Brewery of the Month – July

While we are of course bound to the finesse of Czech brewing traditions, we do enjoy trips across borders to see what’s brewing in other lands. With a free weekend ahead of us we decided to travel to Slovakia’s capital city of Bratislava to see how many breweries we could manage, and to give you our second Slovak brewery post this year.

In fact, we actually managed 5 breweries but our first stop was our priority – we wanted to spend some of the warm summer day sat on the calm lull of the Danube (Ralph’s favourite river), at the Dunajský pivovar.

The most immediately striking thing about the Dunajský pivovar is simply that it is on a boat. Sitting on the deck, enjoying the morning sun with a fresh lager brewed on the flow of one of Europe’s most stunning rivers, is a gratifying experience. We did try to pick the perfect table but were immediately asked to move as there were only two of us and it was a big table. So we were shifted to a small table round the corner. No problem – we were still sat staring at the river and city before us.

Introduced in 2014 by it’s older brother, the Patrónsky pivovar, the Dunajský brewery sits on the Petržalka side of Bratislava, and doubles up as a ‘botel’. It also has a restaurant offering taditional food. We were only here for the beer though, and as neither of us are fans of the ‘tmavy’ (dark) beer we went for the standard 11,5 degree lager instead. Although perhaps not the best beer in the city, it certainly wasn’t bad, and a cold brew was certainly much welcomed on this fine summer’s day. The restaurant itself is a bit posh for our simple tastes, and the service was a relaxed pace, but the atmosphere of the Danube is second to none.

Brewery of the month – June

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Lanius Brewery – Mierové námestie 20, 911 01 Trenčín, Slovakia

A couple of months ago, I was on a jaunt around Slovakia and decided to make my journey to Senec (to watch Wales U19s!!) a little bit easier, I took a 4hr train from Kosice to Trencin. Now, it’s a town I know well – I’ve been to the Pohoda music festival a few times, it’s got the greatest football floodlights in the country, Klub Luc is where it’s at for evening entertainment and the castle, built on top of a steep rock is one of the finest in Europe… To add to that, it now has a brewery and Lanius is June’s pivovar of the month.

They brew their various kinds of beer at house number 20 on the main square, naming the brewery after the first owner of the house, a certain Thomas Lanius, who lived there in 1649…I am not sure if it’s any coincidence, but Lanius is Latin for Butcher.. and old Tom was indeed a butcher… What are the chances…

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To provide more background to breweries in the town, there was a time in 17th century when Trencin had 40 breweries, many of them private. Now for a size of the city, that seems a few too many and with the onset of the industrial revolution of the 19th century, these were replaced by large-scale production in the modern breweries close by. By the end of the century, the last brewer had brewed his last beer in Trencin…until Lanuis produced their first beer in 2014.

After taking in the AS Trencin v Zilina game, I made my way straight to bar for some beer and nosh and I was not disappointed. Lanius usually have a selection of beers on tap and an excellent choice of food on the menu. Conservatively, I went for the 12 degree Bohemian Lager, but in hindsight I should have gone for the tasting tray as previously in the day someone had recommended their Mandarina IPA…there is always a next time.

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As with all Microbreries the prices are a little bit more than the euro you could pay for a Corgon or Saris, but there’s a lot of love that goes into making craft ales and Lanius have added that to their various beers. So, if you are in Trencin and looking for a nice place to spend the evening, we highly recommend a visit to the brewery and grab some food if you feeling a bit peckish. You won’t be disappointed.

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Brewery of the Month – May

Moritz – Nešverova 2, Olomouc

Olomouc is one of the most striking, and most historic, cities in Moravia. Famous for its baroque and Gothic architecture, it has more fountains than you can shake a stick at and boasts its very own astronomical clock to rival Prague – a clock which, in one last act of spite, was all but destroyed by the retreating German force at the end of the Second World War. Interestingly, the clock was reconstructed in the 1950s in the Socialist Realist style and features proletarians rather than saints. Now there is some debate about whether to maintain this style or revert it to its original form.

This fine student city is also home to a number of quality breweries, and after working up a thirst touring the town’s monuments it is worth taking a stop. As with every visit to Olomouc we made a quick visit to Svatováclavský pivovar on the way in to the town centre. You can’t really go wrong with this place – friendly service, great beer and it’s the place to come if you fancy a beer spa. However, on this trip we had a different brewery in mind.

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Klobasas Michal and Wingy demonstrating the beer spa at Svatováclavský pivovar

We made one more stop before our final destination – the minipivovar Riegrovka Steakhouse. Certainly not a bad choice of beers but the polished interior and awful music meant it was not our kind of boozer. The steaks do look pretty good though…

After some detours we finally made it to our goal – the Moritz minipivovar. This is certainly a favoured option if you are looking for some traditional Czech food, especially involving some of the locally made tvarůžky cheese. An acquired taste for some, but when you do acquire a preference for this smelly, sticky number there is no going back. The basement pub certainly has a rich, traditional atmosphere, and it’s a nice place to sit and have a drink by the brewing tanks. Our soups were a little slow arriving but that did mean we had time to try full pints of both the 11 and 12 degree lagers. The 11 was a particularly good choice. Moritz doesn’t have a huge range of beer options but the quality is worth stopping for, and moreover so is the food. It’s definitely on our list of places to return to next time we’re in Olomouc.

Brewery of the month – April

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Městský pivovar Štramberk – Náměstí 30, 742 66 Štramberk

“Do you fancy stopping off in another town on our way back to Brno?” My mate Steve said to me over a coffee on a cold Sunday morning . At that precise moment, we were in the restaurant of Hotel Plast in Cesky Tesin, a town on the Czech/Polish border..
My suggestion was Stramberk famous for it’s Truba castle tower, timber houses and it’s Stramberk ears.

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The ears, I hear you say…?? Well the ears are connected to the Mongol invasion of 1241. Apparently, the Mongol army used to cut off the ears of Christians and send them to their khan as some kind of trophy… Gingerbread ears are now baked and sold all over the town to commemorate this…charming, hey?
An additional reason to visit the town is the brewery situated on the main square and a fine brewery it is too.

After 150 years the Town Brewery revived the local tradition of brewing beer in Štramberk at the location where beer used to be brewed and tapped centuries ago. Today they brew a light unfiltered Pilsner type lager and dark unfiltered lager named Trubač.

During a beer tour of Europe, Stan Sesser, a reporter of the Wall Street Journal, labelled local dark beer as “the best dark beer of 2006 in Central Europe”. in addition to the brews just mentioned and if your tastebuds allow, the brewery also offers their own special beers with sour cherry or plum flavour.

Local homemade cuisine is famous for its specialties prepared not only in beer. If you want the gourmet experience to go with your pivo, we highly recommend you try the goulash, although it has been mentioned that they serve up some excellent pork scratchings too,

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The town itself is a must, if you are in the area – be prepared for hill from the train station – it’s a steep one.

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