Friday, February 27, 2009

A Question of Taste

In many ways the scribblings of a blogger, whether of beer or something else, are easy to create and substantiate. For even the most extreme comment you can find at least one person to back me up and say “I know what you mean”. Swimming against a tide is something I am not really bothered by, and sometimes I am very much aware that I don’t agree with fellow bloggers or beer lovers, about a particular range of beers. It is of course a question of taste.

I don’t hide the fact that I am not a fan of Klášter, for me it is nothing special, nothing to go screaming off to the shop at a great rate of knots to spend my 14kč on a bottle of – that’s 40p/$0.75/€0.50 for my British, American and Eurozone readers respectively. And while it may be a decent enough beer to have from time to time on tap, it is not something I would actively search out.

Last night, I decided to take Mrs Velkyal out for dinner. My wife is a pianist by training and in preparation for our move back to the United States she had just seen her piano of several years taken away to a good home. I knew that it would be better to take her out for a meal and a couple of beers to take her mind off the loss of the Joanna. So I got the address of the new place in Žižkov selling the beers of Pivovarský dvůr Chyně from Pivní Filosof and dragged Mrs V. up the hill for something to eat and drink.

Pivní Filosof has mentioned on his blog that we trekked out to Chyně for lunch a couple of weeks back, with the Everards brewer and his wife who were over in Prague on holiday – I fear taking them to several of Prague’s brewpubs may have turned it into something of a busman’s holiday however. The beers that day really did nothing for me, only the 14° dark held out any hope. Unfortunately our trip to the restaurant in Hotel Victor did little to dispel my apathy towards Chyně. Of the three full beers I had, again only the 14° dark satisfied me, the light of the same strength was too buttery for my tastes; the 10° light beer was thin bodied and to my stout mind insipid. It would be easy for me to dismiss my opinions as the ravings of a stout and ale man if it were not for the fact that I have drunk 10° lagers for most of the last 10 years, and have had several which have a complexity of flavour which would put many stronger beers to shame.

In fairness to Hotel Victor, the food we had was quite nice, decent onion rings although dips of various kinds would be nice, an acceptable goulash and Mrs V’s chicken schnitzel tasted as good as it looked. They also had very pleasant service, the lady working the pumps was friendly, helpful and attentive and those are invaluable attributes in waiting staff. As we waited for the bill I suggested that we head the 200m up to U Slovanský Lipy to finish the night with a couple of Kout na Šumavě beers – admittedly in order to show her the difference between Chyně and Kout, were we ran into Iain and Ian of Pivní Filosof commentary fame.

Over pints of Kout's simply magnificent 14° dark and 12° kvásničák we discussed our various opinions about Chyně and I had to admit that I am simply not a fan, to howls of disbelief. However we soon worked out that the main difference between my opinion and that of various others is that I like beers with a bitter bite. I am, as has been noted, very much a stout, bitter and pale ale drinker. I like my beers to have a good hoppy bite and a full body, Ian (sorry guys can never remember which is which) is my polar opposite, can’t stand bitter or stout and yet loves Chyně. I should however say though it is not that I think their beers are bad, as in Gambrinus bad, but just not my thing.

So yes my opinions are simply that, an answer to the question of my taste.


  1. Its good we like different beers, hopefully i can get into the stout and bitter soon.
    Meanwhile dont forget the Chodovar pub.

  2. Bravo! having different tastes it makes the world and people more intersting.

    I too prefer stouts bitters pale and ales over lager...never managed to try i.p.a's which I am hoping to rectify soon with my home brewing.

    But I bet even within these brewing types our tastes would differ from brand to brand :)


  3. Just noticed this pivovarsky dum at chyne is near to me.

    I have been there a few times. The lagers there are superb! - svetle mid and cerne. Far better than pilsner urquell or any other mass produced lager in the czech. Still i too prefer bitters light ales and stouts...especially cask conditioned which I guess would be the closest form of beer found at pivovarsky dum.

    The pivovarsky dum at Ip pavlova serves excellent beers too!


  4. I guess I don't have any one favourite type of beer, although I do prefer them to be bitter - eg Opat Bitter, or even Stepan at Pivovarsky klub. That said I'm quite partial to sweeter beers, like Svijany or Klaster. And you can never go wrong with a good stout or smoked beer...


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