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Showing posts from February, 2009

Well, look what I found in my files

All the hustle at the end of last year and the beginning of this one, almost made me forget about the selection of German beers that my friend from Chile Catador brought me when he came to Prague. I hadn't drunk German beers fo a long time. You can find a few in Prague, but most of them are not very interesting, so I was really happy when I saw how diverse the sample was. Catador lived a few months in Pforzheim , or somewhere around and, of course, brought me two of the local brews, Rothaus Pils and Ketterer Pilsnener . Pale lager-wise, I'm very pampered living in the Czech Republic. These two German Pils, though they had 5%ABV and surely around 12° Balling, where more similar to a run of the mill Czech desítka than to a ležák. They are not the same, I found Ketterer a bit more aromatic and with some more malt, but that's it. They are both fine to have a quick one on a hot day and go on with your things, just that. The other pale lager I got was Löwenbräu Urtyp . Nasty be

Ještě Jedno!

The second edition of Český Pivní Festival Praha has already been announced, it will take place between 22/5 and 31/5/2009, and it comes with several, and very important, changes. The venue: This year the festival will be held in Výstaviště PVA Letňany . To me, this is a change for the worse. I really liked last year's venue. It was really lovely to sit there, right next to Stromovka, surrounded by trees and a lot of green, it gave the festival a pretty nice atmosphere, besides, it was much closer to the centre. Though Letňany is right next to the namesake metro station, the area is really ugly, looks a bit like no man's land. But well, the organisers must have had their reasons. The rest of the changes, fortunately, are for the better: Official support: This year's edition has recieved the official sponsoring of Prague's Mayor. That should mean that the festival will be listed prominently among the many cultural activities that take place in the Czech capital. It woul

A dream come true

I believe it must be a dream of most beer lovers, to make money out of our favourite drink. I have finally realised it, or will once the payments get to my bank account. Yesterday (20/2/2009) I packed 840 bottles of beer (it was A LOT of work) that, together with as many others that were already packed in cardboard boxes, made our fist shipment (or should I say lorryment or truckment?) to Barcelona . Once there, they will be available at 2D2Dspuma , a bar and beer shop similar to Prague's Pivovarský Klub . This started some time last year, when I thought it could be a good idea to export some of the lesser known Czech beers to Spain. The plan was in the end left aside due to several reasons, only to be brought back to life when I met Filip Helán during my visit to Hradec Králové . Filip is the owner of the beer shop Pivoňka , and told me he had begun to export some beer to Poland, and had plans to do the same to Germany. I told him about my Spanish plans and we decided that we co

Good news

The moment I received Ian's SMS telling me that Pivovarský Dvůr Chýně has a pub in Prague couldn't have been more ironic. I was right there in Chýně with Velký Al and the head brewer of Everards, an important regional brewery in England. The plan was to have lunch at the Pivovarská Krčma, where else, but it was closed because of some technical problem. So we went to the restaurant, where there was no electricity, but still food and drinks were being served. We didn't have as good a time as I would have liked, the beers were not in their best shape and the service was awful, not that they were rude or tried to rip us off, the just ingored us. We sat there for more than one hour with empty glasses and neither of the servers ever bothered to ask if we wanted something, let along clear the glasses and the plates. We spent the rest of the afternoon at U Medvídku, where things worked much better. Just like Al says , it was very interesting to talk to a professional brewer and

Corporate Vikings

So far, most of the Norwegian beers I tasted were of the craft type, some of which I liked a lot. However, as it happens everywhere else, they aren't the beers most people drink. The Norwegian law that regulates the sale of alcoholic drinks seems to be tailor made for the macros. Only beers with a maximum ABV of 4,75% can be sold at shops and supermarkets, the rest (together with wines and spirits) can only be found at the bottle shops owned by the state. There are also restrictions on when beers can be purchased, and taxes on alcoholic drinks are incredibly high. All this, together with the considerable distances in Norway, put a lof of obstacles to craft brewers. It isn't strange, then, that the market is dominated by a couple of brewing concerns, and we all know what that means. My friend (and also fellow beer blogger) Kristian brought me five samples of industrial beers from his native country. One from Ringnes and the rest from Hansa , his local macro. Needless to say,

I know that it's old, but...

