Friday, May 24, 2019

Last Day in Prague

I’m on the way back home so no time for a detailed post, just the images. Make up your own story, it is probably more interesting.

Lunch at Pivovarsý Klub

I had the Břevnovsky Benedict.

Goulash for lunch

Zloun Pear Sour. Big mistake.

Cute little brewery setup in the window. Available for rent.

Redoing a railway viaduct.   Big round wooden things make me think of foeders.

Bethesda Bar

One beer on tap, Mouflon 11º

Missed my side street and got sucked into tourist central (a/k/a Karlův most). What is worse is I had to fight my way thru them to get back on track.

U Kunštátů.

Ferdinand Max 11º — not bad. Was a little disappointed— remember it as better. The waitstaff was trying to be helpful and giving out all sorts of wrong information.

Back near tourist central to catch my tram, I do like this view.

Mrtvá Ryba — where I am by far the oldest customer. I really like this place.

What I didn’t have.

Kamenická 12º

Guess where?

Hostomice 12º

Hostomice Tmavé 14º — my last beer in Prague.

It was a great time. Visited lots of new places, missed some old favorites but drank at others.]

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Another Day in Prague

Are you bored yet?

It looked to be a wet day, a good day for indoor activities.  Not that, I’m here by myself. Drinking beer.

I headed over to OSSEGG Praha, which was originally at tap room for the OSSEGG brewery in Osek, near the border with Saxony (Germany). But they’ve installed a small brewery here and claim all the beers are locally brewed. No reason to dispute that.

I’m big fan of the beer and the food.

I started with Philipp 12º, nice and clean and just enough bitterness to keep you interested.

For lunch they have a daily soup and 3 different entrees. Asked for the beef one, was told it was sold out and ordered the roasted chicken breast instead.

It came with at first I though was corn but turned out to be some very small pasta like thing. I didn’t take a picture of the menu so I don’t know what it is called, but it soaked up the gravy quite nicely, which is its purpose, I assume.

I forgot to check the chalkboard for special beers and noticed that they had a 10º beer with some suitable Latin sounding name, so I ordered one.

It was clearer than the 12º and while good, one was enough. I probably would have liked it better if I’d had it first.

When I came out the rain was really starting to come down.  So I hopped on a number 11 tram and rode it to the end station. Sure enough, the rain had let up a bit by the time I got to První Pivni Tramway.

Some interesting beers today...

But when I got to the door there was a sign saying they weren’t going be open for another 90 minutes. That has happened to me a couple times before. Then I just hop back on the tram and go have a beer or two at Pivovar Bašta and head back. Didn’t do that today, just got back on the tram and headed for the city center.

There is a lot of street repair going on in Prague and that can mean tram lines are canceled or rerouted. For example, you can’t get a tram to Jiřho z Poděbrad right now (or until July) — the closest tram stops 3 blocks away.  So I haven’t visited any of the pubs around there and thought this might be the opportunity.

So soon I was at Beer Geek Bar, which technically wasn’t open for 15 minutes yet but people where going in already, so in I went, to find out why the early start.

Yep, a tap takeover. All thirty taps and two handpumps were filled with Raven beers. Pivovar Raven is a fairly new brewery in Plzeň and I’ve generally like the beers I’ve had, but I’m not ready for 32 of them. Especially since many of them are the same beer with different flavors, include 8 different faux-Berliner Weisse.

I chose the Raven 12º Pale Lager.

It was fine but I’d not put it in the top tier of similar beers I’ve had this trip.

It thought I should at least try one of their other beers and number 29 caught my eye “Brown Ale with Stroopwafels.” I love stroopwafels. I’ve been known to come back from Amsterdam with a 12-pack box. So I ordered one.

It was maybe a bit light for what I think a brown ale should be. But you definitely got the taste of waffle and it was very sweet from the caramel. I can’t imagine drinking a half liter of it, but .3L was fine.

Not far from BeerGeek is Pivni Šenk U Kaciře or “Beer Tavern of the Heretic.”

They usually have 8 beers on tap.

One will probably jump out at you. They are one of the few places in Central Prague that routinely have the Kout na Šumavě 12º. There are a few that carry the 10º but here is really the most reliable place for the 12º.

When I first had this beer over 10 years ago it blew me — and a lot of other people — away. About four years ago I thought the quality was way off. At first I thought it was maybe that the overall level of  Czech beers had increased with newer breweries like Uněticé and Hostomice. But two years ago I had a really bad one at the Heretic. I reached out to some friends who are more plugged in (i.e. they read Czech) and said the brewery was having problems, financial and managerial, but that things had improved recently.

So I ordered one and held my breath...

It was fine -- very good in fact. It didn’t blow me away like that first one ten years ago, but that is probably more on me. I’d say they’re back.

I got a text from a local friend saying he was at Pivovarský Klub and was headed to Dva Kohouti for one quick beer.  With the trams messed up there was no way I could get there in time on public transit, so I broke down and ordered an Uber.  Boy am I glad I don’t have to drive in Prague, especially in the rain during rush hour.

Soon I was back a Dva Kohuti and drinking a Matuška California. This is maybe my favorite Czech hoppy beer. “Only” an APA but it also somehow says to me that it is Czech. Yum.

