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Showing posts from June, 2009

The missing piece

I had really liked most of the craft beers I'd had so far from Denmark and Norway and I still wanted to know the ones from the other Scandivanian Kingdom, Sweden. The only Swedish beers I had seen in my life were the ones sold at Ikea . But since everytime I go to that prison looking furniture megastore I end up in a bad mood and wanting to leave as fast as possible, I never bothered to stop and buy one (which might not be that bad, actually). Now, thanks to Gnoff , a fellow beer enthusiast from Sweden, this "problem" has been solved. He brought me nine samples from his native land. He was also kind enough not to tell me much about the beers. He said I could find all the necessary information in Rate Beer . You already know my position when it comes to looking for information on the internet before tasting a beer I don't know, and since all the labels were in Swedish, it was almost like a blind tasting. Fantastic! I started with the only "industrial" beer h

That's it, I've had enough.

Last year, when I tasted the then relatively new Estrella Damm Inèdit I gave it a possitive review. Although I didn't think the beer was anything to write home about, I liked it, and I liked the idea behind it even more. My heart started changing when the idiocies of Ferrán Adriá started . But I still had a soft spot for this beer and I even kind of stood up for it when The Beer Nut trashed it in his blog . Today that is something I regret doing. A few days ago, in the unfortunately very inactive discussion forum of Cerveceros Digitales , someone opened a new thread titled Estrella Damm Inèdit. The message contains the same old and tired bollocks about how unique this beer is, how Ferrán Adriá and his Sommeliers (cool name for a pop band) created it because they felt a beer that could pair with the best gastronomy with the utmost respect was needed. Something that really irritates me. We all already know that all beers that are properly made can be a perfect and very respectful p

News, truths and bollocks from Heineken

Those of you who know Czech and want to know a bit more about Czech beer should certainly visit . Not only thre is an updated list of all the breweries in the Czech Republic regardless of size, but also, on their home page, you will find the section "Monitoring pivních zpráv" (monitoring beer news). It is here where they other day I came across an interview with Jiří Daněk, one of the managers of Heineken.CZ . Mr Daněk says that Heineken won't buy Staropramen (at least not for now). Currently the company is restructuring. They want to finish with the consolitadion of all their breweries under one company, Krušovice .   When asked what effect is that going to have in the plans of the Dutch brewing concern to become #2 in the Czech market, Daněk admits that, although buying a brewing group would have been easier and faster, there is also the possibility of increasing the market share of the brands they now have. I must agree with this. When Heineken bought Dr


Some months ago I got my own domain and the URL of this blog changed from to . Back then I didn't consider this worth mentioning because Blogger would automatically redirect traffic to the new address without any intermediate step. However, I noticed that since a few days ago whenever someone clicks on or tipes the old address they are met by a kind of warning screen that could scare a few people before they accept going to the new address. That's why I would like to ask those of you who've been kind enough to link my blog from your websites to update the address. And also, if there is anyone who subscribed to the feeds before March this year, you will probably need to do it again if you haven't received any updates. Thanks and Na Zdraví!

And we could all win

A couple of months ago I wrote Evan Rail to see if he was free to have a bite. His answer was something like: "What if I buy you lunch at a nice place where you can have an unusual beer?". Since turning down such offer would have been impolite, I just asked him when and where we should meet. The moment he told me to meet him by Tančicí Dům (The Dancing House), one of my favourite buildings in Prague, I knew we would be going to Céleste , the restaurant that had just opened on the building's top floor. Evan was researching for an article he would write for the New York Times and a visit to this upscale restaurant was part of the assignment. After having a couple of beers at the bar that Céleste runs on the ground floor, we were told that we could go upstairs to the dining room. There we were greeted by the restaurant's Manager, who knew Evan and recognised me from the blog. We picked a table by one of the windows (this restaurant must have the best views in Prague)

Staropramen's future

Well, in the end it seems that Heineken won't be Pivovary Staropramen a.s.'s new onwer, so forget everything I said here (actually, I think you have forgotten already, but just in case). According to news reports, AB-InBev has put up for sale (or at least is very seriously considering doing so) their business units in Central Europe, the Czech one included, because they don't consider them strategically important and they need as much cash as possible to pay debt incurred when buying AB. It looks like 11 breweries in 6 countries will be sold as one package and, though there isn't anything official yet, the private equity firm CVC Partners are the ones who have shown the biggest interest. If this goes through, what will be the future of Staropramen? Several people have told me about how well the beer is being exported, it is rather well positioned in England, for example. That is, I'm sure, thanks to belonging to the biggest brewing group in the world. With them

