Monday, May 24, 2010

Old and new acquaintances in Prague

I have so far been to Prague twice this year, and every time I go to the Czech capital I find new bars and restaurants to visit. In addition to this, there are always some bars I need to revisit.

One such restaurant is U Medvídků in the city centre. In addition to having a nice bar serving all variants of Budvar beers, U Medvídků also brew their own beers. When I was back in March I decided to have another go at the fantastic Oldgott Barique beer.

In the glass Oldgott Barique is a cloudy and copper coloured beer with nearly no carbonation and a large head. It is a delicious beer with pronounced tastes of plums, prunes and melon. I have had this beer several times, and I am very fond of it. It is good from bottles, but divine from tap!

If you ever get to Prague, U Medvídků is a must. You can drink yourself through the different Budvar beers, but do not forget to take the trip upstairs and try U Medvídků's own line of beers including the nice 1466 lager and the fantastic (and strong) X-Beer 33.

Across the Vltava river you can find U Prince Miroslava near the Laurova tram stop. When I was back at the restaurant in March, it offered 13 different draught beers. These days there are even more. According to their web page, U Prince Miroslava now has 18 different draught beers.

The big question at U Prince Miroslava is where to begin. This is one of the few places in Prague to sell Primator Stout from tap, so I always have a pint of that excellent beer. It is a great stout, and I believe it is superior to Irish stouts like Guinness and Murphy's.

On my last visit I also had another taste of Svijany's Kvasničák. This is a kvasnicove, which is a Czech speciality lager where yeast is added after the original fermentation to start a new round of fermentation in the bottle or the keg. I like Svijany Kvasničák with its tastes of yeast, bread and sweetness.

A new beer for me at U Prince Miroslava was Rychtář natur. This is another yeast beer, that I forgot to taste at last year's Oktoberfest in Prague. In the glass this was an unclear and golden lager with little aroma. There was some yeast, which also was present in the mouth with some hints of malts. The finish was bitter, and it was a nice counterpoint to Svijany Kvasničák. Where Svijany's beer can be too sweet in the finish after a few glasses, Rychtář natur is a better session beer.

Across the town, in the neighbourhood of Nusle, you can find the bar and restaurant Zlý časy. This is a place I have been eager to visit after reading a lot of positive posts at different beer blogs. Zlý časy means evil times, and this is a bar specialising in beers. At the moment they have 24 different draught beers, and that alone is a reason to visit.

I entered Zlý časy on a cold and dark January afternoon. I was in a nice mood after visiting several nice bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, I did not fancy Zlý časy at this visit. The man in the bar was grumpy, the toilet was dirty and there were nearly no other guests.

I decided to test out Chotebor's pale lager at Zlý časy. I have lost my tasting notes, but I remember it as a nice beer without being extraordinary good.

I sat at Zlý časy for half an hour thinking if I would like another beer. The waiter indirectly made me decide not to, so I left the cellar bar while making a mental note to come back later. All the beers available and the nice words I have heard about Zlý časy makes me want to give it a second chance.

Near Letenske namesti you can find Klášterni pivnice. When I visited in October, I liked the bar but felt it was way too smoky. I have been back several times this year. The first time I went in the morning to see if it was nicer there then. I was right. With nearly no guests at the hospoda, there was also nearly no cigarette smoke. I liked it even better than ever!

Klášterni pivnice is a great place for Klášter beers. They sell both the dark lager and the 11 degree pale lager. I am very fond of the pale lager, and have had several of them during my visits. In addition to this, Klášterni pivnice has become a bar with a rotating tap. Therefore you are able to taste other beers as well.

On my last visit I had a half litre of Janáček. This was a standard and inoffensive pale lager with malts, some sweetness and a bitter finish. I liked it, but Klášter is the better pale lager at Klášterni pivnice. But Janáček will still be a nice session beer.

Try to visit Klášterni pivnice if you are in Prague, but be there early. The waiters are friendly, and the prices are very low. There are also some nice beer snacks at low prices, but the problem with this place is all the cigarette smoke. In the afternoon it is more or less impossible to enjoy being there.

Another place I like is Budvarka. Budvarka is near the Dejvicka metro, and it is easy to make the restaurant a last stop before going to Prague's airport.

First of all I have been going to Budvarka for the beers. The whole line of Budvar beers are sold there, but the kitchen also makes some great meals. In January I for instance had a great portion of goulasch at Budvarka at a very nice price. For food and two half litres of beer I paid less than 150 Czech korunas.

I can not say if the Budvar beers are best at Budvarka or U Medvídků, but I feel that I go to Budvarka for Budvar and U Medvídků for their own beers. Budvar is one of my favourite breweries. Lately both Budvar golden lagers have been easy to find here in Norway, so I usually buy the dark lager or Budvar's kvasnicove, kroužkovaný ležák. Unlike other yeast beers, kroužkovaný ležák is a clear, golden lager beer, and it is very tasty.

The waiters at Budvarka do a great job. They are polite and efficient, and I enjoy the ambience there. The beers are also very good, and the
kroužkovaný ležák is a beer to be recommended!

1 comment:

  1. Good work ! I like the selection - some places are actually very non -tourist and real Czech! I have started writing a post about Zizkov s Bars and Pubs - have a look at if you like it :)