View Full Version : Called to the Bar - How to make a brewmaster smile

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20-09-2010, 22:58
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Unsmiling, pony-tailed brewmaster; ornate tattoo on leg. At the table he sits, the beers he makes brought into play at the behest of Brits (plus American expat Evan Rail who acts as interpreter). Pivovar Modra Hvezda (http://www.modra-hvezda.cz/) in the village of Dobrany, a hotel brewpub opposite the the market square; Sunday silent. Where are all the people I ask, thinking of the bustle and briskness that enlivens my local over Sunday lunch. Most at home or visiting families I’m told. I know that if I lived in this rather appealing village I would be here most Sundays studying the substantial beers of brewmaster Petr. Here he’s been since 2003, a refugee from Pilsner Urquell (http://www.pilsnerurquell.com/in) (oh look is that a smile creasing across his face as he recalls his past employers? Go on you can do it). The creator of an excellent range of beers, all of which he’s brings out for us to try as we sit in a small ballroom with a stately family feel. 10˚ is unfiltered, orange coloured in the glass, topped with a firm head of foam. Nose of crushed grain and barley biscuit, a fresh, life-enhancing aroma that wakes me up to the endless possibilities that good beer brings. Resiny hop notes tingle along as well. For a 4% beer there’s a lot going on and I haven’t even had a swig. Oh go on then. In the mouth it’s bittersweet, full flavoured and dry and bitter in the finish. Gorgeous, we concur. Unsmiling the brewmaster remains. 12˚ is slightly darker, with dry dusty grain, caramel, floral notes and a slight pepperiness on the nose. A swig brings forth hints of fruit gums, a slight sweetness with a dry and bitter finish that goes on and on. This is the brewery’s bestseller. The 17˚ gets 50 days maturation and is sweetish on the nose with a background pungent hop character; a thick mouthfeel and alcoholic fieriness contrasts with a smoothness as it washes over the palate. Let’s go to the dark side: the 14˚ Tmavy Special is elegant at the start in the mouth, but has a mid-palate sourness (think plums) that shakes things up in a good way. There’s also a rye-like toastiness with a slight alcohol warmth. Think cold mocha coffee with a nip of booziness. It might be a dark beer, but held up to the light you can see red chestnut tints, which leads Petr to say that with Czech dark beers you should be able to see through them; that he maintains — unsmiling or is that the glimmer of a grin? — is the difference between dark and black beers. Several other beers follow including a thirst quenching wheat beer and a sweet confection of a raspberry beer. Ever the wuss I decline the beer schnapps. We repair to the brewhouse where Petr finally smiles and hands out a sample of the 16˚ amber from the tank. It is full and bitter, very bitter, though smoothish, but not as smooth as it will be — it’s only had three days in the tank (time’s winged chariot). It’s young and immature but still gives off an idea of what it will be like when it grows up. And Petr smiles again or is he just glad to be rid of us…

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GmjnOI2FKxc/TJfNQx_FJKI/AAAAAAAAAg8/xJ-x90218kg/s200/P1020631.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GmjnOI2FKxc/TJfNQx_FJKI/AAAAAAAAAg8/xJ-x90218kg/s1600/P1020631.jpg)Oh look he’s smiling


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