Monday, June 1, 2009

Getting My Goat

I guess everyone, if they are honest, has a major industrial beer brand which they once loved and now lament that it simply isn’t as good as it used to be – in particular when the brand is question was once an independent brewer. For me that brewer is Velkopopvický Kozel, who today are one the components of SABMiller’s Czech operations, along with Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus and Radegast.

Back in 1999 as a fresh college graduate who had decided to teach English in Prague for a year before going back home and to the “real world”, I discovered that Kozel was the kind of beer I really liked. It helped that back then it was the beer on tap in Zlatá Hvězda, so I drank copious amounts whilst watching Liverpool. I liked that it was a clean and crisp lager, with a good hoppy bite – I didn’t try the dark back then, which I regret now, having had it recently and thinking it was pretty dire.

Then the brewery was bought by Pilsner Urquell, who in turn got bought by SABMiller and the bean counters took over – sorry if there any accountants reading this, but in future please stick to counting what comes in and goes out rather than changing, some would say ruining and I would agree with them, a lovely product in the name of “extracting brand value” from it.

Last night I went for a stroll in the gathering rainy gloom, and stumbled upon a pub called Kozlovna, and out of sheer nostalgia headed in for a pint of their 11˚ Medium – which you can see in the picture. Nothing spectacular, nothing awful either, but it is nice to see a pub or two dedicated to the Goat. Still though, I have the urge on occasion, like the kid who has kicked his ball into the neighbour’s garden, to ask if I can have my goat back.

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