To Prague for a meeting this week, and I, obviously, used the opportunity to do some beery things as well.
I had an appointment with Max, the Beer Philosopher, and I even brought along quite a few beers to him from Nøgne ø and Haandbryggeriet. He is considering importing some of their beers. While they obviously cannot compete with the price level of the domestic brews, it will be interesting to see if there is a market for ales in this land og lagers. I’m sure he will blog about this himself.
I knew the routines for public transport from my last visit, and within an hour of touchdown I checked into my hotel, despite having used both the airport bus, the Metro and a tram.
It was still early afternoon, and I had an hour or so to spare.
My hotel was in the Castle district, right at the top of the steep street leading down in the direction of the Charles bridge. I had done my homework, meaning reading Evan Rail’s Good Beer Guide to Prague and the Czech Republic. This informed me that there was a fine tavern just around the corner, U Cerneho Vola. (Sorry for omitting all accents and stuff from the names, they are beyond my scope!)
This place is a bit of a paradox. Across the street from one of the major churches on the castle hill as well as the palace housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this is still an unpretentious bar with wooden furniture and a menu that’s blissfully short.
There is cheese. And sausages. And beer.
The beer in question is Kozel, which may not sound too exotic. Their dark variety is a global brand, but having it fresh from tap is very different. Lots of sweet malt, but there are lots of other complex elements there as you sip your pint. I tried a glass of the pale Kozel, too, a crisp and clean pilsener that also does its job very well when it is served under optimal conditions.
Mixed clientelle – students and tourists in smaller groups. When I see people lighting their cigarettes, I realize that this was common across Europe just a few years ago. I don’t know if there is any pending legislation in the Czech Republic.