Showing posts with label klaster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label klaster. Show all posts

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beer Bloggers Picnic

Saturday evening was spent in the presence of fellow bloggers Evan and Pivní Filosof as well as Boak and Bailey, who were over from London on a tour of Germany and the Czech Republic. Being good hosts, we hope, we arranged to meet up and introduce our visitors to some of our favourite pubs in the city, starting with Pivovarsky klub, where the highlight for me was the very nice Granát from Pivovar Pardubice. After a while we walked up into ?i?kov to drop into the very recently opened U Slovanské Lipy, Prague’s first pub selling beer from Pivovar Kout na ?umavě.

U Slovanské Lipy is very unlikely to win any style awards, and is definitely not the kind of place for those ex-pats for whom trips to the Potrefena Husa in Prague 3 is living dangerously. Sitting down at a table I was taken back to pubs in Southern Bohemia, where a previous girlfriend came from – a proper Czech pub, with great Czech beer, what more could anyone ask for? Well to start with we asked for a round of their desítka, 10° golden lager, and what a grand beer it is, putting to bed the idea that desítka is a weaker version of a brewery’s flagship dvanáctka, that’s 12° to non-Czech speakers.

Following hot of the heels of our drained glasses was the 14° dark lager, quite easily the best lager I have had in a very long time, whether light or dark, regardless of strength, this was just simply magnificent – worth the walk up the hill just in itself. Having made the required ohs and ahs about the dark, we progressed on to the 12° kvasnícové, also a very good beer and just too easy to drink – what lucky people they are in ?umava, not only do they live in a beautiful part of the world, but they have a great local brewer to enjoy. Last up was a round of small glasses of the 18° Baltic Porter. Again it was a nice beer, brimming with flavour, however for me it just didn’t reach the heights of the dark lager. If we didn’t have plans to visit Zly ?asy, I could happily have stayed and nursed several more pints of the dark goodness.

Zly ?asy provided with one of the most unexpected experiences of my beer drinking life, a Klá?ter worth drinking, in this case the 12°. I am a convert? We’ll see. Unforeseen circumstances, involving forgotten keys, meant that I had to call it an early night at around half ten. There are few more pleasurable nights to be had than sitting around drinking superb beers with good company, which without exception has been my experience of all the people I have met through this blog so far, and I am very much looking forward to the bottle of Gose which Boak and Bailey brought over from Leipzig.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Klaster redux

I think it is fairly obvious by now that I am not a big fan of Klaster. I do however try to keep an open mind and so when Pivni Filosof commented that he really likes Klaster I decided that I should make an effort to go beyond the 12o on which I had based my views. Thus last night doing the shopping I noticed Klaster for sale, and I bought a bottle of their 11o - at the insane price of 12kc, which works out at about 40p for British readers, or $0.70 for the Americans, and the Europeans have it at €0.50.

Having chilled the bottle thoroughly, I poured it into Mrs Velkyal's Pilsner Urquell glass and got very little head - I don't know whether it is my pouring technique, the glass or the beer but with Klaster I always get a pants head - and I am of the opinion that a properly poured lager should have plenty of foamy joy.

So it was I took my first mouthful, and I was shocked that I quite liked it and I commented to Mrs Velkyal that perhaps I had misjudged Klaster, ok it is never going to be a regular drink I thought but it isn't that bad. However I was to be ultimately disappointed, as the drink wore on it became just another half decent lager - not one I would go out of my way to drink. By the time I got to the very end of the drink it had become decidedly soapy and I was once again left with a deflated feeling.

When I mentioned to Mrs Velkyal that I just didn't enjoy Klaster beers she reminded me that on our trip to the Eggenberg Brewery in ?esky Krumlov I wasn't too enamored with the pale lagers they produce, only to really enjoy their dark lager. So next I must hunt out a Klaster Tmave and continue the research.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

To the monastery

I was joking with Mrs Velkyal the other day that I should do a Masters degree in theology, which is strangely enough what my Bachelors degree is in. She asked what my thesis would be, and I thought how about "Monasticism and the development of Beer"? Thus I could combine two of my favourite things - theology is endlessly fascinating, as long as you remember that religion is more the study of humanity than the study of God. So it was with this thought in mind that I decided to pop down to Pivovarsky Klub for my dinner (Mrs Velkyal being at her school's, beginning of year curry bash).

After a rather nice goulash I decided that it would be a good idea to re-visit a beer I used to think was muck - so bad I would rather drink water than bother with it - Klaster. I first had Klaster at an open air rock festival near the little Czech town of Mnichovo Hradiste, and couldn't stand it. Admittedly this was before I really started to enjoy beer from smaller breweries, which explains why I tried again last night, give it a second chance, turn the other cheek you might say. The name Klaster means "monastery" and the beer is made in a former monastery brewery - given the fact that the building hasn't been a monastery for nearly 600 years, the name is rather tenuous.

I have learnt to trust my first opinions on many things, and my opinion of Klaster won't be changing any time soon - for me it leaves too bitter a taste in the back of my throat, one that by the time I am half way down the pint makes me regret I ever bought the stuff. I am really not a fan.

So in order to wash away the taste I reached for one of my favourites - Gottschalk, a proper monastery beer, brewed by real monks in a monastery! Sometimes it is difficult to believe that in such a non-religious country as the Czech Republic that monks are still operating here and making greating beer, I realise that is not their calling in life but it is one hell of a sideline. Gottschalk is smooth, slightly sweet and just a wonderfully pleasant drink, even if every time I pour it the head is non-existant.

On my way home I decided to follow up a lead from Evan Rail. In his articles for the Prague Daily Monitor he mentioned that a small chain of cheese shops in the Czech Republic also stocked Belgian ales, in particular the Trappist ales and for half the price of other places. Conveniently, there is an outlet near Pivovarsky Klub so I nipped round in the hope they were still open - they were! Low and behold there they were, so I bought an Orval which is already 16 months old, and a Rochefort 6. The problem, if it can be called such, is that this is a cheese shop and they sell quality cheeses and I love cheese. Having gone in to buy two bottles of beer, I came out with two bottles of beer and several wedges of fine cheese, including a farmhouse cheddar!

In the coming days Mrs Velkyal and I will be having various cheese eating sessions and I hope to be reveling in the delights of Belgian Trappist beers.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

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