When I found out that there is one bus line, 183, that goes between Jihoměstský Pivovar and Pivovar Hostivař I decided that I would visit both brewpubs in one go.
The original plan was to go first to Hostivař, as it is a lot less hassle to go back to the centre from Háje. But I was in I.P. Pavlova at around lunch time, starving and my stomach was in no mood for what could easily be a half hour trip. Metro to Háje and lunch at Jihoměstský was the new plan. In retrospective, that may have been the first mistake. Had I stuck to my original plan, things wouldn't have turned out the way they did. But I had no way of knowing it at the time.
Anyway, I got to Jihoměstský pivovar feeling I could eat a horse. I really like walking into that brewpub; you go through a long, dimly lit, corridor that takes you to an almost cavernous space with the brewhouse on one end and the bar on the other, and between them, mostly long tables with benches, and I love long tables with benches.
It was quite busy at lunch time, but finding a free table with a good view to the bar wasn't a problem. I ordered one of the lunch specials and the house's flagship beer, Jihoměšťan 11°. This polotmávý has never been much of a glamorous vessel, more similar to a cargo ship than something a navy would proudly show off, actually, but it always got the job done. Not this time, though. That beer wasn't good, it was like waking up in the middle of an unpleasant dream, without being quite able to remember why it was so unpleasant. Fortunately, it wasn't the first beer of the day—few things are more frustrating than the first pint of the day, the only you look forward to the most, being not good.
I choose the Tmavý speciál 14º next. That has always been my go-to beer at this brewpub. Full, rich, with all those bits and pieces I love in black lagers.
What the fuck is this!? I almost scream when I took a sip. That was not the beer loved and looked forward to drinking. This beer was Robert DeNiro in most of the films he's done in the last 10-15 years. It's even worse in fact. At least with DeNiro, you can show someone who's just finished watching, say, Hide and Seek one the films the guy did when he still gave at least a semblance of a fuck to show them what a great actor he can be. With Tmavý speciál 14º, they will have to take your word for it, and I wouldn't blame them if they didn't believe you.
At least the food was good, very good, and big. I was stuffed and thought that it'd be a good idea to walk a bit before the next brewpub.
On the way from the metro station I had noticed one of those yellow signs of the cycling routes indicating that Hostivař was a mere 3.5km away. When I came out of the Jihoměstský pivovar I thought I'd follow it, it'd be a 30-40 minute walk. Ideal to get me ready for the next beers.
And that, my friends, was a mistake.
The rain started a kilometre or so later. It was only a few drops at first, the sort of drizzle that can make a walk more pleasant, if you are in the right mood, an I was, I love taking walks in uncharted territories.
By the time I got to an underpass that crosses the road that effectively separates Jižní Město from Hostivař, the rain had intensified to the point it was getting a bit uncomfortable to be walking (I should add that I wasn't wearing a jacket, nor carrying an umbrella, because I'm stupid badass).
Things started to go really wrong when I came out of the underpass. The yellow sign I was expecting to find wasn't there and the road forked. On the right, the path led to a what appeared to be a park, on the left, to an alley with houses on side and a small patch of forest on the other, which in turn led to what a appeared to be a residential area. That's where I went, foolishly believing I was really close to Pivovar Hostivař. I couldn't have been more wrong.
It was already pissing when I realised I was lost. It wouldn't have been a problem to get back home, or to the centre, had I wanted, it would have only been a matter of finding a bus stop, which I did, but none of the buses listed there went my way. The problem was that I had no clue where I was in relation to the place I actually wanted to go, and none of the buses listed at the stop I was standing took me there. So I kept on walking, under the pouring rain, getting soaked to the bone. I was not going to give up, even if, when I got to another bus stop only to find the same as at the one before.
Eventually, I got into a little square dominated by a church. I reckon it was the oldest part of Hostivař, the centre of town before it got swallowed by the urban amoeba that is Prague. I spotted a information board in front of the church, there was a map on it that indicated other points of interest around. It took me a bit to figure it out, the glass was very wet—did I tell you it was pissing?—but when I finally did, I saw a name recognised, Hornoměcholupská, the street that runs along one of the sides of Pivovar Hostivař. Excellent! At last I had a clue.
