Friday, August 3, 2012

The Session - The Name of the Ring...

"What follows was translated from the original German. Found on top of a pile of papers, only rediscovered in the days of Restitution in 1990 when the government restored property confiscated in the heady days of 1948 and the Communist takeover, in a cobwebbed attic, littered with the remnants of a life hastily packed, a diary lay open...

“November 11th 1842

A few dozen people were gathered at the fair for the feast of Saint Martin, finally the moment had arrived for our new beer to be tasted. Would it be worth the wait? The money? The hassle with the brewer? The success of the last four years depended on the skill of the Bavarian who has spent recent months annoying all of us on the board of directors with his complaining, rough manner and drunkenness.

How bad was our beer in the days before we spent all that money on the English malting equipment? Sometimes it was reasonable, but most of the time it was just too smoky and heavy to drink more than a few mouthfuls of. How we wished we had smashed open barrels of it on the steps of the town hall, but Herr Schmitzer insisted we didn't.

The cask was sat on a bar, Herr Groll looking smart and sober for a change fidgeted, clearly eager to show us the outcome of his labour. Groll turned the tap and out gushed a torrent of golden liquid and bright white foam into the waiting jug.

Around the cask, the directors gasped as the beer, topped with a cap of foam, was poured from the jug into our crystal goblets. How was it possible for beer to be so light in colour, sparkling like the finest French champagne?

We felt as though the very future of our town rested on how the beer tasted...the bitterness of the hops was so much more than any of us had ever known. There was a sweetness there, which Groll said was the product of the English malting methods he used and his special way of mashing the grains. It was without doubt the finest, most refreshing beer we had ever tasted.

To think that we had everything to make such a pure beer right here in Pilsen! Most assuredly Saint Martin has left behind the grape in favour of the grain!”

Forgive the most likely abysmal rip off of Umberto Eco's style for The Name of the Rose, but the truth remains, I would love to have been at the Martinmas Fair in Plzeň, a week before my birthday, to taste Josef Groll's original Pilsner Urquell. To my mind the beers of the Czech Republic inspired by Groll's Pilsner are the finest on earth, end of story...

This month's edition of The Session is being hosted by Drink Drank, the stated topic is "One Beer to Rule Them All"

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