Posts Tagged ‘czech republic’

Žatec (304 of 1001)

Rating: 3.35

Žatec is a beer that is named after the town first responsible for grown Saaz noble hops (Saaz being the German name for Žatec as a result much of the credit away from the town). This one is a beer that I managed to stumble upon in London before heading out to a club for the night and was surprised when I discovered it featured on the 1001 beers list so naturally I ordered a pint. The bar in question, Smith’s of Smithfield also happened to have bottle of the stuff available but I opted for draught this time round. The beer is brewed by Žatecký Pivovar which is the oldest brewery in the Czech Republic to be continually brewing on the same site so there’s a lot of history here despite the fact that this particular lager was first brewed in 1964 and naturally uses plenty of Saaz hops.


Appearance (2/5): There was quite poor lighting in the bar when I tried this one but it looked to be quite a light amber colour with a clear body that had the odd bubble rising to the surface. The head was a fairly disappointing one with nothing more than a very thin, soapy white lacing on top that was patchy and bit little to cover the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): The beer was sweeter than average for a pilsner, some nice vanilla and butterscotch notes kicked things off with some corn and lager malts not too far behind. I managed to detect some biscuit and a touch of grain as well but in truth it was quite a light beer on the nose.
Taste (8/10): Biscuit malts and some sweetness start of the taste of this one, there was also some butterscotch that had previously featured in the nose as well. Some grains and bread like taste come through around the middle with some nice grassy and Saaz hops. A nice tasting beer and a definite improvement on the nose, the beer was an interesting plisner and quite enjoyable too.
Palate (4/5): Quite a crisp beer with a fresh and sweet feel to it but also one with a good balance. It almost seemed creamy in places with a body what fell somewhere around medium and had a nice tang towards the end.

Overall (15/20): This one got off to quite a shaky start with a less than impressive look and an aroma that could definitely have been stronger but it managed to sort itself out come the second have with the taste being a marked improvement on the nose and really quite enjoyable too. There was more sweetness than I’d expected but the balance was good and it was a beer well worth trying, if only if looked and smelt better though.

Brewed In: Žatec, Louny, Czech Republic
Brewery: ŽŽatecký Pivovar
Also Known As: Žatec Blue Label (Bright Lager)
First Brewed: 1964
Type: Czech Pilsner
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Smith’s of Smithfield, Farringdon, London
Price: £4.95


Chodovar Zámecký Ležák Special 13° (243 of 1001)

 Rating: 3.95

I’m down to my last one or two Czech bought beer with this one now, another Chodovar beer that I picked up in Prague airport last month when leaving the city and this time it is there flagship pilsner that I will be reviewing. This is one of the beers I had been on the lookout for in Czech Republic as it is one of the beers from the country that feature on the 1001 beers list but as it happens I had no luck finding it in Prague itself until I stumbled across it in a café/shop in the airport and quickly grabbed it along with the other Chodovar beer, Zámecké Černé, that I reviewed here previously. I fairly enjoyed that previous offering so I am expecting good things from this one, especially considering it is a Czech pilsner and it’s becoming increasingly rare for me to find any bad ones from the country, hopefully this one doesn’t spoil it for me.
Chodovar Zámecký Ležák Special 13°

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a fairly bright looking amber with plenty of visible carbonation and a large, two-fingers tall head that seems to hold very well initially. The head looks quite creamy with some nice lacing on the sides once the head finally does subside some, and the beer itself is a very clear looking one.
Aroma (8/10): Quite fresh on the nose with some nice grassy hops and a few hints of citrus that is quickly followed by some medium strength lager malts, biscuit and sweetness. The citrus comes more into its own around the middle and some background hops also feature, as does some sweetness with some spice making an appearance as well. Quite a lively one on the nose with a good balance and a pleasantly sweet aroma throughout.
Taste (8/10): Sweet malts, some biscuit and bread flavours coming through with the grassy hops from the nose. There was some citrus as well and a bit of spice from the Saaz hops that are typical of most Czech pilsners I’ve had of late and this one is a very good example of the style. The taste is definitely more malty than I was expecting, particularly after the aroma seemed to be leaning more towards the hops.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and a sweet mouthfeel that almost seemed creamy. The citrus left a tickling tang on the tongue and the beer was well-carbonated, crisp and moderately bitter towards the end.

