Monday, October 22, 2012

Czech Beer

During our recent trip to Prague, I sampled a good variety of Czech beers. The Czech Republic's beers are well-regarded and considered only second to Belgium for European beers (though the Germans might dispute that). Here are some of the brews I tried.

Starting with the best, I bought Bernard beer because of the growler-style stopper on the top. Also the name made me think of those Saint Bernard dogs with a little cask on their collars for stranded skiers. The beer is delightfully dark and tasty with malty overtones that I like. From their web site, they describe it as
This non-filtered dark lager with a fine yeast culture is an unpasteurized beer brewed from four types of malt, with a distinctive full taste and a fine bitterness. Its special flavour makes it unique on the Czech beer market.
I also had Radegast, which my wife bought because it reminded her of a character from The Lord of the Rings (though it is really named after the Slavic god of hospitality). It has a nice flavor though not as rich as the Bernard. It's a good bitter that I would recommend. Wikipedia has this gem about the name:
Stemming from the name for the beer is the slogan: "Život je hořký: Bohudík", a Czech phrase which translates into English as "Life is bitter: Thank God" (in reference to the beer's "bitter" taste).

Svijany is another beer produced in the Czech Republic through a simple brewing process that makes a fine pilsner. The brewery has been in business for hundreds of years and makes a fine line of products. This pilsner was pretty good but not outstanding for me.

Branik is an okay lager that satisfies your thirst but is nothing super-special. It's good for a hot day or after some hard work (or working for a while on a blog post!). It's named after the brewery in a neighborhood of Prague where it was produced. Staropramen Breweries have since taken it over and put out this popular local beer along with their own beers (which I did not try but did see all over the place).

Kozel is another beer that seemed fun just from the label. What other beverage has a goat drinking it? And not some wimpy or servile farm animal, but a noble-looking beast ready to enjoy a fine ale? In fact (or at least according to their web site) "kozel" is Czech for "goat." And it was a fine ale, coppery and smooth. It's definitely worth a try and a close second to Bernard in my book.

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