I meant to take a picture but forgot, but if you should go to Dva Kohouti take a look at the taps. The Czech side pull taps are amazing — they let you quickly pour a full half liter of beer and put a creamy head on top. The problem is they take up lots of horizontal space — you need 8 inches or so between each tap. That is a lot of space. At Dva Kohouti they have a prototype tap that emulates the action of the side pull with a tradition front to back motion. Coming soon a good bars everywhere.

There isn’t a direct tram from Dva Kohouti to my hotel. I have to change somewhere. If I do at stop Dlohá Třída I can make a short detour to here

And have a couple of these marvelous beers, Hostomice 12º

After a couple (well, a few if couple is exactly two) I went and got a meal and back to my hotel.

I’ll leave with another look at the taps at Nalévárn

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Day Six in Prague

I hope you all appreciate how hard this job is, getting up every morning and going out to drink beer.

No new places on the agenda today, mostly just visiting places I’d been to before to see how they were doing.

I headed out and did check out a couple places that didn’t seem quite up to being the the Guide. Luckily, I didn’t have to have a beer in either of them.

I soon found myself in the neighborhood of Novoměstský Pivovar, which claims to be Prague’s first (modern) brewpub. “Modern” because U Flecků has been around a few hundred years longer. The quality of the beers is very variable. Over the past 10 years I’ve had some very good one and some that I left on the table, but mostly they are just average — which is how they were today. Drinkable, enjoyable even, but no need for me to have two.

However they do have good roasted chicken wings. The menu says “spicy” but that is “Czech spicy.” Lots of garlic and pepper and a bit of heat. And when they say “5 pieces” that is 5 whole wings, not way it is done in the US (and places that copy American  style) by getting 4 “wings” per chicken.

The brewery is right in the upper room for all to see.

Next it was over near to Beer Story, not far from Stároměstké Náměstí (Old Town Square). They once were connected with he restaurant/deli next door called “Food Story.” The restaurant has changed hands but the pub and bottle shop remains.

One reason I like to stop in is they usually have the Břevnovský Klášter Světlé Ležák 12º on tap. I really, really like this beer. The brewery is a monastery  on the outskirts of Prague that can be easily reached by tram. (This is not the closer in Strahov brewery)

Since you are in a touristic part of town, you pay tourist prices. When I see these prices at first I am outraged! How dare they charge so much for this beer! Then I realize that the sky high Kč 82 I paid for that delicious beer works out to be about US$3.50. All is relative as Dr Einstein used to say.

I hadn’t yet had a Pilsner Urquell and I knew where I wanted to go. It wasn’t that far as the crow flies, but it would take me thru the heart of Tourist Prague, which I find annoying, so I took the longer way by tram.

Prague has lots of public passages thru buildings — usually they are shopping arcades. Google Maps is aware of these and will often route you thru them. Of course, some of them are closed after business hours but Google doesn’t know this and tries to send you there anyway. Very frustrating.

But sometimes there is a positive side effect — a few years ago it routed thru this shopping building and I ended up an a marvelous garden I never knew was there.

That is a monastery in the background. There are benches all thru it and I’ll just sit and watch people for a few minutes.

Shortly after that I arrived at Jelúkova Plzeňskȧ Pivnice. 

Local friends have told me they have the freshest Pilsner Urquell in town. I can’t dispute them. In the front is a standing bar and the tap. Around to the right is a small room that might hold 20 people. I usually stand up in the bar but today I checked the room and there was an empty table so I sat down and ordered a beer. The only question is the size because they only serve the one beer.

I’ve always had table service in the room but others have told me they had or get their beer at the bar and bring it back. Probably depends on the time of day.

They have a bunch of Pilsner Urquell memorabilia on the walls, all of it in German.

I had a second Urquell just because I was too lazy to get up. Another Kč 47 down the.... drain. It is a nice beer but it is probably in the middle of the pack in regards to beers I like in Prague.

I was just about 5pm so I headed over to Illegal Beer. They open at 5pm and I got there a few minutes before. There were a couple of guys standing outside, I figured they were waiting as well. Then I took a look in the window and people were already drinking. I guess they opened early today and those I thought were waiting, were smoking.

They tend towards “Modern” styles here 

I ordered the Zichovec Juicy 15º Orange Juice  New England IPA. A very nice beer. You are seeing Zichovec more and more around town, even in “non beer” establishments. Much like Uněntice.

They had the usual Czech bar snacks and also a sausage that was from someplace special that I never heard of but I ordered it anyway.

In there somewhere I did order another beer, a JuneBerg Světlé Ležák 12º from the town of Hořice. Another very nice pale lager.

Time to move on and I thought I’d go to Malý/Velký next as it is close to my hotel room. On the way a poster caught my eye...

I guess I need to get our more as I didn’t know there were official “50 Shades of Grey”  branded adult toys. Never miss a marketing tie in, I guess.

I was soon at Malý/Velký

An interesting selection of beers on tap

And relatively new addition, some bag-in-box Lambics from Oud Beerlsel 

Being Old School (at least in Prague) I went for the Dalešice Videňský Ležák 12º (Vienna Lager). Unlike when I was at the brewery tap the other day, here they served in proper .5L mugs.

This appears to becoming a more popular style in Czechia. Go for it, brewers, I like these beers.

Since I was drinking my supper, I decided to not challenge my stomach too much and ordered a bowl of Boršč. I’ll leave it to the reader to do the translation, Hint It involves beets.

I love the tap setup, two side pull taps for lagers and normal taps for the top fermented beers. That is the way you do it.