Overall (17/20): Another Czech brewed pilsner, another cracking beer; I’m starting to see a pattern developing here. This was was thicker than I was expecting, with a great feel to it that bordered on creamy, this coupled with the sweet malts and biscuit flavours were a nice change up from the more hop and citrus filled aroma. The beer was very easy to drink and is again another that is up there with the best that the style has to offer.

Brewed In: Chodová Planá, Okres Tachov, Czech Republic
Brewery: Pivovar Chodovar
First Brewed: Brewery since 1573
Type: Czech Pilsner
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased:  Prague Václav Havel Airport, Prague, Czech Republic
Price: 55Czk (£1.63 approx.)

Staropramen Tankové 11°

Rating: 3.9

Before heading to Prague last month one of the things on my to-do list was to check out one of the many ‘tank’ pubs that are dotted about the city and basically serve beer straight from the tank. The beers are unpasteurised and as such don’t last anywhere near as long as their bottled versions meaning that they are rarely, if ever found outside of the Czech Republic. The beers are said to have a much fuller and more malty taste and since the pubs are usually traditional and local pubs, the prices reflect this and are pretty cheap. After a bit of searching I found a few in the city but none seemed to have any outdoor seating available until I stumbled across one, V Cípu, literally a stones throw away from the main square Old Town in Prague. This particularly one was a Staropramen pub which was helpful since I already knew what their bottled and normal draught version tasted like and was able to make a comparison. Here’s what I thought of this version.
Staropramen Tankové 11°

Appearance (4/5): A nice golden amber colour with a slight touch of copper running through it. There was a large, three centimetre tall, foamy white head on-top that had good retention and left nice lacing on the sides as I worked my way down the glass.
Aroma (8/10): Some nice Saaz hops and touches of spice to start things off, along with some nice grassy hops and a lot more malts than is usual for a Czech pilsner. There was some light biscuit and touches of caramel although the caramel was quite faint. The beer was a lot stronger on the nose than I was expecting for a pilsner but it was a good one.
Taste (7/10): Like the aroma, this one starts with some nice spice and hops plus some earthy malts and a few grassy flavours. There is some biscuit and light, sweet malts plus a subtle amount of bitterness, again from the hops. The beer seems a lot fuller and more creamy than the normal Staropramen and this is definitely a plus.
Palate (4/5): Medium, almost full bodied and quite thick, especially considering the beer is a Czech pilsner. Very soft carbonation is the order of the day and I could detect a fair amount of spice on top of a clean and wet finish that featured some light bitterness.

Overall (16/20): This one was a very nice beer and a definite improvement on the original Staropramen, it had a much fuller and more malty taste yet still remained smooth, easy to drink and surprisingly refreshing; although that may have had more to do with the fact I was sitting in a Prague beer garden in the sun drinking it. I wonder if all Czech tankové beers taste like this?

Brewed In: Prague, Czech Republic
Brewery: Pivovar Staropramen
First Brewed: 1871
Type: Czech Pilsner
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Draught (500ml)
Purchased: V Cípu, Prague, Czech Republic
Price: 29Czk (£0.86 approx.)

Staropramen Nefiltrovaný

Rating: 4.0

This one is another new Czech beer and on that I was able to try on-tap in a ‘tank pub’ that specialises in unpasteurised beers although this particular offering did not fall under that category, a review of a ‘tank beer’ from the same Prague pub will follow shortly after this one though. This Nefiltrovaný beer from Staropramen is on that is also available in bottles and is labeled as an unfiltered pale wheat lager that uses coriander and apple extracts in the brew. To be honest I couldn’t really detect any of the apple flavours but the beer definitely reminded me of a wheat beer and was quite an enjoyable offering.

