Posts Tagged ‘czech’

Beer Review: Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager

4 February, 2010

REGULAR Budweiser Budvar lager turned out well in the end. Especially after discovering that it needs to be cooled to Arctic temperatures to taste good. So it’s with lots of optimism and some trepidation for the comments section that I face a bottle of Budvar’s cousin; Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager. From one of a growing number of London shops that sells it, for a price I can’t remember. It’s also my first dark lager.

Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager bottle

So far, so similar. It looks just like ordinary Budvar, but with a black bottle and matching neck foil and labels.

Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager neck foil

The front label is little changed either. Apart from the colour scheme and words “Imported Dark Lager”.

Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager front label

All of which is good news, because it means I don’t have to describe every little detail again. And again. Instead, we can go straight to the back label.

Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager back label

Same layout as common Budvar, but this time with enough changes to warrant a little more of your time until we get to the interesting bit.  That’s because this one has a completely different story behind it. This one talks about “finest available ingredients”, “devotion to the brewers art” and “an inimiatable flavour straight from the heart of darkness”.

Down on the ingredients list, and here’s the first sign of what the alcoholic volume is. At 4.7%, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Why are they hiding it?

The ingredients, which if you bought this kind of beer, you’re probably interested in, do indeed look good. They are “water from artesian wells, barley malt (Pale, Munich, Caramel, Roasted), Saaz hops.” That’s the sort of ingredients list you’d expect of ale. Not a lager. So I’m guessing this will take the route of being a lager that wants to be ale. Like the sublime Pilsner Urquell or Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

For the detail fanatics, this Budvar has the same EU Protected Geographical Indication as the other Budvar. It has the same UK importer. And the same web address, which is www.original-budweiser.cz. It’s in the same 500ml bottle. Surprisingly, it is a little weaker at 4.7% alcoholic volume instead of 5%. And like its cousin, the label shouts at you to “Serve Cold!” After last time, I intend to do just that.

So here’s the interesting bit. What does it look like? What does it smell like? How does it compare to normal Budvar and to the other best lagers the world has to offer? I can’t wait to find out.

Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager poured into a glass

First impressions leave me speechless. It’s by far the darkest lager I’ve ever seen. It’s dark ale, porter or stout darkness. I thought the bottle was brown or black, but it wasn’t. It’s a normal green Budvar bottle that happens to contain the only lager I’ve seen that you could mistake for the famous Irish brew. Apart from the head. It’s a patchy, creamy white. Nothing to worry you during pouring.

What does Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager smell like? A quick sniff promptly reveals that familiar odour of roasted barley. Again, just like a dark ale, porter or stout. Incredible for a lager. Though I should have seen this coming. The ingredients list did say it had roasted barley malt. It goes to show what an immense difference that little fact makes.

So, what does this cold, nearly full pint of Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager taste like? The first gulp is a very satisfying one. And one that seems a million miles from any over lager experience. Is this really a lager? It tastes like a dark ale, porter or stout. Which shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as it looks and smells like one.

What can I taste exactly? A few more gulps in, and I’m beginning to make some sense of it. On the flavour side of the equation, you’re reminded that this is indeed still a lager. There’s little more than a slight savoury bitterness. Quite light, clean and refreshing. Then, smoothly arriving, is the aftertaste. This goes into a mixture of lagery bitterness and long lasting ale, porter or stout style roasted flavour and taste combo. It’s dry and mildly bitter, but without the sharp “bite” you get with lots of lagers. It also tastes much more full bodied and heavier and more syrupy than most lagers. More like, you guessed it, a porter.

What am I enjoying about Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager? As already worked out, I’m thoroughly enjoying this perplexing brew. Partly because it is such a mystery. If you insist on calling it a lager, it is the most un-lager like I’ve ever tasted. You could give it to an ale pan, tell them it’s a porter and most probably wouldn’t argue. With that potential for mischief and the originality and distinctiveness, Budvar Dark is off to a flying start.

I love how it’s got some of the best of ale and lager. It’s crisp and refreshing but also rich, tasty and satisfying. I like very much how smooth and easy to drink it is. It’s not too gassy. And you can just tell it’s well made with excellent ingredients.

What aren’t I enjoying about Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager? Not much. What little I can find is mostly nitpicking. Because it feels so much like ale, I’m left wishing it had more interesting and unusual flavours. Like an ale. If you really like ale, why not buy a real one with the complexity you get with it? Also, that roasted taste is going to quickly stop feeling refreshing, and it’s still expensive and hard to find here.

