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Showing posts from August, 2012

Tasted musings

There seems to be something like a beer tasting epidemic going on lately. I don't think there is a day that goes by that I don't read about one somewhere. This has made me wonder whether these tastings add anything to Beer Culture, and the more I think about it, the more I believe they don't. I'm not speaking here about tastings that are actually the presentation of a brewery; I'm fine with those, they usually give the chance to meet the people behind the beers and that's always interesting. I'm not speaking about beer dinners, either, those are actually culinary games where beer can be easily replaced by any other beverage and the result will be essentially the same, a new sensory experience for the partakers. It's the guided tastings what I'm talking about I've already spoken about clowns like this one or this one , people who organise and host tastings and courses whose only goal seems to be to part fools from their money taking advantag

17/08/2012 The Day I got Saison

It's the late afternoon (or podvečer , as Czech genially calls this time of the day) of a rather warm day. I'm sitting on my terrace, enjoying the shade, the breeze and being home alone. I'm listening a mix of Dr. John, Sly & The Family Stone and Paul Butterfield Blues Band . All is being played at a volume I wouldn't get away with if my family was around. Few things are more liberating than playing music really loud, knowing that you will not bother anyone. A couple days before I bought a bottle of Saison Dupont on a whim. I've never been a fan of Saisons and I couldn't quite understand why so many beer geeks are. It's not that I didn't like them, mind you, I'd just drink something else, if given the choice. I've always felt that this style (or beer family?) was your pedestrian session beer wearing an ill-fitting suit, a builder who has crashed a posh party and hopes nobody will notice him. But here I am, with my feet on the table, a

Epic weekend in Varnsdorf

I have joined the ranks of Ron Pattinson , Martyn Cornell and Velký Al , among other beer writers/bloggers. I have made a beer happen! It all started last February when Gazza Prescott, from Steel City Brewing Co. was here on a visity. We met at Zlý Časy and where talking about the impact the crisis had on the financing of independent theatre, or something like that, can't remember that well, when somehow the talk drifted towards beer. Among many of the things we discussed was  The Grim North , the result of Steel City's collaboration with the Catalonian micro  Marina , which was quite well received when it came out. I asked Gazza if he would like to do something like that here. It took him a few milliseconds to answer yes. And then I asked Hanz, ZČ's owner, if he would like to take part, too. He answered even quicker. We got to talk about what sort of beer could be made. At first, I thought about one of those crazy Scottish IPA's from the 19th century Ron was ta

Unnecessary scandal

The Spanish beer community went up in arms the other day when it was announced that not one, but two beer tastings had been banned by  DAMM , the Catalonian macro. One of them had been organised by a bar , the other by a shop specialised in Belgian beers , and both should have taken place as part of an event called  Festa Major de Gràcia , of which the brewer is a sponsor. The shitstorm that this unleashed towards DAMM shouldn't surprise anyone; however, what the company did was to demand the fulfillment of a sponsorship contract (which shouldn't surprise anyone, either). This contract had been signed with the organisers, who got some money and in exchange for it they agreed to give DAMM exclusive rights to sell beer during the event. Some might not like it, but exclusivity rights in exchange for sponsorship is nothing new and, in general terms (and some Olympic abuses notwithstanding), I don't see anything wrong with it, in fact, I believe is a good thing, both sides be

The "Where" factor

Price not being an issue, I'm sure that if I gave you to choose between the beers from Velkopopovický Kozel  and those from  Pivovar Strahov (a.k.a., Svatý Norbert), most (if not all) of you would choose Strahov without even thinking about it. They are really, really good after all. However, it happens often with beer that it's not so much about what you drink, but where you drink it. So, going back to Kozel and Sv. Norbert, if I throw the "where" factor into the equation, the choice isn't that easy anymore, or it is. Let me tell you. The other day I had plan for the afternoon: have a couple of quick pints at  U Černého Vola , where I hadn't been since its continuity was in peril , from there go to  Pivovar Strahov to have their summer Weizen and their outstanding IPA, to finish the crawl at a new place that has opened near Hradčanská, before taking the bus back home. I failed, I didn't have time to make it to the last spot, and it was all U Černého

Friday Morning Musings

Some of you will find it hard to believe, but I'm not the kind of person that goes around preaching the gospel of good beer to anyone who doesn't want to hear ( unless I'm shitfaced ). If I'm not in the company of people who are interested in beer, I keep my opinions pretty much to myself; I have learnt to drink and let drink. When I'm a guest somewhere I am able to switch off certain parts of my brain and drink what I'm offered, trying to enjoy the moment and the company, with the beer as a spice to make them more interesting. However, it often happens that someone introduces me as the guy "who knows beer", which is almost invariably followed by the question "What's your favourite beer?" or other similar conversation triggers. In this situations, it never ceases to amaze me how many people are there who want to speak about beer, how excited they get when they can share their experiences with new brands and/or places. Names like  Svija

Selected readings: July

People are on holidays and I have quite a lot of work (fortunately). This means a short round up this time, but a juicy one nonetheless. Let's start with something to read at the beach, a fascinating story of Brettanomyces , by Martyn Cornell. I've had a couple of 100% Brett beers, I liked them, much to my surprise, my wife liked them, too. I understand why some people have become fans of this kind of beers, and I understand why other people might think they taste like a cocktail of cat's piss and curdled milk. If given the choice, I'd go for something like Orval, where these microorganisms play a memorable supporting role, rather than the lead. Meanwhile, Pivní Recenze muses over the meaning of "Premium Beer" , reaching the surprising conclusion that it means a lot of fuck and a bit of all. In Argentina, Ceresvis carries on with its analysis of the local beer scene . They agree with many of the things I've been saying for some time and, in fact, on

Tough choice

It's mid-afternoon, you've finished whatever it is that you had to do today, you are tired and would like to go home, but you happen to be nearby your local so you decide to drop by for a quick pint or two. They become four. Good stuff. You feel a bit better now, but you've decided you've had your fill and settle the bill. When you are paying, the waiter asks you jokingly. "Are you leaving already?". You smile and answer half-heartedly, promising that perhaps you'll drop by tomorrow. Just when you have finished putting the change in your pocket and picking up your stuff, another waiter looks at you with a mischievous smile and tells you, "look. It's raining!" It's not cats and dogs, not yet at least, but you can see open umbrellas and people rushing to find some shelter. You curse the rain, and the waiter, they've forced you into making a hard decision, getting a bit wet, or getting a bit pissed? Bastards! It's all up to