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.

Blansko “seas” the day in Trebic

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A few years ago as an icebreaker with one of my post-secondary school classes, I asked them all to prepare a joke. The following day, Petr stood up and asked me to name the three most famous beaches in the world. “Copacabana, Rhosilli and …..” , before I could name a third he shouted out “Trebic” (Tre beach) – a poor joke, but it got a lot of laughs and helped the lesson no ends.

Trebic is in a landlocked country and of course it doesn’t have a beach, but it does have a brewery and a football team… so, a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

This was our first away day of the spring season, I don’t really count Stara Risa two weeks ago as the game was played 27km away from their home ground in Jihlava on astro.

Blansko have started the second half of the season, much the same as they did the autumn, a bit hit and miss. The first game was cancelled, the second game we threw away a half time lead to lose 3-1 and then bounced back with a 2-0 victory over Velka Bites. So, we weren’t sure what to expect in Trebic, apart from a good day out.

The squad has been strengthened recently with the signings of the league’s top scorer, Tomas Sodomka, defender Vit Barta and the midfield trio of Dvorak, Kouldan and Petrik.. It looks as though the club had panicked at the thought of dropping down another division and bought a whole new spine of the team. Welcome boys.

We set off as we always do, from Brno Hlavni Nadrazi, Trebic bound with a couple of cans of Radegast to brighten up the trip.

The journey was a splendid one, the train takes you up and bit further up to the heart of the Czech Moravian highlands. We were met by a station guard and sunshine. Ahh, the sun where have you been for the past 6 months.. We were both pleased to see it and by the fact that we able to bask in it for the rest of our trip, we could say the sun was happy to see us too. Hip.. hip..

We always have a plan for days like this and Trebic is blessed with some wonderful tourist sights. The Jewish quarter is one of the best preserved in the world and rightly placed in the UNESCO heritage sight. So, over the river we went to the first port of call, Masaryk’s veiwpoint offering us a lovely view of the city. We are not sure why it’s named after the country’s first president, there’s not a town or city in the Czech Republic which doesn’t have something to remember Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, so Trebic built a view point.

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From there we took a walk past the city walls and down to the Jewish quarter to find the wonderful Cafe Art.

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After our first beer of the day, a delightful Dalesice 11, it was off to the brewery for some nosh and a quick look Basilica. Luckily for us, the kind folk of Trebic built the brewery right next to the monument, giving us the possibility to kill two birds with one beer.

Podklasterni Brewery will definitely feature in our brewery of the month, so I won’t bore you with the details. The highlight of our brief stay there was definitely the goulash soup, the lowlight was the gentleman on the table next to us. Obviously new to technology, he bellowed into his phone so loudly, my mother messaged me from her home in Cardiff to ask him to keep the noise down.

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Onto the game – the stadium in Trebic is one of our favourites in the league.. A covered terrace is a rarity at this level, but Trebic have one and it’s delightful. Our first stop was of course, the club house, where we were greeted by some familiar faces and the obligatory shot of slivovice, which we declined – work the next day, so we stuck to our beer and walked around the pitch to find a spot in the sun.

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As mentioned earlier in the post, Blansko had recently strengthened and it was our new striker, Tomas Sodomka who opened the scoring in 14th minute. Picking the ball up on the left-hand side of the penalty area, he neatly cut inside a bent the ball into the far corner.. If we’d had a song for him, we would have… honest.

The team continued to press and impress throughout the first half against a poor Trebic team. It’s no wonder they are adrift at the bottom of the table. We created chance after chance, but surprisingly couldn’t add to the Sodomka goal. We went in at the break just the one goal in front.

The second 45 was very much a brim full of Blansko on the 45..with us creating havoc with our two new wingers. The biggest surprise was that we finally clinched victory in 79th minute. A penalty gave Sodomka his second,Blansko 3 points and us, a celebratory pivo. Psikal wrapped it up with a 3rd goal with four minutes left to send us all home happy.

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One thing that I enjoy is that the players always come over to thank us for our support with a high five… I think it’s a nice gesture at the end of the game, only if we have won, naturally.

A couple of the players stayed behind to chat to us about holidays and the demise of Tisnov before being summoned back to changing rooms for their own private celebration.

For us it was a beer at the closest pub to the station and train home to Brno with the points safely tucked into our rucksack.

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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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