I got my bearings and headed there. That's when I realised how far I still was, like a tram stop and several bus stops far. I turned on Hornoměcholupská and saw a stop for one of the lines that takes you to the brewpub. My spirits improved, until I saw the time table. Of course, the bus had just passed, and there wouldn't be another for at least another 15-20 minutes (I was starting to feel a bit like the hero of this story). The stop didn't have a shelter, and there was no way I would wait that long under the rain—did I tell you it was pissing?—so I resumed my walk. At least now I knew where I was.
After a couple of blocks I walked past a pub that had Kácov on tap. I love Kácov, and one part of me wanted to go into that pub. “Just for one quick pint”, he said. It was tempting, but I resisted. I knew that sitting in a dry place—did I tell you it was pissing?—would be the end of it—I would stay there and would never make it where I wanted to go. I carried on walking.
By the time I reached Pivovar Hostivař, the rain had reverted to that gentle drizzle I had enjoyed several kilometres before. I was feeling quite miserable, I must have looked like a towel taken out of a washing machine before the spin cycle. In a way, I was glad that the waitress didn't make any comments when she came to take my order. I don't think I was in the mood for that.
The first beer I ordered was the house's 11º. The first half of the pint disappeared down my throat, so my evaluation will be mostly based on the second half of the pint, the part that I paid attention to.
I should have knocked down the whole půl litr without giving two shits. The beer wasn't bad, it just only a child who's sent to do the job of a grown man. You know what I mean, you've seen it in countless films. How this child overcomes adversity, finding strength in his apparent weakness, and comes out victorious in the end. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here. Reality ended up beating the ever loving shit out of this child and he never manages to recover. Poor thing, he shouldn't have accepted the challenge before being ready.
It was followed by the 12º. I could make the same, silly, overwrought analogy you've just read above to describe this one, too. And I remember I loved it last year when when I reviewed Pivovar Hostivař. It was so frustrating! All of the four beers I'd had so far had been sub-par. Beerwise, the day could have hardly turned any worse. I was wishing I had stopped at that Kácov pub, maybe there was still time to drop by there.
But I wasn't ready to leave yet. I was still too wet to be arsed. So ordered the H-Ale, expecting another half litre of disappointment. Fortunately, I was wrong. This beer was like Han Solo coming back to help the rebels when they're being blown away one by one while attacking the Death Star; it was like Gandalf showing up with Riders or Rohan to save the day when all hope had been lost in Helm's Deep. It almost (and I stress the almost) made the whole ordeal worth it. I was drinking the first good beer since I got on the metro, and I was feeling much better. So much that I stayed for another one, I was still very wet (in fact, I don't think I fully dried until the next morning or so) and didn't feel like going anywhere. That Kácov would have to wait.
So, that's the story of that day. The only good beer I had was an Ale, go figure.
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While I feel the pain of your day, this is a quite hilarious account to read (apart from the bad beer part, that is never good). I've certainly had plenty of similar mishaps when trying to make my way between two places, so it's good to know I'm not the only one this happens to :-)ReplyDelete
If you do, take the right path after the underpass. It won't be any shorter, but it should be a nicer walkDelete
I love Jihoměstský Pivovar based on my three visits. Please tell me they just had a bad day! Next time I'm in Prague I would love to repeat your trip (on a sunny day!)ReplyDelete
I can't tell for myself, but a friend who lives nearby has told me that lately, the beers are a bit hit-and-missDelete
Metaphors make for nice reading, but I'd love to know what was actually wrong with the beers, particularly as they related to your memories/expectations. What did you expect them to taste like? What did they taste like? And what was the cause of the gulf in-between?ReplyDelete
I've stopped taking tasting notes, but, for what I remember, the first beer tasted kind of soapy and rough around the edges (what causes that, I don't know, and frankly, I don't care, as it is not my problem). The second one was sweetish and thin (I remember it as rich and almost stout-like). The other two, I believe, hadn't spent enough time in the lagering tanks. They weren't undrinkable, mind you, just not up to standards.Delete
The most disappointing thing, though, is that these two breweries are known for making really good stuff, and I was looking forward to them both.
Theories? New brewers? New owners? Going to pot? Selling well and not managing to keep up standards as they grow? This is just idle interest, but I am keen to keep up with what's happening in Czech.Delete
But that'd be speculation and would require more than a quick visit for a couple of pints. But as far as a know, there's been no change in ownership in either of the breweries, but growing pains could be a reason for the drop of quality in the second brewery, which is a bit more than a year old. But once again, I'd speculating.Delete
The rain always starts when you start walking.ReplyDelete