Thursday, September 11, 2008

Missed Opportunities: a shout out to Jack, Kerry, Gregg, and King Ron

Okay, this is going to be a little complicated, but I just saw something that made me pissed, intrigued, nostalgic, and happy, all at the same time. It's this entry in Evan Rail's excellent Czech beer blog (which I really need to read more regularly). He's talking about how he wants the already excellent Pardubicky Porter to be better, less of a sweet finish, so he's "beer hacking" by dosing some of it with Orval yeast, in hopes of getting some brett dryness in it.

But that's not what zinged my cortex. It was this:

For example, take Pardubický Porter from Pivovar Pernštejn in Pardubice. The Czech Republic’s premiere Baltic Porter and perhaps the southernmost traditional exemplar of the style, Pardubický Porter is a very filling, strong black lager with lovely treacle and licorice notes.
As anyone knows who knows me, I'm a sucker for Baltic Porter. And this is Moby Dick for me, because of a bastard bus driver named Ivan. The whole story's here, but I'll condense it. I was on a beer junket in the Czech Republic (courtesy of Distinguished Brands Int'l, who no longer own the rights to the beer they had us over there to pimp, Budvar, so no real conflict here, okay?) with the beer writers mentioned in the post title ("Uncle" Jack Curtin, Kerry "ColdHard" Byrne, Gregg "Let Me Get That For You, Miss" Glaser, and "King" Ron Givens).

Jack's buddy, Czech beer demiurge Honza Kočka, had lined up a sample case (that's pronounced "free effin' beer") of Pardubický Porter for us, direct from the brewery. And our bus driver, Ivan, damn his black heart, refused, simply refused to go half a mile out of his way and let us pick it up. That bastard! After three years, I still get pissed off when I think about it.

And when I saw Evan's post today, well, it all came back. Finding out how highly Ron Pattinson regards the beer didn't help. Ah, me. Some day.

14 comments:

JP said...

I quaffed a decent amount Perstejn desitka capovajny in my day, that was a good nadrazi beer. But I do not remember ever seeing a porter in the CR or SR in the 90s. I rmemeber having some in the Silesian part of Poland like around Wroclaw. But the only thing dark I rememeber drinking in the CR or SR was Tmavy Lezak (dark lager). Velky Popovicke had a good one as did Prazdroj- I think I rememeber, Purkmistr, Prazdroj value brand also had a good dark lager as well Krusovice was the big one as I recall and of course U Flecku in Prague but at 30 ckr a half liter it was pricey. Sad thing is as a dumb kid in my 20s if I ever came across a beer like that (imperial porter) I would of not even appreciated it.

Stephen Beaumont said...

Hey Lew, to further your frustration, try London-Porter-Crossed-With-Baltic-Porter-And-Aged-in-Tempranillo-Wood-For-Six-Weeks. Had that last night at the Norrebro Bryghus in Copenhagen. Lucky me.

Lew Bryson said...

JP,
I remember finding a SR porter here (in upstate NY, at Beers of the World) back in the 1990s, probably about 1995; can't recall the name, started with an 'M.' And, um, I rejected your other comments -- even though I thought things much like them on the trip -- because my daughter reads the blog and is pretty handy with Google...

Steve, you bastard. Rubbing it in like that! Hope the trip's going well in all aspects.

JP said...

understood. Sorry your story brought back a flood of memeories and I had this sudden urge to use some czech swear words more nostalgia than true anger. Thanks for keeping it clean.
as for the slovak porter maybe you mean tmavé pivo Marína from Topolcany. Anyway good post it got me to take a look at some websites on Czech beer and its amazing to see the surge of minipivovary cropping up there. There was nothing like thhat at all when I lived there. I go back every so often for work but not really have time for sessions. I rmemeber when they opened up the Nove Mesto Pivovary in Prague which was a big deal but I never imagined czechs would forego their tried and true brews to sample new styles of craft beer, but it seems to me that innovaitons are taking root there

Lew Bryson said...

Ah! Not Marina, but that did jog my memory: it was Martiner, which it looks like has now been taken over by Heineken. Hard to tell from Websources if they're still making the porter. I remember it as quite dark, very sweet, with just a hint of tang/earth to it. Hard to say how old the bottle I got hold of was.

JP said...

Ah Martinsky Zdroj! Martin is where my grandparents are from. Nice town, had no idea they ever made porter there. Willl have to check it out. thks

Stephen Beaumont said...

It gets worse, Lew. Honza has a stand at the European Beer Festival here where last night he was pouring the Pardubický on tap. Also the Czech Republic's first ever IPA.

Lew Bryson said...

Oh, you are just looking for an ass-kicking now, Canada-boy!

But, um, before we do that... What kind of hops are in the IPA?

Stephen Beaumont said...

But, um, before we do that... What kind of hops are in the IPA?

I do believe he said Centennial, primarily because they were the only kind he could convince someone to part with when he was in San Diego.

The European Beer Festival was outrageously good. Lot of great things happening over here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we used Centennial.
And well, it wasd the second IPA here. Pivovarsky dum brewed english style IPA and Double IPA:) already. But we are first with american style.

People liked it, so we will do more brews in a short future...

PS: If we will brew baltic porter - Ilove those beers, having few of those in June when judging in Poland, I will send you a case:)
Honza, Pivovar Kocour Varnsdorf

Lew Bryson said...

Honza,
Good to hear from you! Pivovarsky Dum did a double IPA? Did they put bananas or nettles or something in it? (I remember from that day we were there with you that they had a lot of oddly flavored beers; do they still do that?)

If you want to ship me a case of porter (and maybe slip a bottle of Pardubicky in there), I'll ship back good American crafts. Hope that's some incentive. Good luck with the brewery, sounds like you're doing well. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Anonymous said...

No, they did not put any of this stuff at their Double IPA:)

But they still do brew those beers. For locals it is still more acceptable than any stout, pale ale and other beer styles as they have no clue that beers could be sorted by style,origin etc...

I take your word for the beer exchange:)Always interested in nice american brews as we organize editorial tastings here. So how many bottles of Porter you want?
Honza

Lew Bryson said...

I'm serious, Honza. How about six bottles: two of your porter, two Pardubicky, and two other porters. I'll ship you six different American craft beers. Deal?

Jeremy said...

fascinating...Pardubicky Porter was a staple at Zach's Pub in Plzen - a totally deadly brew for the uninitiated...BY the way, Honza, Mr Kocour brewer man - would you like an Irish/Czech Celtic band to play at any of your beer promotions? If so, please contact me! www.poitin.cz Jeremy.