Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 32: Perusing Prague

Up early to beat the tourists and see Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square before finding a restaurant in the Square with a beer I wanted to try (Budvar Dark) and an awesome boar and mushroom stew (yep, made with dark beer) with potato cakes to help soak up the stew. The Budvar just tasted like a standard pils but with dark malt, so there is no uniform taste to come from it. Just get malt spike and then hop spike, but at least the hops cleansed the palate so I could enjoy every mouthful of the stew like it was the first taste. Then found a pub doing what I had been told was the best Pilsner Urquell in this town, so decided to give it a shot. Ok, I am an ale's man (So my face can't be shown in this blog entry), but I do have to say I was pretty impressed with it. the first taste went as such; nice caramel leading to honey, then slow rise of hop, before cleansing with a dry finish. Very well structured and the overall balance of flavours let the profile be very rounded, even though I don't appreciated the hops or dry finish (just personal preference). Still, to have me enjoy a beer that is not my preference just goes to show how good it is. I can see why so many people on this trip told me to make sure I had it here. Thanks to you all.
So, with the pils worship over, I went down to Pivince U Rudofina for a Kozel Dark. Ok, so I have had this beer before, but it was either that or another Urquell, and I wasn't going to give into that. Yeah, it was watery and had a dusty malt aftertaste, but at least had little hops to take away from the malt. Slight dry aftertaste but does come in a glass that my hand fits in. No smell, and some carbonation on the tongue to show it is serves a little too cold. Fairly standard. This bar was picked by Brad and Seda, and have to say is nice to see it have a front bar for anyone just wanting a beer, even if the beer selection is limited. Also, no tourists which is a major plus being so close to Old Town Square and Charles Bridge.
Then made my way to Pivovarsky Dum to have an eight beer sampler, a Venison in beer (porter actually) stew, and ended with a Russian Imperial Stout (I think all beers brewed by this company). As an overall to the samplers, they all had a flavour that would resemble what they were trying to be, but the novelty factor was high enough that they never really came across at real beers. the banana beer actually tasted like liquified lolly banana, so was looking for a Boag's St George to add it with. As for the Venison stew, another culinary delight, and the sauce again was amazing. Which turned out to go perfectly with the Imperial Stout I ended on. So limited was the stout that it had a serial number (853) and yes, fairly intense as you would assume from such a beer. Really packs a punch, but that is just keeping true to the style. Could be aged a bit to get it towards a Moo Brew Vintage, and will be hard to have another beer after this 8.5%.
Still, not to give up so early, hit a tourist favourite in U Fleku near where I am staying for one last dark beer and some sort of Czech spirit. Both were placed on the table without me asking (how good is that) as people are always just walking around with alcohol to distribute. The spirit had a cinnamon flavour and reminded the Finnish couple I was speaking with as something they would drink at Christmas time. The beer was from the house, and have to say it was pretty good with nice malt character and no offensive hops. Still, after the Russian Imperial, was going to be hard to cut through. I nearly did stop drinking after the Russian knowing this would be the case, but found an excuse to try and be nice to the girl manning the hostel (Ok, so Katerina is good looking and has been nice to me) by seeing if she wanted something from the local store. Still, seeing she didn't, I went to a pub instead. Why did I write that? I have to stop writing in this blog when I am pissed.
So I think that is everything. The boar stew, Pilsner Urquell, venison stew and Russian Imperial Stout have been major standouts for today. Thank you Prague for showing me what it has to offer, and for everyone that encouraged me to come here. Only one full day left on this trip, and getting pretty reflective about it all and thinking about what my favourite beers and beer experiences, etc have been. Hope to put together a little 'best and worse of' post once the trip is over for anyone that hasn't been keeping up on the way (would have saved you being bored for hours reading all this crap. Sorry everyone).

Well, early start in the morning to get to Berlin, so better hit the sack. Will transmit again in Berlin, where I will probably get all teary now the trip is coming to an end. Will need some shoulders to cry on for anyone in Berlin willing to let me.



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