I arrived on an overnight train from Germany and took a room at a local hotel around the corner from a couple of notable watering holes. I dropped my things, had a cup of coffee and set out for he Brno town square. A short walk through town opened up into Freedom Square, modestly decorated for the Holidays. The differences between German and Czech Christmas markets is striking. The Czechs are not a sort of people to act cheerful in public.
Brno is the third-largest city in the Czech Republic and the largest in Moravia, home to some 400,000 residents and five breweries, three of which are reachable in the city: 1) Pivovar Magistr, 2 km north of old town at Hrncirska 23, 2) Pivovarská Pivnice, west of old town 1.5 km, and 3) Hotel Pegas, located at Jakubska 4 two streets north of Freedom Square (Náměstí Svobody) in the heart of Brno.
The other two breweries in the city-region are Lísensky Pivovar is 7 km east of Old Town in Brno-Líšeň, and U Richarda is located 20 km to the west in Brno-Žebětín. Obviously if you wish to visit both Lísensky and Richarda on the same day, a vehicle rental is in order. I keep a list of my experiences with rentals in my Rental Cars and Beer Travel guide.
Beer in Brno
At Pivni Bar U Rytire I sat in a brick-walled basement dungeon room with a small bar serving Svijany Kvasnicove 12.5° and Krakonoš Světlý Ležák 12°. The Svijany was in fine shape. U Richarda was serving a Tmavý 12° and a Kvasnicove Svĕtlé 12°
Multiple glasses at Vegas Club in Brno and later at Pivnice U Poutníka. Hazed gold body with a perfectly fine and stiff white head. First whiff is "oh snap". As in ridiculously snappy hops and snappy malt: warm buttered biscuits, dried grass, lemon-oil, cheesy must and bread dough from the krausening, but the fermentation is clean and defect-free, Fucking A... Bright, zesty, prickly, buzzing hop acidity exploded by the savory Moravian malt. The bitterness is beyond excessive for Czech tastes, no doubt. Shame because this is what Modern Svetly should be. It’s a punch in the face by Saaz hops, and in the mouth the creaminess and softness is beyond worlds. The thought of this beer makes me drool. Of course this is an emotional response to a memory, and memories are never recalled as they were, as a rule they never are. The act of remembering a memory alters the memory, even immediately after the experience. Yeah this is some. Kept me up drinking until 4 in the morning at a pub that should have closed at midnight. Up until this point I considered the Únětické 12° the best of the trip, but now I’d have to say this is the finest beer to seek out traveling Czech Republic, in my very subjective and humble opinion.
draft at Vegas Club in Brno. cloudy gold with a perfectly patchy white head. vibrant nose (for svelty) with lemon, wheat, dried cut grass, crackers and dough / bakers yeast. prickly and invigorating acid with citrus juiciness and flavorful baked cracker and honey biscuit flavored malt. wonderful stuff all around, and certainly not in the vein of the buttery creamy svetly seen so often in Czech Republic... this one is relatively acidic (in a good way, not sour or vinegar-like) and bitter and crisp and extremely refreshing, as well as remaining well-balanced front to back.
draft. creamy, rich and soft mouthfeel. mild toasted grains and semi-sweet butter in the nose with similar flavor. seems a bit nutty but it’s not quite out of place. a hearty, rich and toasty svetly with exceptional creaminess and frothiness.
draft at Vegas Club in Brno. mild and quiet rustic cracker malt nose with light DMS / sulfur / corn and low hop aromatics, but it’s more clean than dirty. moderately thick and chewy for 12°, with sweet cooked corn and toasted cereal grains and crackers aplenty. drinkable and without any strong flaws, only minor ones, and though it’s a bit oily, it’s the lovely and rich snappy baked cracker and noble hop grassiness that’s most enjoyable, though all generally subtle and quiet and easy to enjoy.
draft. light hazed gold. mild butter and plastic / chemical nose. unclean. medium-light body. light prickliness of acid, medium bitterness. quenching, but carbonation is a little loose and the malt is a bit too rough. sweet crackers and light toasted grains are the focus. decent but a bit plain.
draft at Strakonický Dudák in Brno. cloudy and murky gold body with a fine-bubbled pure white head. so it goes like this: it tasted like sharp and sour citrus acid and then it’s "oh, there’s an orange slice hidden in the head". wonderful. even without it has quite a strange flavor and smell, something like acidic and buttery orange ice cream, the little cups with the wooden spoon that we’d get in grade school. low bitterness, high acid, mostly dry, but overall a very confusing beer which leaves me stumped to describe it further.
draft. roast is surprisingly forward in both nose and flavor. it’s excessively acidic and fizzy but doesn’t come across as buttery diacetyl, maybe it’s more masked by the char and roast, but it’s more metallic and solvent-like. very rough with light burnt plum / ash / char / roast character. dissapointing showing after the delicious Richarda svetly.
draft. clear gold, perfectly rigid fine white head. clean, straight-forward sharp pilsner malt with a barely distinguishable touch of corn, DMS and fusel alcohol. watery body, weak structure, chemical / medicinal like late. a poor take. heard some good things about it after my first try (2.7) and revisited it later than week in Brno and, man, still not good. who knows.
After grabbing sausage and bread on a plate for a snack, I stepped into Pivnice U Poutníka late in the night for a last drink of Kvasnicový Světlý 12° and ended up staying well past 4 in the morning drinking at the bar, alone with the owner, listening to music, both of us carrying our drunkeness through poorly-interpreted simple English. Sex, Drogy a Rokenrol.
Vegas Club was pouring a steller rendition of unfiltered Extra Chmelené 12° Nefiltrovany, a favorite of this entire trip to Czech Republic.
The bathrooms at Vegas Klub have rests for your weary head while peeing, a very handy wall accessory that is rarely seen.
I stand around this mead booth for a good 10 minutes, waiting long enough to get a couple of clear photographs of the booth with no people in the way. I do this in Germany and nobody blinks an eye. In Budapest it’s easy to do but feels invasive given the small quarters of market peddlers there. In Brno I received piercing glances and scowls and breathy sighs when I asked to buy a sample of mead after standing around waiting for a shot.
Medovina Elisa Hromčíkova Hořká
“Bottle pour from a stand at the Brno Christkindlmarkt(?). Served hot. Spice character is prominent; alcohol is hot and stinging; seems dirty, earthy, soil-like and phenolic.”
I ate some cured pork in a shape resembling a pig’s tail. Pig heads are also available here. If you want the face separately you have to go to Budapest.
At Zelný trh there were food vendors, makers of garments, bath salts, wood work and art. I took in the market, music and food of the open market square before setting out for a beer walk through town that night.
BJCP-certified beer judge, photographer, and software developer from Boulder, Colorado. I use this site to chronicle my worldwide beer adventures shared through photography and stories, with a focus on traditional old world brewing practices.
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