Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Dynamic Duo

Pivovar Náchod, makers of the Primátor brand, have one of the most diverse ranges of beer in the Czech Republic. As well as the standard lagers made by practically every Czech brewer, they also make a weizen, an English Pale Ale, a stout and a couple of big hitters – Exklusiv, Rytířský and Double, at 21° and 24° respectively. They also made this year's World's Best Lager - the 16° Exklusiv.With all the strength of a doppelbock, the 21° Rytířský is definitely not a session beer – unless of course you want your session to end early that is – it is 9% ABV! As you can see from the picture this is again a dark golden beer with a huge white head – and was supremely poured by Mrs Velkyal. The nose is quite delicate, with all the hallmark notes of Saaz hops. In the mouth however it is rather sweet and the mouthfeel distinctly syrupy although the slight bitterness comes through in the end, only to be smothered at the last. I found this an easier beer to drink than the Strahov Christmas Special, but only just.
The bully of the school yard however is the 10.5%ABV Double, a strong dark lager – which confusingly is called a porter by the Slovak labelling and a “speciální tmavé pivo” or “special dark beer”. It is certainly a very dark beer, deep ruby with a light coffee head that fades rather quickly. As expected the nose is grassy from the Saaz hops, as well as the slightest hint of caramelized bananas. Taste wise there is a distinctly burnt caramel flavour, with touches of bitter coffee and cocoa, the alcohol leaving a tingling sensation on my lips. Unlike the Rytířský, the Double doesn’t feel syrupy, despite the fact that it is very sweet. I imagine that this would pair up very nicely with the excellent mature farmhouse cheddar that the Cheesey shop sells.

I think I am coming to the conclusion that as much as I like flavourful beers, I am not a big fan of strongly alcoholic beers – especially when they only come in a half litre bottle. I never thought I would be saying this, but the Rytířský and the Double would be better in a 300ml bottle. Powerful and full of flavour, these are nice beers – but certainly not for regular sessions.


  1. I believe the Slovak term "porter" is meant to indicate that Primátor 24° Double is in the Baltic porter style. Unsurprisingly, it's closer to Pardubický Porter, Baltika 6 Porter and Okocim Porter in appearance, aroma and taste than it is to most Doppelbocks, although it is still higher in alcohol than those three. Not my favorite Baltic porter, but it's still a very interesting beer by Czech standards.

  2. Great post!

    While we're on the subject I was wondering if you (or any of your readers) makes a "Baltic Porter"..well Baltic?

    I spent about a year in the Baltic region in 99 during the Kosovo War and thanks, to then General Wesley Clark, the american troops were not able to drink alcohol (except the beers the Swedish troops would trade us for stuff..keep that on the down low!). So I was not able to sample, and to be fair have much of an interest in international beers at that time, nor find any Baltic Porters.

    Again thanks for the info, I know we get some of your selections in the states and your site definetely helps me in my selection process.



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