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An Ideal Day

And we did go to the first Jihoměstské pivní slavnosti. How could we miss it, after all it was a perfect day for a beer event, gorgeous sunshine, but with a mild temperature of about 17°C that let you to sit in the sun without getting roasted.

The festival took place in a park right next to Opatov metro station, in the district of Prague 11, one of the ugliest parts of the city from the architectural point of view. Lately, the authorities have been trying to revitalise it and they want to prove that paneláky and sidliště can also be fine places to live. This festival was part of the project and they are planning to make it an annual event.

We arrived early but the atmosphere was already pretty lively. Just reading the board with the beer list made my mouth water. 11 varieties, all brewed by Master Richter, owner and brewmaster of Pivovar U Bulovky.With my wife we went straight to Summertime Tea Beer and Jarní Květ Medové Pivo (Spring flowers honey beer). Both exquisite. The medové with a strong aroma and taste of home made honey, without being sweet, a beer to drink slowly, and not only because of its strenght. The tea beer, on the other hand, had a very ligth body, it was refreshing with a dry finish akin to strong tea, curiously, it was of a pale gold colour, rather cloudy.We were also impressed by the food on offer. Apart from festival classics such as nakladaný hermelín (very good and in a big portion), uzená klobása (smoked sausage) and uzená krokovice (smoked neck of pork), both great and both smoked on site, there were some sweet delicacies with a very careful presentation. My wife went there like a guided missile and chose a small chocolate pie, that turned out to be a fantastically tasty bomb, as tasty as the home made bombons. The savoury stuff wasn't too shabby either, raclette cheese with lovely pickles, tenderloin of pork in beer sauce with roasted potatoes and more delights.I also met with several friends and made a couple new ones. Don Johnson (not the Miami Vice one) spent most of the afternoon with us, and right before we were leaving Evan Rail showed up, still very tired and still very happy after the birth of his first son. I was also able to meet the brew mistress of Kocour Vandorf, a very cute and friendly 20 y.o. girl, who happens to be brewing some of the most interesting beers to have hit the Czech market recently. But the most curious thing happened when a group of four young people came to our table and asked me if I was Pivní Filosof. They were my fans! They were two Irish boys, an (I think) Irish girl and a very quiet Spaniard. They had made it there after reading it in my blog. We chatted a bit about beer, they wanted to recommend them what to drink next and they even had a picture taken with me. I still can believe it!

There were also some organised activities. A historic fencing performance, keg throwing competition, mechanical bull competition, etc. All with the children and families in mind, actually, of which there were a lot.
In the meantime, beers kept on going down, including the star of the day, Bilinné pivo (herbal beer) tapped straight from an oak barrel, Klosch style. The beer was spectacular. Vanilla notes, some fruit and a lot of herbs. Another great summer beer. The other one I liked a lot was Weizen dopplebock 19°. Corpulent, yet at no point giving any hint of the amount of alcohol it had. Fruity, syrupy, but with a slightly acidic finish with clove and cinammon notes. Lovely to wrap up the day, after having the very good Jihoměsťán 11° (of a well deserved reputation) and the rest of the great beers created by Mr Richter: Weissbier 13°, Dunkles Weizen 13°, Polotmavé 11° and Světlý Ležák, all in fine shape.
Just that kind of ideal day.

PS:This post is dedicated to Jonáš, the newest member of the beer community. May his future be brighter than our present.Na Zdraví!!

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  1. Does indeed sounds perfect. Thing I find ironic about the archetypally "communist" panelky is that they were designed by Italians.

  2. For what I've heard, Italy and the ČSSR had very good relations, until the Normalisation, that is. Czechs could travel to Italy and Italians here.
    Anyway, what you say proves that origin doesn't guarantee quality. There is crap Czech beer, crap French wine and crap Italian design...:)

  3. I can confirm it was a fine afternoon on Saturday (it was me that reccommended Blanice for Klaster nefiltrovane). Unfortunately I wasn't feeling very hungry, so I never tried the food. Although in the end, the beer was enough anyway - my personal favourite was the cajove pivo (interesting flavour, nicely balanced). Can't wait till next year - or Plzen on Saturday. ;)

  4. Plzen promises to be a good one - only problem is how to get round every brewer in one day. Assuming each brewer brings at least 2 beers, that is 28 beers to try. I can cut that to 24 as I am staying in the hotel Friday and Saturday night, so Purkmistr will be my drink for Friday night.

  5. I feel your pain (or the pain you will feel the day after...). I've decided I will just drink beers I don't know (which will be plenty), though there are a couple of beauties I will want to have again, Kout and Stříbro among them...
    Seems there will be plenty of us out there on Saturday. GREAT!

  6. Seems im the only one who likes socialist architecture,unlike the UK, they do a decent job here and can be good places to live, small soviet cemetery there was interesting also.
    Yep, the Caj beer was gold alright, will make it to Plzen should the misses be in a good mood:)
    We were 1 english, 1 scot, 1 czech and 1 spanish, but Irish will suffice:)

  7. Ha! I guess my ear for accents is either rusty or was numbed after a few beers... Anyway, it was nice meeting you!
    I do believe that paneláky are fine places to live (some of them at least). They weren't built to house the lower classes as it was the case in most of western Europe. The idea behind it was a real social experiment. The biggest problem is that there was never much of a proper maintenance. Still, they are an eyesore...

  8. Two Scots in Plzen? Hope there's no Talisker aroudn or this could get messy! ;)

  9. My time at Purkmistr will be limited; I also want to go to the football match that's on in the evening. Also, me and my friend want to try the Prazdroj nefiltrovane in town before catching the bus back to Prague. But like you say, the trick is to go for the ones you don't know. As to the architecture: I spent a year or so in Ostrava, so I must admit I have a soft spot for panelaky. And I have some friends who live in them, and actually have rather nice flats...

  10. My first flat in Prague was a panelak - it was nothing special, but it had central heating, a decent kitchen, a balcony and a corner shop selling beer for 6kc a bottle - yes I have been here that long.

  11. I've never lived in a panelál myself, but know many people who do. Some of the flats are great inside. And I know of some people who would never live anywhere else.

  12. Oh! and you can still find beer for 6Kc a bottle, if you don't mind drinking Branik or Měsťán, that is:)
    iain, try to make it to Pilsen early, you can catch nefiltrované at Na Parkanu at 11AM. The festival starts at 12....


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