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Back to the Roots Reviews: Loď Pivovar

Contrary to my policy of letting a new brewery lager for at least six months before giving them a go, I went to the (at the moment) newest microbrewery in Prague, Loď Pivovar. A few people who know beer insisted I should give it a chance and the other day, not having anything better to do, I decided to follow their advice.

It opened last February, but it would take them another month or so to have their own beers on tap (a common occurrence at not few brewpubs lately). But I think I first heard about this brewery back in 2015—it was supposed to open in autumn that year, if I recall correctly—then it went off the radar and I thought that it was another one of those projects that reality punches in the face. It wasn’t. Word got out again some time last year, that the boat would arrive in Prague in autumn, and then in December… For what I’ve heard, they ran into technical issues, apparently, something to do with water treatment (as you may imagine, boats can’t dump untreated waste water into the river, and breweries tend to generate quite a bit of that).

The boat is moored on the right bank of the Vltava, not in the really popular Náplavka, between the Dancing House and the railway bridge, but further down the river, almost below Štéfanikův Most. At the moment of my visit, two decks were open, with work in progress on the roof-top terrace.

If you come just, or mainly for the beer, you’re advised to ignore the upper-deck with the restaurant, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with, but because beers are served in 0.4l portions. Go downstairs instead, to the pivníce, where beers cost the same but come in proper, half-litre sizes.

It is nice down there, really. There’s not much of a decoration to speak of and you don’t get the any views of Old Prague, but the windows are almost at water level and watching boat traffic passing by more than makes up for it. You’re also surrounded by the fermentation and lagering tanks (the brewing kit is upstairs); the effect is rather welcoming. The only detail that doesn’t quite fit are the two large TVs in opposite corners of the room, but they had them muted when I was there and they were easy to ignore.

The beers are also reasonably priced given the location, with an average of about 40 CZK per half litre for the three full-time brews. But are they any good?

Legie, the house’s Desítka was my first. It was excellent! It was everything you’d want from the style: clean, thirst-quenching, mild-flavoured but not boring; the kind of beer that makes you happy to be alive and also wonder why would anyone want to drink an Imperial Passionfruit Grätzer (or whatever the flavour of the week is now) and not this; quite similar to Únětice’s, to be honest, which is not surprise given that the brewer trained under Honza Lumbert, Brew Master at Únětice. It was so good I had to have another one.

I really appreciate when a microbrewery makes a good Desítka. There are many that don’t bother with it. It doesn’t pay off, I’ve been told. The difference in production cost with a Světlý Ležák is almost zero and owners feel that there aren’t enough people willing to dole out the price they would warrant, and not few of them prefer to make a 11° instead. The owners of Loď Pivovar, though, shrugged off that problem and charge 37 CZK for a half litre, 2 CZK less than Republika, their 12°, which was the next beer.

It looked, smelled and tasted like Legie, a tiny bit fuller, perhaps, but it was hard to find a real difference. Maybe a pinch more of Saaz wouldn’t have hurt. I still enjoyed it, but I was left wondering whether they hadn’t served me the same beer as before. I guess I will have to go again to make sure.

So far, so good. I was very happy what I had drunk so far, but…

Monarchie is the name of the 13° Tmavé. It starts really nice, with a full mouth of fancy strong filter coffee with some chocolate dissolved in it, but after a few swigs it all becomes inexplicably dull, as if someone had watered down the coffee while you weren’t looking, and by the end of the mug I felt I was drinking it as some kind of contractual obligation. Another example of why a tasting sample is not enough to properly evaluate a beer beyond the purely technical.

To wrap my visit I chose Remorkér, another 12° Světlý Ležák. The pricing was bullshit. Republika’s is 39 CZK, this one was 52 CZK for a beer in the same category and style, but with a different blend of hops and malt bill. I bet the Kazbek hops are pricier than the ŽPČ, but not to the point of increasing production costs by 30%. That wouldn’t have been such an issue if the beer’d been good. It wasn’t. It tasted like an ungodly blend of lettuce, artificial honey flavouring and old hops. Awful, really. There was also a Weizen on tap, but I skipped it, I had more drinking to do that day.

The last two stumbles notwithstanding, the balance is positive. I really liked the place, the setting and the atmosphere it generates, and I truly loved that Desítka, which all by itself is enough to make me want to go again, and again. Let’s just hope that consistency won’t be an issue.

Na Zdraví!

Loď Pivovar
Dvořákovo nábřeží – Štefánikův most – Kotviště číslo 19
50°5'36.381"N, 14°25'36.018"E
+420 773 778 788 – rezervace@pivolod.cz
Sun-Thu: 11:30 – 23, Fri-Sat: 11:30 – 24

Comments

  1. Nice one, I must visit in July when I come back to Prague....

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