Friday, July 3, 2009

The Session: Will travel for beer

This month's edition of The Session has "Will travel for beer" as its topic. For myself the journey itself is more important than the beer, but if I have travelled somewhere I need to taste the local beer. I always read about my destinations in guide books and on the internet. It is very important knowing in advance what to expect. Wikitravel and Wikipedia are good sources for basic facts, and now and then some very good tips are found there. For instance I found the excellent U Sadu pub in Prague after reading about in on Wikitravel, and I visited three great gyro stands in Athens from information on the same website.

Nowadays Prague has become a favourite destination of mine. The city offers interesting sights, exciting architechture and good activities and playgrounds for my children. And there are also good opportunities to find good beer in the Czech capital. I have found many gems by reading Pivni Filosof's blog. He has been writing about nice pubs and hospodas, interesting beers and good food. For Prague I can also recommend Evan Rail's book The Good Beer Guide to Prague and the Czech Republic.

Evan Rail's blog, Beer Culture, is also a worthwhile read. You can also find interesting entries about Prague in Velky Al's blog Fuggled. For expats (and also visitors) the website has tons of information about Prague and the Czech Republic. There is also a good forum there. I have also liked reading Brewsta's blog Czech Please, where he writes about food in Prague. He visits both small stands, fast food joints and finer restaurants, and his texts are both informative and entertaining. In addition to these websites, you should also take a look at Prague BeerGardens. Here you can find information about many pubs and beer gardens in Prague together with maps. There are also presentations of different Czech beers.

I also liked the book Me, Myself and Prague: An Unbelievable Guide to Bohemia by Rachael Weiss. The Australian author tells about a year living in Prague, and it is very interesting seeing how she evaluates her Czech experiences with both seriousness and some humour.

I have written some short guides about Prague on this blog earlier. Part 1 can be found here, and part 2 is here. Perhaps you would also like to try my take on a Prague pub crawl?

In addition to the pub crawl I have a real beer gem to tell you about: U Slovanske Lipy.

U Slovanske Lipy is found at Tachovske namesti.

Interior at U Slovanske Lipy.

This is a nice taproom in the Zizkov part of Prague. U Slovanske Lipy is not a fancy place, but it has very nice waiters and fabulous beers. The beers come from the Kout na Šumavě brewery, and this pub was the first one in Prague to offer this beer in Prague.

When I visited the hospoda for the first time, it was in December together with Pivni Filosof. I am thankful and happy for him to introduce me to this great taproom. We had a really good time tasting the different beers. They have two golden lagers and two darker beers.

All four beers are excellent, and they are available at great prices. In January a half litre of their lezak costed 25 CZK.

Kout na Šumavě's 12° lager beer

That is a bargain for a really delicious lager beer, which I feel is one of the best I have ever tasted. Their vycepni is lighter in alcohol, but it is also a great tasting beer.

Kout na Šumavě's 10° lager beer

There are also two darker beers. Both are stronger than the lager beers in alcohol, and they taste very good. The 18° dark beer was my favourite among them, but the strong beer is not recommended as a session beer. Have a glass, and come back later for some more.

Kout na Šumavě's 14° dark lager beer

Kout na Šumavě's 18° dark beer

Or perhaps you should try a Czech tradition, the dzban. A dzban is a jug you bring along to the taproom to take home beer to drink. I do not use a dzban, but a water bottle can be used instead. So every time I have visited U Slovanske Lipy I have taken some 12° lager beer to my hotel room. It is so much better than the Gambrinus usually found in the minibar!

Hmm. Good beer. Perhaps I should return to Prague soon?