Friday, October 3, 2008


Sometimes the mood simply isn’t there. The pub is full, there is a good well-made beer in front of you (one likes to assume these things), but something is missing. Perhaps it is the deflation that comes from meeting your deadlines a week in advance, perhaps it is simply being there by yourself, but something is missing. Yes its great to see your favourite bar staff in your favourite pub, but even they notice that something is missing. Perhaps that missing something is the elusive craic, the Gemütlichkeit, the spirit of Gambrinus has upped and left. That pretty much describes last night for me.

Chatting with Ambroz “the barman” on Facebook the other day, he mentioned that they hadn’t seen me in PK for a while, which was true. Mrs Velkyal was having a night of being crafty at her "Stitch n Bitch", for the best part of the last year she has been hand sewing a quilt of which she is rightly proud, so I decided I would pop along and prop up the bar for a while. I arrived to discover that the entire downstairs area was reserved for a function of one kind or another – PK is excellent for functions of about 50 – 70 people, it was where Mrs Velkyal and I had our reception – and the upstairs was pretty full too, but I pulled up a chair at a table and ordered a beer, I think the staff may have been shocked that I only had small ones last night.

The first beer I had was from the small town of Strakonice in southern Bohemia, Velkopřevor Svetlý Speciál, a 14° lager. It can be quite difficult finding Strakonice beers in Prague, which is a shame really as I would like to firm up my positive view of their 10° lager, Nektár, without having to bother going to Strakonice itself, as there is very little there unless you are going at the same time as the International Bagpipe Festival. The beer in front of me was a dark golden colour, bordering on amber with a white head, which disappeared quite quickly. It has a nice floral nose, with grassy and herbal elements chucked into the mix, at one point I thought I noticed the merest hint of banana. I found it difficult to really nail down a flavour, other than the fact that it is quite bitter and alcoholic, and although there are sweet undertones, they are not enough to really balance out the beer. It almost reminded me of Tesco Value marmalade, bitter oranges with sugar chucked on top. Overall it was a disappointing, simply a stronger version of their 12° Dudák, which is nothing special.

It took me a while to decide what to try next, and eventually I plumped for the 13° polotmavé 7 Kuli from Pivovar Benešov, home of the Ferdinand ranges of beers. I have heard many good things about this beer from various people, when it arrived on the table I was encouraged, a beautiful ruby colour with a distinctly creamy head. Sticking my nose in the glass and there were traces of liquorice, pepper and even a touch of basil – three of my favourite smells on the planet. Thus it was with expectation that I took my first mouthful, and sure enough it was malty and quite sweet. However, I found the sweetness to be rather syrupy, and the beer in general to be uninspiring, perhaps I was unconsciously comparing it with the Purkmistr polotmavé which I thoroughly enjoyed.

At this point I decided that the best course of action was to bail out. I had arranged to meet a friend, so rather than subject him to me in a bit of a grump I cancelled and wandered off home to a bottle of Hobgoblin and a mix on my computer of Wolfstone, Cahornega, Anuna, The Chieftains and Carlos Núñez. So the night turned out to be rather mellow in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What a Pickle

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of my favourite Czech pub snacks , which left me in something of an nostalgic reverie. When Mrs V a...