Browsing my image archives I found this the other day. It's a couple of years old, but still very current. Na Zdraví! Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

Marketing wonders

I'm not very keen on talking about beers I don't know, but this entry in Hipos Urinatum (SP) gave me some food for thought, so I will make an exception. Damm is a very important Spanish brewer, with a rather big product line, a couple of them quite interesting, like Voll Damm and Inèdit . The, I believe, latest product of the brewery is called Saaz . What a nice name for a lager! It's incredible that nobody had thought of it before (yeah, there is Pivovar Žatec, but it's not the same semantically). The name is not just a marketing whim, according to the brewery only the world famous hops from Western Bohemia are used in this beer. But before any of you goes running to buy some bottles of Saaz Damm, there are a couple of things that you should take into account, as a warning. Firstly, it comes in a white bottle; so far all light lagers (this one has 3.5%ABV) in white bottles that I've seen want to compete with Corona , and that is never a good sign. Secondly, thei

Acquired taste

A couple of months ago we had the great pleasure of being visited by our fellow beer bloggers Boak & Bailey , and together with Velký Al and Evan Rail we went for a few pints to Pivovarský Klub, then U Slovanské Lipy and we finished the evening at Zlý Časy . Our British friends didn't come empty handed, they brought me and Velký Al a bottle of Gose , which they had bought while in Liepzig (they brought Evan a Espresso Stout from England) Gose is one of those styles that I really wanted to taste, even though I really wasn't sure whether I would like it or not. But just knowing a bit of its history and, above all, the ingredients, would awake the curiosty of any serious beer geek. When Germany reunited the Reinheistgebot fundamentalist wanted to eliminate the style, something to be expected, after all, Gose beers are brewed nowadays with barley and wheat malts, hops, yeasts, salt and coriander, far from your usual brew. The Gose in question is Ritterguts (if my understandin

Ironic history

Braník will never be mentioned among the best of Czech brewing, quite the contrary. Today, the beer seems to be the favourite among lower income people that drink it straight from bottles at room temperature. But it wasn't always like that. You can still find people that remember it with love and a lot of nostalgia, specially the dark beer. But it's not really about the beers from Braník, past and present, what I wanted to talk, but about a coaster of Braník that I found the other day, or actually, about the text written on the back, which in Czech goes pretty much like this. "Braník Brewery was established in 1899 by brewers and publicans as a social brewery as defense against big breweries." Then it goes on with the usual marketing bollocks. What a bunch of idealists those brewers and publicans where. But history is cruel. Today Braník belongs to AB-InBev, and it's not much more than a cheaper version of Staropramen. The brewery was shut down a couple of years

The battle of the Exotic Stouts

Many of you might already know my attitude towards styles. I don't care all that much about them. I don't judge beers based on what style is written on the label, but on whether I like or not what I have in the glass. That said, It would be silly not to admit that they are useful when getting an idea of what expects you before opening a beer that you don't know. Stout is one of the most widespread and favourite styles the world over, partly thanks to the popularity of Guinness . Stouts are brewed from Argentina, to Japan (I guess). Of course that there are countries that are more identified with the style and Portugal, Norway and the Czech Rep. are not among them. Having a stout from each of those countries, I thought it would be fun to do a comparative tasting. Not to evaluate the stoutness of these beers, but to see how similar or different three beers from three completely different countries, all inspired by the same style, can be. I chose the tasting order with a lot o

Busy January

I had so much work las month! Which is not so bad, every penny is more than welcome right now. Although, on the other hand, lazy as I am, it was all a real pain in the ass. So I won't be boring you out of your skulls with long reviews of all the wonderful beers that I tasted, and will go straigh to the point. Four beers made it to "the final". Hukvaldy Polotmavý 14% , Žamberský Kanec Sametový Ale (Velvety Ale), Pivovarský Dum AIPA and Opat Vavřínový Ležák . The first one, a fantastic beer, with a lovely palette of flavours. The second one, really lives up to its name, I loved it. The third one I also loved, but I wasn't able to drink it in a full measure. The winner then is the fourth contender. Finally a flavoured beer from Opat that I liked from the first sip! This bay leaf lager not only has an intense aroma of the herb, but the herb is also felt in its flavour. Not a session beer by any means, but very interesting indeed. And if you want to read a fuller, and bet

Hidden Gem

The first time I heard of Baráčnická Rychta was after posting "Some serious beer hunting in Prague" (which, by the way, I should update a bit). A couple of readers left comments recommending this pub. It took my a whole year to finally be able to go and see what it was about. I don't go too often by Malá Strana, and this hospoda is so well hidden that I don't really think I would have found it just by chance, as it's happened with many others. It is in an alley very near the American embassy, metres from Nerudová, the most touristy street in the quarter. It doesn't announce itself with signs trying to bring foreign visitors, as many other restaurants around do, and that is something I like, more so if the beer they stock comes from Svijany . Having a bit too much time to kill one afternoon, and my camera in my backpack I headed there. It took me awhile to find it, I took the wrong alley off Nerudová coming down from the castle. I went all the way to the gate