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A Saturday Stroll

My daughter’s school had its end of the year celebration the other Saturday. The event consists of every class performing a short theatre play. After gladly (and proudly) fulfilling my parental duties, I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day inside a school building and I decided I would leave during the first break.

Since my wife and daughter wanted to stay, I would have to get home by my own means. I could have got to the bus without much hassle, but it was around midday and I was starving. I didn’t fancy any fast food and the neighbourhood of my daughter’s school is not precisely famous for the abundance and quality of its gastronomic offer. The nearest place I could think of where I would get a proper sit-down meal was Hostinec Nad Šarkou, home of Libocký Pivovar.

The day’s menu was just what I was needing: unpretentious and unsophisticated Czech pub grub. I ordered telecí řízek s bramborovým salátem. It was fairly large portion of very good food. The schnitzel was perfectly done, tender and it looked it had been fried in a pan. The veal could have used a bit more seasoning, but that’s just a quibble. The potato salad, on the other hand, was a masterpiece. Light on the mayonnaise, with the right level of acidity to balance the meat. Perhaps the best I’ve had a pub or jídelna.

But I’m sure you’re wondering about the beer.

I’d been to Libocký Pivovar a number of times and I was never satisfied with their beers. They weren’t shit, they were just… disappointing. They always tasted like wasted potential, that they could brilliant if something was tweaked here or there, or if they had a bit more of this or a bit less of that. When I ordered Chrudoš, their Desítka, I was expecting to be disappointed.

My expectations were not met. The beer was brilliant! Very pale, clean, fresh, nimble and without a hint of caramelised malts. Not feeling like pushing my luck (I had seen an awful looking, murky amber thing pass by to another table), I ordered a second pint that was just as beautiful.

For the first time ever, I was leaving Hostinec Nad Šarkou thoroughly content—and stuffed. The weather, which had been iffy in the morning, seemed to have decided on nice and warm and the wind was pushing the last grey clouds. I was in the perfect mood for a walk, and was right opposite the perfect place for such endeavour, the Divoká Šárka Nature Reserve.

Divoká Šárka is one of the things that make Prague so special in my books. It’s located about half an hour by tram to the very centre of town, and yet, once you walk past the public swimming pool, it feels so remote. That afternoon, not even the planes from the nearby airport could be heard.

But that was not the only reason I was happy to be in there. There was one place I’d been wanting to check out for a long time and I was hoping to finally do it today.

Hostinec Divčí Skok was featured in Evan Rail’s “The Good Beer Guide – Prague & the Czech Republic”. It’s been 10 years since it came out and I’ve wanted to visit this pub since then, but for a variety of reasons never made it.

It’s named after the rocky hill behind it, which itself is named after one of the events of the legend of the Maidens’s War. It is said that Šárka, one of the main characters, jumped to her death from the top of the hill after having lured Ctirád and his men to a brutal death at the hands of Vlasta, the leader of the rebellion, and her war maidens.

It’s a proper beer garden, in every sense of the word. It looks almost as if it had been transplanted from Franconia, and in my opinion, it has a nicer atmosphere than Riegrový Sady’s and better views than Letná’s. Surrounded by woods and hills, with no music being played; the only soundtrack, the wind dancing with the trees to the tune of the birds’ songs and the creek running in front. Idillic.

They have three beers from Svijany on tap, 450 Světlý Ležák, Kněžna Tmavý Speciál and Weizen, all sold at the very reasonable price of 35 CZK a half litre, and served in glasses.

I ordered a 450 in the sheltered area by the entrance and picket a table in the ample garden to enjoy the beer and the atmosphere. The latter was fantastic, the former, not so. The beer had a sharp, metallic note in the finish that faded as the mug emptied. I would have to drink something else because there was no way I was staying here for just one.

Weizen it was then. I can’t remember when was the last time I had it. It must have been when it came out, around the time LIF, the owner Svijany and Rohozec, acquired Primátor from the City of Náchod in a transaction that was controversial to the say the least. Allegedly, the Mayor of Náchod had decided to sell the brewery to LIF before a public tender was called and blatantly ignored a higher bid by Pivovar Holba, who, together with the municipal opposition, took the matter to court. The court decided that the sale, which had been approved by the Municipal Council in fairly tight vote, was not to take effect. The sale took effect regardless, because that’s the way thing sometimes work in this country. I’m not quite sure how the story ended up, but LIF is still owner of Primátor and it was known and public at the time that Svijany Weizen was brewed in Náchod, and not few people, myself included, believed it was Primátor Weizenbier with a different shirt. I don’t know if that was true, or even if this pšenka is still being brewed in Náchod, or in Svijany. In any case, it was of little importance sitting there that lovely afternoon because the beer was splendid; juicy, as if biting a piece of ripe pineapple. I was in a great mood, I had nowhere to be and got another one, and a third.

I walked the rest of the way to Jenerálka at a leisurely pace, slowly getting lost in my own thoughts. There were more people on the trail now that the sun was fully out but not scorching, but it was far from crowded, and the few cyclists that passed by were of the civilised sort.

I had time for one last pint before taking the bus. Kozel 11°, at Restaurace Jenerálka. It did the job, no more, nor less. The pub is quite nice, though, especially the shaded part of the patio, in the back. Another place I’ve long wanted to visit, I’d been passing in front of it with the bus almost every day for 15 years! Glad I did, finally. Will have to come back, the food didn’t look too shabby.

But the last pint of the day was at U Hasičů. When I got off the bus in my village, the weather was simply too nice to go home. I had to stop for a couple of Desítky from Únětice. Delicious, as usual. And had a nice chat with a couple of the locals, too.

Overall a very fulfilling Saturday.

Na Zdraví!

Hostinec Nad Šarkou – Libocký Pivovar
50°5'32.920"N, 14°19'26.235"E
Evropská 134 – Prague-Liboc
+420 733 502 600 – nadsarkou@seznam.cz
Mon-Sat: 11-23, Sun: 11-22
Tram: 20 y 26 – Divoká Šářka

Hostinec Divčí Skok
50°5'59.144"N, 14°19'14.559"E
Divoká Šárka 356 – Prague-Liboc
+420 606 760 647 – divciskok@gmail.com
Mon-Fri: 14-20, Sat-Sun: 10-20:30
Walking, just walking

Restaurace Jenerálka
50°6'28.018"N, 14°21'13.962"E
Horoměřická 2337 – Prague-Dejvice
+420 235 300 142 – estauracejeneralka@seznam.cz
Mon-Fri: 10-23, Sat-Sun: 11-23
Bus: 116, 161, 312, 316, 356 - Jenerálka

Comments

  1. A nice Saturday outdoors! Thanks, next time in Dejvice i will visit Divoká Šárka.

    Na zdraví,
    Jeff

    ReplyDelete

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