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Showing posts from 2019

The News You've All Been Waiting For

When I published the second edition of the Guide, the plan was to wait a year or two and start working on a third edition, or at least an update, but it didn’t take me long to give up on the idea. I simply didn’t want to do the job without anyone paying me for it, especially considering the boom of “Craft Beer” bars – all of which seem to follow the template of too many taps with expensive, trendy beer styles from the same bunch of breweries. On top of that, I wanted to cut down on my boozing and I thought it’d be better to spend the limited time and money I had going to places that I knew and liked instead of new places that may not be that good, all for the sake of a vanity project. People – not many, only a few, but people nonetheless – kept asking me about it, if there was going to be a third edition, and my answer was always a resolute ‘No’. But one day, chatting with a friend, I confessed to her that I would do it if I could find a new twist for it. That twist materialised in m

Pivní Filosof in Norway Part II - Let's Get Brewing

On Wednesday morning, the ghosts of the previous evening’s Kveik haunted every room of our house and there was no open window that could drive them away. After breakfast we all tacitly agreed on going outside, closing the door behind us, making me feel almost of Cortázar’s short story “House Taken Over”. Not that we minded, we all marvelled at the sight of the water in the fjord covered in fog while the sky above was completely clear. Sigurd came for us shortly after, at nine. He had woken up much earlier, though, to the get juniper infusion going. When we arrived at his place, the cellar was warm and smelled lovely. The infusion was cooking in a 150 l copper pot on top of a wood burning stove. Sigurd explained us that it needed to reach about 95°C before anything could be done with it, and that other than feeding the fire and checking the temperature every now and again, there was nothing to do, at least in the cellar. Certain that it would still take awhile to reach the require

PIvní Filosof in Norway. Part I - Juniper and Tasting

It all begun one afternoon in early June, when I got a call from Milan Starec (a.k.a Květak), from Černokostelecký pivovár , asking if I wanted to help him with project that could get a grant from the Norwegian government. Its purpose, he explained, was to establish partnerships between Czech and Norwegian people who practice traditional trades and crafts. Naturally, Milan wanted to focus it around beer and brewing. I told him I’d love to and that I knew of someone who could help us. Immediately after finishing the call, I sent a message to Lars Marius , a beer writer from Norway, author of a great blog on farmhouse ales from his native country and beyond and a couple of books, too. He gave me the contact so Sigurd Johan Saure, who runs Kveik Training . His family has been brewing with Kveik (or Jæst , as it’s called in the local dialect) for many generations (Sigurd remembers helping his grand father and uncle when he was a child, at the very same farm where he lives, and teaches,

Stone Berlin's Failure Shouldn't Surprise Anyone

Joe “Thirsty Pilgrim” Stange, writing for Good Beer Hunting , goes behind the headlines with an insightful story on the failure of Stone Berlin, reviewing, among other things, the difficulties the California based brewing company faced when putting together their brewery in the German capital. Though there’s no doubt that the delays and unexpected costs contributed its ultimate fate (and I sympathise Koch’s frustration with the builders), I believe that, even if everything had gone according to plan (which hardly ever does), the enterprise was doomed for the simple reason that it had arrived way too late. Let me explain. The first time I head about Stone’s plans to set up shop in Europe was ten years ago – and it’s possible that even Berlin was being mentioned then. To put it into perspective, this was a time when Brew Dog was still using their first brewery and their Punk bullshit was taken seriously by not few; a time when De Molen, Meantime, Nøgne Ø, Birrificio del Ducato, and C