Thursday, October 22, 2009

Smoky business

When reading beer blogs or travel books, there are always some places that end up on my shortlist. One of them was the Klášterní Pivnice in Prague. Located near Letenske namesti, the hospoda is easy to find after a short walk from the tram stop.

I entered Klášterní Pivnice on a Saturday afternoon. The outer room with gambling machines and the bar was more or less empty, while there were about ten people in the inner room. I sat down and ordered a half litre of Klášter světlý lezak. At below 20 CZK this is a fantastic price for a very good lager beer. They also sell Klášter's dark lager at the same price.

In the glass, Klášter is a golden lager with a large head. There is very little carbonation, and the nose is very flowery. The beer has a hoppy hint, and is a very drinkable lager beer. There is some bitterness in the finish, but in all a very lovely lager that I really like.

While sitting in the room, I felt a little snack was in order. There were several possibilities, and I ended up ordering a syrova klobasa, cheese sausage.

The sausage tasted much better than it looked. It was full of meat and had bits of lovely cheese in it. It was very filling, and for 25 CZK a really good bargain. It was served with mustard, pickled cucumber and horseradish, which has become a favourite for me when I order food in the Czech Republic.

Klášterní Pivnice is a smoky place. The customers looks like chain smokers, and that made my visit there shorter than it should be. I have no problem with some cigarette smoke, but this place had unfortunately too much for me. But there was something holding me there for a while. Lately, Klášterní Pivnice sells more than Klášter's beers on tap. There are Rychtar signs all over the place, and the day I visited there were two boards advertising for Steiger lager as the day's special.

As I had never tasted Slovak beers before, a taste of Steiger was a must. Steiger is a pale lager, and it has a fruity nose. It has more notes of hops than Klášter, and the aftertaste is very bitter. There is also a hint of apples there. In all, Steiger is a good session beer, but Klášter is the better lager and the one I will order if both are available.

I would like to revisit Klášterní Pivnice, but then I will do it before noon to avoid all the cigarette smoke. It looks like a nice place to be, and the beer prices and beer quality is very good. So let's quote the famous actor: I'll be back!

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