A few Monday’s ago we posted our sampling of light and dark beer by Budvar, aka Chekvar, aka Budweiser (click here to read). We enjoyed these and a hearty lunch of root vegetables in one of Prague’s famed basement beer halls: U Medvidku:Full and finished, we noticed something strange: copper brew kettles fed from upstairs:
We walked further into this cave of beer and found a door that lead to stairs. The second floor was the operational hub of Microbrewery.
The brewery is a cramped steampunk delight. Pipes and wires run everywhere. Open top barrels fill the air with bread and honey from a vigorous, bubbling fermentation.I stick my nose in……and nearly collapse (probably from CO2 and not elation). Moderately sized tanks that stored the beer stack against the walls:We grab two of their hand-capped bottles.Oldgott Barique beer, Prague, Czech Republic. .33L $2.50U Medvidku only brews 300 hectoliters a year, in monthly batches, of this bottom fermented, unfilted, unpasturized, 5.2% alcohol beer.Appearance: looks clear, medium ruby amber, with little off white head and small fizz.
Aromas: smell clean with pronounced flavors of hot, sticky toffee and caramel on vanilla ice cream, a sprig of mint, and unused firewood.
Palate: feels off dry, balanced in acid, bitterness, and alcohol, with a medium plus body, and a creamy yet bright texture.
Flavors: taste moderately intense and remind of herb, green apple, marshmallow, honey wheat bread, toasted wood. The palate tastes much more serious and vegetal than nose, a bit dual personality. Medium plus length. Very good (4 of 5).
Now for U Medviku’s widowmaker: Politmavy Special X33 Beer, Prague, Czech Republic. .33l $7X33 is the worlds strongest beer brewed naturally from its original wort. At 12.6% alcohol by volume, it earns a taste on Wayward Wine.
Appearance: Hazy, intense ruby amber, with med bubble, and medium, cream-colored head that collapses quickly.
Aromas: Clean, medium plus intense notes of warm strawberry compote on vanilla ice cream.
Palate: Medium sweet, with low acidity, medium bitterness, high alcohol 12.6%, and full body. The texture is viscous with a slight graininess.
Flavors: Pronounced strawberry compote, rhubarb, and dark chocolate last for a long length. X33 is outstanding quality beer (5 of 5). Unlike Oldgott’s complexity and dual nature, this beer has a singular profile and purpose. It will get you blissfully drunk and fast.
We leave the strange, steampunk world of U Medviku and walk Prague.After many wrong turns and back allies, we find the Jewish quarter, much of which was demolished to drive out the jews and turn Prague into 19th century Paris. However the Old Synagogue survived.
Those rail stairs above my shoulder lead to a secret door. Here was the home of the Golum: a clay monster brought to life by Rabbi Loew to protect the community.
Nearby, we spot the Jewish crematory: packed with tombstones like shark’s teeth.
After a visit to Kafka’s home, dark quickly sets on Prague and we head back to the hotel.
Next Monday’s post takes us to Dresden. But we love wild, intricate, complicated Prague and its fabulous, unexpectedly varied beer. There’s more than Pilsner Urquel here.
AS if Golum and Kafka weren’t enough, their beer has such complex beauty, image compels to taste.
Amazing beer from a complicated place at the edge of the western world. Love. Prague.