Monday, December 14, 2009

Fuggled Review of the Year - Amber and Dark Lager

This seems to have been a decent year on the amber and dark lager front of things, with new offerings from one of my favourite breweries back in the UK, the continued excellence of many a Czech polotmavé and tmavé, as well as a few good lagers from the USA in this category, although if I am honest the majority of amber and dark lagers over here are as crap as the pale ones.

The three beers which make the shortlist for amber and dark lager of the year are:
Here I must make a confession, in ten years living in Prague, I went to U Fleků a grand total of once and that was back in June while researching for my soon to be released pub guide to Prague (released as soon I sort out a technical issue or two). I had avoided it purely because it is such a touristy place to go, had I known just how damned good the beer was, I would have drunk far less in my formative Prague years but drunk far, far better.

Whilst talking of seemingly touristy places to go, U Medvídků will always be a place I love and hanker for, whether for the lashings of Budvar, the wonderful Czech food (if anyone tells you Czech food is awful then they are pretentious knobs with no idea about being a normal human being), and of course U Medvídků's own range of excellent beers. As lovely as it is from a bottle, Oldgott Barique is simply divine on tap in the secluded little brewery area of this labyrinthine pub.

As for the Kout na Šumavě 18°, a magnificent Baltic Porter which rounded off many an evening in U Slovanské Lípy, I have to agree with the august Evan Rail that it is "simply miraculous". Beautifully smooth and rich, like a dark chocolate cake which is sinful beyond words but oh so damned good, as I say, it rounded off so many nights out to perfection.

This is, again, a very difficult decision to make, but when push comes to shove, I usually go for a beer which I can drink several pints of, as such the Fuggled Amber and Dark Lager of the Year for 2009 is:
  1. U Medvídků Oldgott Barique 13°
I had the pleasure many times this year, with various people I have been lucky to get to know as a result of Fuggled, to sit in the brewery side of U Medvídků and polish off copious amounts of the Oldgott Barique - each and every every occassion as good as the beer lubricating the conversation.


  1. While I'm sure they're delicious -- beers I can neither pronounce or find to drink -- are of limited value when reviewed or honored (in no small part because as an American all things center here - LOL)

    Tastings of exotic Czech brews are a bit like discussing the view from the moon.


  2. I should have realised that 2009 only began on June 30th when I emigrated to the States! How damned foolish of me!!

    So the award for the best amber or dark lager I have had in America goes to.....the first person that can actually provide me with one that matches up to the mythological ambrosia of that far off fictional land called Prague.


    Seriously though, it doesn't cost that much to fly to Prague, and I am sure you would come back raving about the quality of the beer there, and demand our local brewers up their game when it comes to lager.

  3. Where is this Prague Street you speak of in Charlottesville? Near Beer Run?


  4. I have never been to U Fleku before, but the other two nominated beers are beers I have tried several times.

    I agree with your conclusion. The Kout na Šumavě 18° dark lager is a fantastic beer, but the strength will never make it a session beer.

    And then there is Oldgott Barique. What a nice beer, and I felt it could be sessionable as well. It is superior from tap. I had a bottle of it at U Medvídků in October and was quite disappointed by it. The draught version was so much better.

  5. One of the nice things with the draught version is that quite often it is lovely and quite up in the brewery area and you can watch a fresh batch being brewed, savour the smell of the wort - ahhh, beer.

  6. Can't say I disagree with you on your choice here.

    Neither on this:
    (if anyone tells you Czech food is awful then they are pretentious knobs with no idea about being a normal human being)

    Pity that there so many pretentious knobs out there... take a look here just for a little sample

  7. Thought I'd add my tuppence worth...


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