Showing posts with label klasterni pivovar strahov. Show all posts
Showing posts with label klasterni pivovar strahov. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Blessings from Strahov

Four times a year, Klá?terní Pivovar Strahov brings out a special beer to supplement their excellent amber and dark lagers. For the summer months they bring out a weizen, in the autumn a special dark bock made with freshly harvested hops, and for Christmas a very sweet doppelbock. The brewery's Easter special is a classic Bohemian style Pilsner.

At 13° this is a little stronger than the standard pilsners found in the Czech Republic, but made with a single type of malt and Saaz hops, the ingredients are as classic as they get. From the pictures you can see that it also looks the part.

Having been up to Strahov on Saturday night with some friends, I decided on Sunday that I should take Mrs Velkyal up there to try the new brew, I knew she'd love it - not wrong on that score! As the weather was so beautiful we decided to walk from out flat over to Malá Strana before getting the tram up the hill to Strahov.

Few things in life are as pleasurable as a long walk with the wife which ends in a few excellent beers in the sun.

If you are in Prague over the coming weeks, make a point of getting up to Strahov, and yes it is pricier than many places in the city, and there are places where you can get the same beer cheaper, but sitting in the sunlight courtyard with views of baroque palaces is surely worth an extra euro for your beer?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Fuggled Review of the Year - Amber and Dark Lagers

There is a Czech tradition that if a woman drinks dark lager then she will have big breasts, though there is nothing said about getting a big gut as well, so we can only assume that dark beer is good for you!

In all seriousness though, there was a time when I didn't particularly like the darker lagers on offer in the Czech Republic - however this has changed in recent years, partly I think as a natural progression from when I was fed up with the Czech lagers I was drinking at the time, and thus looked for something different.

The reason I have put amber and dark lagers under the same post is that I drink proportionately less of them than other lagers here, so a post each would be stretching things practically to breaking point, despite the fact that this has given me something of a headache when it comes to choosing my top three of the year, which are

The Strahov Autumn Special was a magnificent beer, rich and flavourful and worth every drop of the two or three I enjoyed in the late autumn sun whilst looking at Strahov Monastery, one of my favourite buildings in Prague.

Hukvaldy 14° was one of those beautiful happy moments when you say, I'll just have the one, and end up having a couple over lunch and savouring every drop, telling all your colleagues that they should get to the pub that very day and try it - then discovering they took your advice and were raving about it too!

The Chodovar brewery makes some of my favourite beers, and their Skalní le?ák is quite simply a lovely beer which never fails to satisfy. When PK had it on tap earlier this year I was in heaven.

This is such a difficult choice, but in the immortal words of Connor MacLeod, there can be only one:
  1. Chodovar Skalní le?ák

Chodovar wins here for its consistency as one of my favourite amber lagers and the fact that I have used it in my various beer cooking experiment successfully.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Not So Special

Liverpool being top of the league was probably the highlight of my weekend, especially as with only 21 minutes to go we were staring at the distinct possibility of yet another 0-0 draw, which would have been the first time in Liverpool’s history that we had three 0-0 draws in a row. Thank goodness though for Xabi Alonso breaking the deadlock and we eventually ran out 3-1 winners to remain 1 point ahead of Chelsea.
Straight after the game I had to dash off and meet a friend as we had arranged to pop into Klá?terní Pivovar Strahov to try the recently released Christmas Special, a 19° Doppelbock, which you can see in the picture above. My overwhelming impression was that it was just too sweet, with a powerful dose of alcohol, for my tastes - it was almost like drinking alcoholic honey to be blunt. I guess the root of my disappointment was that I had really enjoyed their autumn special and I asked if they still had some available, but unfortunately to no avail. Feeling peckish – as one does after a stressful game and rather too much beer – we decided to eat. I am a big fan of black pudding, much to Mrs Velkyal’s abhorrence, and so with the Czech version jelito on the menu it was an easy decision.

