Showing posts with label u pinkasu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label u pinkasu. Show all posts

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the winner is....

Before announcing the winner of the first Fuggled Christmas Giveaway, I would like to make a meanderingly meaningless speech about how beer is more than just a sport, it is a unifying force in the world. I would like to, sure, but I am not Sepp Blatter and Fuggled is not FIFA, so I guess you good people just want to know who gave me the fattest of brown envelopes in order to win the coveted price.

Firstly though, the answer to the question. The first pub to sell Pilsner Urquell in Prague was, of course, U Pinkas?. It was in 1843 that Jakub Pinkas gave up making ecclesiastical vestments to bring the new wunderbier to the people of Prague, just five months after Josef Groll's brew was first tapped in Plzeň. Today the pub is one of the better places to get a half litre of Pilsner Urquell, especially in the summer when the garden is open. The picutre above is by Mark Stewart, my photography guru and all round top bloke.

So anyway, the winner of a Fuggled t-shirt is:
  • Dan Herman, of Greenville, South Carolina!
Congratulations, and I will be in touch later today to sort out colours, sizes and other logistical type things. To those that entered but didn't win, thanks for taking part!

While on the subject of winning things, I was very happy to discover yesterday that I will be adding some more bling to my collection. My Samoset Vintage 2009, which I wrote about last week, took silver in the Strong Ale category at the Palmetto State Brewers' Open.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Context, context, context

One of my favourite subjects at university was hermeneutics – the study of texts and how they function, in fact one of the questions in my final year exam in hermeneutics was “what is a text?” Probably the most important word in hermeneutics is “context”, the environment from which a text is born, to which it addresses itself and the world in which the reader interprets that text. Now, I am not attempting to claim that beer is a form of hermeneutics – although I think that it would actually be quite simple to do so, especially with regard to the hermeneutical circle – essentially that you can only understand the whole text by understanding the parts, and that a proper understanding of the parts is possible only by understanding the whole. What came to mind yesterday was that the context in which you sample a beer has an inevitable influence on your opinion of said beer.

Once again I find myself committing heresy by admitting to not being a big fan of Pilsner Urquell, the original and in many people’s minds still the best lager on the planet. In my early beer drinking days I found it too hoppy and bitter to enjoy as a regular drink. As a result of this I preferred its next door neighbour, Gambrinus, or Kozel, which eventually became just another brand in the SABMiller stable. Since I have become something of a paradox in that I drink far less now that I used to when I was in my 20s but now I drink far better, I have started to respect Plzeň’s contribution to world merriment and joy, and it is no longer heard of that I won’t drink the stuff – actually in the right circumstances I quite enjoy it.

Usually if I am in the mood for an Urquell, I am in the centre of Prague and in the vague vicinity of U Pinkas?, the first pub in the city to sell the golden nectar as far back as 1843 – such moods generally strike me in the middle of summer as U Pinkas? has quite possibly the most adorable beer garden in the city – sandwiched between the pub itself and a historic church. Last night’s mini-session, I only necked three pints, came about because I met up with the photographer for my recent wedding, to collect the prints we ordered to create our wedding album. I suffer from a weakness known as “just the one syndrome”, so when the photographer asked if I fancied a quick pint, I said “sure, why not?”

The pub we went to was one his locals, called Bruska, which has Pilsner on tap from a tank rather than from a keg. The first thing that struck me about the pint when it came was that it was slightly colder than usual, which was a benefit as it was smoother going down. Also the beer held its head better, I am a fan of head on my lager and so when it just vanishes just as the waitress is leaving the table I worry that I won’t be enjoying my pint. So while the taste was the same, the drinking was better. Such is the value of a good pub, while not wanting to denigrate the value of skilled barstaff, it is the care with which a bar treats the beer that has become something of a passion for me. Lines being cleaned and beer being stored at the right temperature have become important considerations, so that while I might not drink more than 5 beers in an evening, I want each one of them to be enjoyable.

So it was I enjoyed three quick pints with a friend, in a typical Czech pub - something which I for one hope never dies out in Prague, or worse becomes a cliche of itself.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...