Staropramen Nefiltrovaný

Appearance (5/5): A cloudy looking, golden yellow colour and topped with a one centimetre tall, foamy white head that holds well and steady. There is some nice lacing on the sides as well and the beer almost looks creamy, in particular the texture of the head does anyway.
Aroma (7/10): This one is quite spicy with some strong banana and yeast notes coming through alongside a little clove and coriander. I could detect some citrus notes, mainly lemon but with a few hints of orange as well. The beer seemed like a hefeweizen at times on the nose, albeit a much weaker version of the style but it wasn’t a bad one at all.
Taste (7/10): Much like the aroma with some yeast and banana coming through alongside some wheat but again these weren’t as strong as you’d normally find with a standard wheat beer. There was some coriander and again some clove in there plus plenty of citrus and fruits flavours that gave the beer quite a sweet taste. I couldn’t really detect any of the apple mentioned in the brewers notes but again the taste wasn’t a bad one.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and fruity with lively carbonation and some sweetness. The beer was quite refreshing, particularly under the Czech sun and had a good, wet finish to it with a slight citrus tang.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a nice beer and one that certainly seemed like a wheat beer when I was drinking it, although it was definitely a weakened version of the hefeweizen style with the banana and wheat flavours not as pronounced as I would have expected. Regardless of what style you class the beer as, it was a pleasant offering from Staropramen and one I’d pick up again as a session beer if I could find it in the UK, and it was reasonably priced of course.

Brewed In: Prague, Czech Republic
Brewery: Pivovar Staropramen
Full Name: Staropramen Nefiltrovaný Ležák 12°
First Brewed: 1871
Type: Spice/Herb Beer (Wheat Beer)
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Draught (500ml)
Purchased: V Cípu, Prague, Czech Republic
Price: 33Czk (£0.98 approx.)

Bernard Kvasnicová Desítka

Rating: 2.4

Another beer from the Bernard brewery now, my second beer from them and another that I pickd up from a local mini-market in Prague to drink later the same night in my hotel. This one follows on from the bottle of Bernard Černý Ležák that I reviewed here at the tail end of last month. I opted to pick this one up because I knew that another beer from the brewery, Bernard Celebration, features in the 1001 Beers book and since the label on every bottle was in Czech I took just grabbed any beer from the brewery and hoped for the best. As it turned out, this was not one of the beers to feature in the 1001 beers list and sadly it turned out to be a fairly poor offering; here’s what I thought of it anyway.

Bernard Kvasnicová Desítka

Appearance (3/5): An incredibly clear looking, golden amber colour with a thumb-sized, foamy white head that leaves some lacing on the sides as well.
Aroma (5/10):
 This one had a fair amount of bitterness and some hops upfront with a hint of sweetness as well and some hay as well. There was some subtle, grassy hops but nothing extreme although there was a slightly skunky aroma towards the end as well.
Taste (5/10): Grassy hops and some light, lager malts with some skunk as well. There was some biscuit coming through alongside an earthy flavour that seemed to be the dominate taste of the beer. It was quite basic throughout and fairly light on the taste buds as well.
Palate (2/5): Lively and well-carbonated with some bitterness and a fairly skunk feel to the beer. It was at least quite crisp but not particularly fresh and to be honest it wasn’t anything special sadly.

Overall (8/20): This one was definitely one of the poorer Czech beers I tried whilst in Prague and not one I really enjoyed sadly, if it wasn’t for Haze Cannabis Beer or the Duff Beer that I tried in the city then this would probably have been the worst. The taste was poor and quite skunky with nothing to really save it in any other department; a poor beer and definitely one to avoid.

Brewed In: Humpolec, Vysočina Region, Czech Republoc
Brewery: Bernard Family Brewery
First Brewed: Brewery since 1991
Also Known As: Bernard Light Beer/Bernard Light Yeast Beer
Type: Czech Pilsner
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Hybernská Mini-Market, Prague, Czech Republic
Price: 39Czk (£1.16 approx.)

