Beer is simple really. You can make a world class beer with just 4 ingredients, enough Pilsner malt, Saaz hops, water and yeast to make a 12° Plato pale lager and hey presto. Sure the process of doing the triple decoction is a wee bit involved, but not exactly rocket science if you have the right kit. At the moment I don't have the right kit and so I would rather not make lager at all than make it using any other method, that's just me though. I am sure there are fine lagers being made using an infusion mash but when I do venture into lagerworld then I want to make Czech style pilsners more than any other style of beer.
I don't want to cover the same ground as I did with my Keeping it Simple post from a fortnight ago, but over the weekend a parallel thought came to mind. Not only do I like my beer simple, I like my watering holes fairly simple as well. I am not a fan of fads, treads and the latest, greatest innovation that promises to revolutionise my very existence - that may explain why I don't have a smart phone or an iPod (my MP3 player is about 6 years old - it still works so no need to change it). Perhaps as I trotter happily into my mid thirties, I find the thought of drinking in a proper pub more comfortable than going to a brightly lit trendy bar? The only problem with that notion is that I have always preferred proper pubs and boozers as opposed to clubs and bars.
Eric from Relentless Thirst hit the nail on the head when we were last at Devils Backbone by describing Mrs Velkyal and I as "pub-centric" people. The pub has played a massive part in our life and relationship, we met in one and had our wedding reception in the same pub, Pivovarský klub back in Prague. Actually we spent most of our evenings in Prague in a pub of some kind, when we would go to watch Liverpool, we went to the pub, if we couldn't be bothered cooking dinner, we went to the pub, when we went on mammoth 3 hours walks along the river, we ended up in a pub. When I decided in 2008 that I wanted to write a pub guide to Prague, I knew that the focus was on pubs rather than beer - hence you'll find places that sell Staropramen or Gambrinus in the guide, because they are good pubs.
I bang on and on about pubs that I like, places like Devils Backbone, Flying Saucer in Columbia and my much missed places in Prague, U Slovanské lípy and Pivovarský klub for starters, simply because the pub, for me, is the natural place to drink beer. Where though are your favourite drinking holes? Why do you like then? What makes you come back time after time?