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13-09-2011, 19:21
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And so before checking in to my hotel at U Medvidku (http://www.umedvidku.cz/) I know I have to get to U Fleku (http://en.ufleku.cz/) as it’s just a couple of streets away. Oh there it is, a creamy yellow coat of paint covering a building that wouldn’t be out of place in Bavaria. In through the door, a heavy thing with jowls (where are the antlers I wonder when I go in), and a functionary in a suit welcomes me, I blurt out Pivo and get directed into a side room where Que Sera Sera is being played by an accordionist in check trousers, the sort that I remember being called Rupert the Bear when I was a kid. To make things more comical he has the look of a Corsican bandit from some 19th century print. The room itself has a beer hall ambience — long tables, plenty of dark wood, big metal chandeliers, coloured windows, a tiled floor that must be easy to clean. The waiters, unlike the guys I remember from Dusseldorf and Köln, don’t swarm as much as decide it’s time to come in with a tray of beer. I’ll have one thank you. So here it is, the famous dark beer of U Fleku, a beer I have always wanted to try. It has a roasty, sweet, caramel character and there is a beautiful drinkability. As I take a gulp and look at the ornate pattern of wood frames on the ceiling I’m struck by its sparkling condition. Look at it, it is truly dark in colour and I think that the nose is stern and corseted with not much escaping but on the palate a spectrum of flavour is unleashed, as the straps are unloosened: sweet and dark and roasted coffee and light milkiness with a bitterness in the finish: all in perfect balance. And while I drink the beer the Corsican bandit sings and a couple from Belgium on the table next to me are asked to buy the liqueur (don’t). And I am keen to have my empty glass filled again. But it isn’t and I am going to be late for a meeting so I cover the glass with a beer mat and go. As I leave the Corsican bandit with the accordion is rooting through his pocket for change. It’s going to be a long night.






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