A bit of madness

Yesterday I bottled the beer I brewed in honour of the birth of my daughter, which should happen in about a week. When I asked for help to design the recipe quite a few people wrote with some ideas. In the end, I didn't go for any of the suggestions, though I must say that it was Velky Al's that in some way inspired the recipe of "Porteña - Literally Red Weizen" , as I've decided to call this wheat beer with mint and strawberries. I had absolutely no clue about how I would brew that, and if it hadn't been for Jake, from Nothern Table , I would have sure made quite a few mistakes (more than the ones I'm sure I made, but well...). Thanks Jake! I wanted to brew something light, I used 1.5kg of 60% wheat and 40% pilsen malts for 7l of water. The mashing was the typical you would do for a weizen (or at least I think so). Things changed a bit at the boling. I used 10g of Saaz hops in pellets (50% less than what I normally use) and added 12g of fresh mint. I ad

What we learnt at Klášter

A couple of weeks ago Bohemian Beer Tours organised a very successful visit to Pivovar Klášter . When I wrote my post about it I promised I would tell you some of the things we learnt at the brewery, so here it goes... Pivovar Klášter was established in 1570 by Jiří Labounský on the grounds formerly occupied by a Cistercian monastery that was destroyed during the Hussite Wars. The brewery is pretty much on the same spot now, it was only moved next door in 1830 when the owner was Kristián z Valdštejn. According to what we were told, they use the same recipe of 1570, something I have my doubts about. Back then, most beers were top fermented wheat. However, there are historical records that show that bottom fermented barley beers, though not as common as today, weren't unkown in these lands. I guess we will have to give them the benefit of the doubt. What is indeed certain is that they still use the same water. It comes from their own underground sources and it has been certified a


For those, few, of you that still refuse to believe that beer can be perfectly compared with wine in terms of sophisticaton and, to a certain extent, mystique, I recommend you read this post in Ron Pattison's blog titled Barrel Aged Russian Stout . If you still haven't clicked on the link then, let me tell you that it is about Imperial Stouts that used to be brew on a one batch a year basis, matured in casked and then aged at least a year in bottles. There is a part mentions how weather conditions affect the cuality of eatch of the batches, just as it happens with wines. What are you waiting for? I am not going to reproduce the whole article! Actually, Pattison's blog should be a mandatory read for all beer lovers out there. Believe me, it is fascinating. Na Zdraví! 5 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

Welcome back

After a two year absence Pivovar Herold has started brewing a wheat beer again. In August last year the brewery changed owners. For almost a decade Pivovar Březnice had been owned by a company of American origin that focused mostly on the export market, giving little if any attention to the domestic one. The sharp fall in the value of the US Dollar against the Czech Koruna resulted in prices becoming uncompetitive and the yanks decided to pack their bags. Now the new owners are trying to recover the market that Herold lost. The return of Herold Pseničné was possible thanks to the head brewer who was able to talk his new bosses into allowing him to brew it again. I had tasted the beer just before it was discontinued, it was only once, I think, and I don't remember much about it, so I was really looking forward to drinking it again. Instead of reviewing it alone, I decided to do a comparative tasating with the other industrially produced domestic wheat beer, Primátor Weizen . Both

What? You didn't have enough?

If you either missed both of the beer orgies that took place last week, or for some reason you were left wanting more, don't worry, two more beer events are coming, both very closely related. Their scale is a lot smaller than those that have just finished, but that doesn't make them any less interesting. The first one is on Tuesday, June 9 at 5PM at Pivovarský Klub . It isn't a festival proper, but a session of beer and cheese pairings. The beer, of course, will be provided by the temple in Karlín, the cheese, but Cheesy a chain of really good shops specialised in, what else, cheese. Reservations only by phone at: +420 222 315 777 Pivovarský Klub Křižíkova 17°, Praha 8 - Karlín The second event will take place a few days later at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and its called "Objevte svět piva – pšeničná piva" (Discover the beer world - Wheat beers). It is organised by the beer portal Svět Piva , the same people that put together last year's Christmas Beer Fest

Czech Beer Festival 2009, a balance

The Czech Beer Festival 2009 finished yesterday. I only went once after all, the first day. I had planned to go during the weekend, but the was way too crappy to go all the way to Letňany. So these conclusions are based mostly on comments and e-mails I received and the conversations I had with people that were at the event. As in eveything there were posstive things and negative things, let's see: The possitive: - The beer list, much larger than last year, it was impressive. - Including micros. It showed that this year the organisers worked with people who know about beer. - The food offer. Also larger than last year. I liked the idea of each tent having their own menus. Quality, though, wasn't all that uniform and prices... well, I will get to them later. - The service. Once it did start working after the embarrasing first 90 minutes it was very good, though, as someone commented, it would have been nice to see how they coped with a full tent. The negative: - The venue. Horr