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Showing posts from September, 2015

Czeching It Out - A Trip To The Zoo

I love zoos. Animals are great and I love getting the opportunity to see animals that I've not seen before, even if it is in captivity.

As soon as I learned that Prague Zoo has polar bears, I was sold. It's unlikely that I'll ever get the chance to see one in the wild, so I figured it'd be cool to visit.

Getting from where I stayed in Smichov, to the zoo, took a lot less time that I anticipated considering it's right on the outskirts; a long tram journey past AC Sparta Praha stadium, past the ice hockey rink, then onto a bus. The trams are crazy in Prague... like at one point, the tram basically went up a spiral road.

A fiver to get into the zoo is an absolute steal considering the average cost of entry to a British zoo is around £20 and to be honest, it did make me a little concerned as to how the animals would be kept, but it turns out they all seemed really happy.

Wandering around for a bit, seeing common zoo animals like Red Pandas and Macaws before finally fin…

Czeching It Out - Beer Geek Bar

Fresh off the train from Plzen, maybe a little inebriated, I decided to head to Beer Geek Bar, which I'd heard good things about.

Although I love the traditional Czech lagers, I knew there was more to the beer scene over there and I was sure I could find some form of non-traditional Czech beers, IPAs, Pale Ales and the like.

Off the tram. Cross the road. Down a stair case. A new, clean looking bar. It's busy, but not rammed. Familiar set up of taps on the back wall. 30 taps. I'm going to have fun. A good selection of beers from all around Europe; a couple from the USA; and oh look, Brewdog bottles in the fridge.

To my surprise, pale ales and IPAs are all served in Spiegelau IPA glasses.

I started with Matu┼íka Raptor, a 6.3% IPA that's as juicy as any American style IPAs you get in the UK... Amarillo and Cascade work really well with the Czech hops they're also using, to give you a proper juicy banger. Light grapefruit, a bit of bitterness, lovely.

Next I went for B…

Czeching It Out - Pilsner Urquell

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It's around midnight and I'm descending into Prague on a Wiz Air flight from Luton Airport. A blinding flash of light. A deafening bang. Not the greatest start to my 26th year on this planet, with the fear of imminent death. The air crew weren't fazed; sitting; chatting amongst themselves. You could cut the tension on the plane with a butter knife.

We land. We're still alive. The captain speaks, telling us we're all very lucky to have experienced something so rare as a light on the side of the plane exploding... nobody laughs.

It's pissing it down. Taxi. Get to the hotel. Apparently the room I'm in is actually around the corner. Follow the map. Drenched. Open a door. The scene in front of me with bright lights shining on a rainy courtyard reminds me of the final episode of Prison Break Season 2 when Michael goes to SONA.

Up early, walk to Tesco, breakfast. Tesco is amazing in the Czech republic, by the way. It's big. I couldn't find an umbrella. Past…

Maris Otter 50 Festival

Maris Otter is a variety of malting barley that, as beer drinkers, most of us are familiar with. It was introduced in 1966 by H Banham of Norfolk and is incredibly popular all around the world.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this wonderful strain of barley, a beer festival was organised and put on by David at Norfolk Brewhouse where the idea is that 50 breweries, mostly from the UK with a smattering of foreign breweries would brew a one off, limited edition beer using Maris Otter malted barley.

It's a great way to celebrate this wonderful variety of barley, so I figured that despite being iller than the Beastie Boys, it'd be rude not to pop along... once, twice or even thrice!

Venue:

The venue was Open in Norwich, which is primarily used for gigs. I've been to a few here and it's always a good venue. It worked for the beer festival too. Two, long, double stacked rows of casks with a keg bar at the back. Upstairs was food (we'll get to that later) and my buddy …

We Need to Talk About Sours

Sours, arguably the latest craze in the beer world that has become more than that. It has become an obsession. Obsession is not healthy, in any scenario, and it can often lead to the demise of something good.

I like sour beers but these days I can't move for them... they're everywhere, whether they're on keg, in bottle, in can or on cask. The latter format is the one that makes me laugh most considering sour cask ale has always been attributed to the beer being off, unintentionally, whether it's the brewer's fault the beer got an infection or poor cellarmanship. Admittedly, you don't see too many sour beers on cask, because if I'm going to generalise, the vast majority of people who drink almost exclusively cask beers are the type who wouldn't like sour beer.

I recently did the Bermondsey Beer Mile and literally everywhere I went had some form of sour beer... Brew by Numbers, Kernel (arguably the first in the UK to make them), Partizan, Anspach and Hobd…