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.

Blansko “seas” the day in Trebic

IMG-20180427-WA0006

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.

IMG_20180408_124803-1.jpg

IMG_20180408_131000.jpg

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

IMG_20180408_125040.jpg

IMG_20180427_105418-1.jpg

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.

IMG-20180427-WA0004

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.

IMG-20180427-WA0001

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.

IMG-20180427-WA0005

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.

IMG-20180427-WA0000.jpg

Brewery of the month – April

IMG-20180405-WA0002

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.

IMG-20180405-WA0004
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,

IMG-20180406-WA0000

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.

IMG-20180405-WA0003

IMG-20180405-WA0001

 

Brewery of the Month – February

IMG-20180227-WA0001

Minipivovar Veselka – T. Novákové 64, 570 01 Litomyšl

Perched just above the main square and just a stones throw from Litomyšl castle, the Veselka Brewery is a wonderful find in the beautiful little city. The microbrewery serves about 5 variations of Bedřichova beer and the brews are all delicious and fresh with crisp hints of unique flavours.

The brewery was founded in 2013 as one of the smallest producers of beer in the country, so this means the master brewer pays attention to detail. For the token amount of 50kc, you see his work and try and a small pivo served by the man himself.

We also recommend the food, although on the occasion we were there, they had a very limited menu. The interior and exterior of the building might not appear that welcoming, but don’t let that put you off. The service is excellent.

IMG-20180227-WA0000