Chodovar Zámecké Černé

May 14, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 3.9

My first beer from the Chodovar brewery based in the town of the same name, in the Tachov region of Czech Republic, this one being another bottle that I grabbed at Prague Airport last month when leaving the country. This one is one of the darker offerings from what is the oldest brewery in the west-Bohemian area of the country. This particular brewery, whilst not being one I was aware of until picking up this bottle, is apparently famous for being the ‘Original Beer Spa’ and for roughly £25 offers visitors the chance to have a beer bath whilst enjoying a few bottles of the breweries flagship pilsner. The beer bath is essentially a dark lager and water blend in copper tubs that is said to have medicinal benefits, although I’d probably advise against drinking it.
Chodovar Zámecké Cerné

Appearance (5/5): Chestnut brown in colour with a very creamy looking, quite light tan coloured head that sits very nicely on the top and shows little signs of any movement initially and holds well even as I worked my way down the glass, leaving a little lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): Earthy malts and very subtle hops with a touch of spice in there as well. Some chocolate and a touch of sweetness with some caramel came next and there was a very faint hint of coffee coming through as well. Strong and well-balanced on the nose, this one came across as quite a good smelling beer.
Taste (7/10): A well-balanced mix of chocolate and caramel with a pleasantly sweet taste and some subtle hints of spice complimenting the nutty taste that also features some coffee. The taste seems to mirror the aroma and is quite pleasant whilst still being subdued and not too in your face. Some roasted malts, a touch of sugar and some bitterness round the drink off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Smooth, very smooth in fact and with a subtly sweet taste that hints at some spice. The body is medium and the beer has low carbonation levels that help the beer down. The finish is clean and wet with some light to medium bitterness closing things out.

Overall (15/20): I was pleasantly surprised with this one, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot going in but it was certainly a good beer and one well worth seeking out if you can find it. The aroma and taste very quite similar and the beer was exceptionally smooth with a mellow, well-balanced flavour and mouthfeel. Very nice stuff and quite easy to drink as well, this is a beer I’d be happy to pick up again if I very find it closer to home.

Brewed In: Chodová Planá, Okres Tachov, Czech Republic
Brewery: Pivovar Chodovar
Also Known As: Chodovar Černá Desítka 10°
First Brewed: Brewery since 1573
Type: Dunkel/Tmavý
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased:  Prague Václav Havel Airport, Prague, Czech Republic
Price: 60Czk (£1.80 approx.)

Svijanská Kněžna 13°

Rating: 3.35

This beer, my first from the Svijany brewery in Czech Republic, was a fairly random and last-minute dash and grab purchase while I was waiting on my flight home from Prague’s international airport. I was quickly trying to find some beers from the 1001 beers list and although this one doesn’t feature on the list another from the same brewery does and that was part of the reason I grabbed this one. Founded in 1564, Svijany is one of the oldest breweries in the country and although this one is a dark beer, the brewery is more well-known for its unpasteurised, mainly light lagers. Having been nationalized between 1945 and 1990 under the North Bohemian Breweries umbrella, the brewery has since returned to private ownership and since 2010 the brewery has been owned by the Liberec Investment Fund which also oversees Pivovar Náchod who make the Primátor line of beer.

Svijanská Knežna 13°

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark looking, almost mahogany brown colour and topped with a large, two-fingers tall head that is a foamy looking beige colour with good retention and some lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): Very sweet notes initially with some sugar and chocolate coming through alongside some floral notes, background fruits and light hops. Definitely a sweet one with some earthy notes, raisin and a little treacle coming through as well.
Taste (6/10): Again this one is quite sweet although not as sweet as the aroma, it comes through slightly more subdued with more of an earthy flavour to it. There is some raisin, hints of chocolate, caramel and dark malts with an almost nutty taste; certainly enjoyable but not a stand out flavour to this one.
Palate (3/5): Smooth with about low to medium carbonation and an almost creamy body, the beer also has hints of spice through it.

Overall (13/20): Quite a mellow and light taste that was easy enough to drink but didn’t really do enough to grab my attention or have me desperately want to take another drink. It was nice and the taste was well-balanced but it just seemed like one big blur and I doubt it will be a memorable one.

Brewed In: Svijany, Liberec, Czech Republic
Brewery: Pivovar Svijany
First Brewed: Brewery since 1564
Type: Dunkel/Tmavý
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Prague Václav Havel Airport, Prague, Czech Republic
Price: 60Czk (£1.80 approx.)