can be enjoyed better in a weather like this we are having. For example, Sezon from Pivovar Kocour Vandorf, which has been coming out with pretty interesting beers guided by its mastermind Honza Kočka and its young, but talented brew mistress. Sezon is of intense golden colour with a slightly acidic nose with yeasts, herbs and flower notes. It's hot a sily mouthfeel, that starts fruity but slowly becomes herbal and dry. Delicious for a hot summer day. Another lovely summer beer that caressed my palate was Harrach 12°, which I hadn't enjoyed for a very long time. It's got interesting contrasts, both in its bouquet (spice, sweet cream almost vanilla) and flavours (caramel, cream and an intense dry herbal finish). Wheat beers couldn't be absent in this torrid summer. Not in the numbers of last month, though there we

Ignoring the giant, well, almost (III)

First part Second part When I walked out of U Rytíře Lochoty I noticed that there was a bus stop right in front of the door. Both the 32 and the 40 could take me back to the centre. Brilliant. The 40 arrived shortly, and in less than fifteen minutes I was getting off at Pilsen's main square Nám. Republiky. It is a very nice square, really, with its impressive Gothic church and the beautiful (Neo?)Rennaisance building of the city hall. I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures. The camera was running out of battery and I wanted to save it for the important stuff. I located Rooseveltová, a street in the northeastern corner of the square, and followed it until going over a brige. From there I went to a parking lot that can be seen on the right. LOTR was behind it. Like Purkmistr, it is a hotel - restaurant - brewery. I walked around the building until I saw some tables outside, then I wen to through the first open door I saw, to the left of it there was a bar. I was a bit confused