Strahov is one of my favourite brewpubs in Prague, not the cheapest by any stretch of the imagination but certainly one which I always enjoying going to. Doppelbock is very unlikely to become a regular tipple, but Strahov do make very nice beers, so if sweet and syrupy is your thing get up there soon and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Sabbath Day's Drinking

Some recent arrivals to Prague are Oscar and Joanna. Joanna works with Mrs Velkyal and Oscar is, rather obviously I guess, her husband. For people who have only been in the country a matter of weeks, they have shown a refreshing willingness to get out and about to discover the delights of the Czech Republic. It stands to reason then that they like beer, and I am doing my best to ensure that their Czech beer experience is as good as possible. On their first night in the city Mrs Velkyal and I dragged them off to U Medvídk? and insisted they try the excellent Oldgott Barrique.

As Mrs Velkyal and I were headed for the shops to stock up, we got a message from Joanna and Oscar asking what we were up to and would we fancy going for a stroll. Naturally we arranged to meet up and enjoy the sunshine together. Meeting up in the centre of the city, we walked down Národní, across the bridge into Malá Strána and got the funicular railway up the hill. After about an hour or so of walking it was suggested that we stop for a rest and a “coffee” – Velkyal slang for finding the nearest bar for a beer. At the time we were stood under the imposing edifice of Strahov Monastery – one of my favourite buildings in Prague, and a place I have been fortunate enough see with one of the priests and get up close and personal with the assorted treasures they have in there. Having read last week that the brewpub there currently had their Autumn Dark Special on tap, I suggested we give it a visit.

The sun was shining there was a nice autumnal chill in the air, despite this and the stiff breeze, we ended up sitting outside in the courtyard so the girls could enjoy the sun. Looking at the menu I noticed that as well as their own beers, the restaurant also had a selection of Budvar and Bernard beers available, however I was only here to try their own stuff, and in particular I wanted the Autumn Dark Special. Joanna and I plumped for the seasonal special, while Oscar and Mrs Velkyal went for the year round amber lager.

Being something of a tourist trap, the beers are a touch on the expensive side at 60k? for 0.4l, however by the time I had tried everything on draught I didn’t mind paying the extra. When the Autumn Dark Special arrived it was very dark, like a deep fire ruby, which glows when held up to the light, on top of this sat a fluffy beige head. The nose was very sweet and malty, with caramel notes – like fruit slowly fried in butter. In the mouth it is remarkably smooth and sweet – reminiscent of a 80/- Scottish ale, with flashes of coffee and cocoa on the tongue. The only problem that I have with beers like this is not drinking gallon after gallon.

While I was savouring the autumn special, Mrs Velkyal had gone for the standard amber lager on offer. Naturally in the interests of science, we each had a taste of the other. I love the dark orange colour of this beer and the fantastic white head, I can’t just say that an amber lager looks like amber now can I? This was very hoppy in the nose, with subtle clove notes which put me in mind of the Kocour IPA we enjoyed last week. Despite being a rather bitter beer this was surprisingly smooth and easy to drink, the bitterness is only just trumped by the sweetness, but the combination is like drinking marmalade, especially given the wonderful fruitiness of the beer.

While the rest of the gang were pigging out on French fries, I decided to have a bash at the house weizen. I have had this before at Zly ?asy and enjoyed it, but this was a different kettle of fish entirely. It poured much darker than I had previous had it and had a rocky white head. I must admit that I find wheat beers somewhat difficult to describe at the moment, although there were very noticeable citrus flavours and the crisp refreshing bite I have come to appreciate in Bavarian and Bohemian style wheats. This was just a lovely beer to drink, and if I had closed my eyes ignoring the cold I could easily imagine myself enjoying glass after glass of this in the heat of a South Carolinian summer.

A few weeks ago on Beer Culture, Evan noted that there is a pub up in the Kobylisy area of the city with the Strahov beers at lower prices than at the monastery itself. Having enjoyed them in their natural environment, I am looking forward to hunting out this place and giving my wallet some respite.

I guess this picture below appeals to both the drinker and the technical writer in me!

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...