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Showing posts from November, 2011

In praise of the bores

These days I've read more than one blog post quoting some people denouncing the "uniformity" of the German beer landscape, which reminded me that until not long ago I was saying more or less the same about the Czech one. Tandlemann spoke about Schönram , a rural Bavarian brewery owned by a yank, that specialises in Pale Ales, Porters, etc. A few days before, Stan Hieronymus presented TAP X , Schneider's new beer. Both cases are shown as proof of a slow change in the "boring" German beer market. Something similar, though in a bigger scale, is happening here. Pivovar Kocour , Matuška and others are becoming more and more specialised in "exotic" styles and, generally speaking, with very good results both in quality and sales. The relative success of these beers have motivated others to have a go at making "something different" and the other day it was announced that the recently privatised and rescued from a certain death Pivovar Výš

It's time to grow up

"Unlike industrial beers, the so called "craft beers" tend to be yeast soups of incredibly irregular quality. That could be because they are brewed by amateurs who use equipment that is a bit more than improvised. These self proclaimed "Brew Masters", be it due to their poor knowledge of the trade or their limited business vision, often sell clearly flawed beers and expect the consumer not only to pay a high price for them, but also to accept and even admire them because they are "craft" or "artisan". Can you imagine what would happen if someone published something like this? The author would be greeted by a barrage of heavy caliber insults fired by platoons of lovers of good beer. And it would be well deserved! That thing above is not only false, but also massively stupid. Not a lot more false and stupid, though, than the first paragraph of this article published in a Chilean beer site (SP): "The main difference between industrial

The magic of Lípy

Does any of you have a favourite pub in your town that for whatever reasons, that don't have to do with money, you don't go as often as you'd like? That is exactly what happens to me with U Slovanské Lípy . I love this pub, so much that for the IN Magazine's survey I put it on the second spot of my Top 10. The reason why I don't go that often is perhaps the opening hours. At 4PM I'm usually on my second or third pint somewhere else and don't feel very much like moving. Those who follow this blog for a longer time might remember that early last year Lípy closed , something that caused much sadness. Fortunately, it was only for a few weeks, a bunch of new people took over the place and has it running to this day. I don't know if it was their own choice or lack of resources, but whatever it is, I'm glad they've kept the small town dive decoration pretty much intact, only a few Rock'n'Roll touches here and there to give it an even better

A quick question

I've got a couple of topics going around my head, but I'm too lazy to sit down and write about them, so I thought I would ask a hypothetical just for the sake of it. If you had a brewery with a capacity of 3-5hl a batch, what sort of beer would you have as your "workhorse"* and which would be your "flagship" and why? That's it. Na Zdraví! *meaning here the beer that would sell the most by volume Travel to the Czech Republic and stay at the best Prague Hotels

Selected Readings: October

A bit late, I know, but still better than last month . Actually, I wouldn't say there was a lot (I was still quite bus) and much of the discourse was dominated by Oxford Companion to Beer , which generated a few heated debates. Martyn Cornell, after finding a few history mistakes in some bits he'd read, asked, a bit too vehemently perhaps, if the book wasn't a dreadful disaster (no wonder after all the work he's done trying to bring some light to the myths about the history of English brewing). Of course, the book's Chief Editor, Garret Oliver , wasn't too thrilled and said his bit in an interview he gave to Alan , which itself generated a few interesting comments. To me, however, the best review of this book was Barm's , who dissected it bit by bit and gave his opinion in a long, fair and fun to read post. Now, if any of you is interested about the opinion of someone who hasn't read the book yet, I think The Oxford Companion to Beer has been a

Off with the legend

"In 1838 the Burghers of Pilsen gathered in the town square and poured 36 barrels of beer into the drains [...] This uncharacteristic revolt was prompted by the various poor quality, unsavoury brews being offered up as beer." Thus is the tale about the pivotal event that prompted the good burghers and brewing rights holders of the city to set up the brewery that would eventually become Pilsner Urquell. It's a story I'm sure many of you have read more or less adorned in countless websites, blogs, magazine and book articles and even books. It's a story that I don't believe for a second. And not (just) because I took the above quote from The Book of Legends , in Pilsner Urquell's global website , neither because it's a little bit too convenient for the brand's discourse. There are other reasons. First of all, there's no precise date of the event, while we do know when the first batch of PU was tapped (5 October, or 11 November, or 25 February

A quick German question

Is there anyone who can explain me what "Vollbier" and "Landbier" are supposed to indicate? Are they legal categories like Märzen, Bock or Weizen (that many people seem wrongly consider them "styles") or are they something more arbitrary? And since I'm asking, is "Rauchbier" also a legal category when it comes to German beer? Well, more than one question, actually. Thanks in advance for your answers. Na Zdraví!

In the memory of the departed

Last Wednesday Sdružení Přátel Piva , announced their awards for this year at a party held at Pivovar Jihlava that once again I could attend, ach jo! I'm not going to discuss who won what, you can see it for yourselves in the link above. My only comment is that I believe it's about time wheat beers get their own category, there are plenty of them already on the market (some, very good) and it makes no sense that they have to compete with Pale Ales, etc. But that's not what brought me to write this post. The awards were given on Nov. 2, the day after dušičky (All Saints), a day when (not only) Czechs remember those loved ones who have passed away by leaving flowers and lightning candles at their graves or memorials. Because of this, SPP thought it would be a good idea to commemorate the breweries that have disappeared since 1990. It's a rather long list (that only mention industrial breweries) and a bit sad, too. But it was the last entry what caught my attentio