How can one possibly sum up Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager after just one bottle? Which reminds me, I better buy some more. So far, Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager is possibly the most intriguing, distinctive and delicious lagers I’ve ever tried. It’s firmly up there with the favourites. It’s also a great stepping stone for you to wean your friends off big name lager and onto proper beer. Outstanding lager action. But if you love this stuff, why not just get dark ale, porter or stout instead?

Rating: 4.3

Have you tried Budweiser Budvar Imported Dark Lager? What did you think of it? Leave your opinions, corrections, translations, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

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Beer Review: Zubr Premium

18 August, 2008

NOT to be confused with the Polish Żubr, this Zubr Premium is Czech. And it appears just when I thought I had tried all the Czech beers. I wander how it will compare to the under-whelming Ostravar, Praga and Budvar or the above-average Staropramen? There’s only one way to find out…

Zubr Premium bottle

First impressions? The shiny silver labels look great. But stuck onto a muddy brown bottle? After yesterday’s marvellously colour-coordinated Harbin Lager, this looks a little on the cheap side.

The small roundel logo on the neck foil is good.

Zubr Premium neck foil

It informs us that this brewery dates back to 1872. Not very far back, but enough to give it some heritage. Then there’s the logo inside the roundel. It looks like a bull in front of a castle. Am I seeing things? What is it supposed to be?

As for the three words around the border of the roundel, two of them are close enough to English to understand. And those words must be “Traditional Czech”. But what of the third word? If you know what “Kvalita” means, do please leave a comment at the end of this post.

The front label is sharp, shiny and good looking.

Zubr Premium front label

Simply a big version of the roundel, everything is nearly in its place. The words around the border say “Czech Beer” and “Premium Quality”. Whilst in the bottom corners are the vital statistics. This bottle is 0.5L (or 500 millilitres if you prefer). And it weighs in at a somewhat unusual 5.1% volume. I like that. 0.1% more than the continental average. Brilliant.

Lastly, around the bottom of the roundel are what look like medals. Or are they crests? Either way, the shininess of the label and the tiny size of whatever it is they are make it difficult to know.

Over on the back label, and everything is straightforward, easy to read and English. This must be an export version.

Zubr Premium back label

They open by describing it as a “Classic Czech Beer” that has a “Golden Honey Colour Traditionally Brewed Using the Finest Ingredients”. A statement that you could copy and paste onto nearly any beer bottle and get away with it.

Next up is the address. This beer comes courtesy of the Zubr Company, Přerov in the Czech Republic. The web address it gives, www.zubr.cz, even ends in the CZ country code. Again, I’m so pleased to see another genuine imported beer in an off-licence refrigerator cabinet. Incidentally, the English language section is at http://www.zubr.cz/en.

There’s not much else to report. There’s no ingredients list. No UK units of alcohol symbol. But they do say that this has 2.6 units of alcohol per 500 millilitres. Does anyone know what system of units this is from? How do these units compare to UK units of alcohol? Leave your knowledge in the comments at the end of the post, please.

Now it’s time to open this bottle and see how it compares to the other Czech beers. Will it be better than Staropramen? My money is on ‘no’.

Zubr Premium poured into a glass

In the glass, it really is “golden honey” coloured. Which makes a change from pale yellow lagers. There’s not much head though. Moment after that photo was taken, it became an odd patchwork of bubbles on the surface. Not so good, as I like a decent layer of froth.

The smell is… not particularly strong. But what it does have is not bad. It smells vaguely of malted barley, but not in the same way as lagers do.

A couple of gulps in, and I’m fairly impressed. Nowhere to be seen is the half-absent blend of lagery flavours. Instead, Zubr Premium tastes, quite vividly, of malted barley and hops. All of which give a pleasant, strong-ish, and reasondly lingering bitter after taste.

There is much that I like about Zubr Premium. And that surprises me. Because I didn’t expect there to be anything. I like that it has flavour. I like that the flavour tastes good. I like that the strength of the flavours means that it is drinkable. I like that it’s different enough from the others to be distinctive and having some of the elusive characteristic that is… well… character.

There must be something I don’t much like about it. Half-way through, and there are one or two problems. I’m burping more than usual, so it must be gassy. Even though it has flavour, it’s not truly full-bodied. All of which means that it will soon feel like you’re drinking foamy water. The flavour, even though I’m finding it somewhat tasty, would wear thin after a few bottles or pints. Not as badly as the lagers, but there’s not enough depth too keep you as interested as, say, an ale would.

What Zubr Premium is, then, is a tasty beer. No lagery awfulness, but no serious complexity either. Just a good, decent, well flavoured beer. I didn’t expect it to fair well against its Czech competitors. But this is up there with Staropramen. Maybe even slightly ahead. I’ve got to recommend this for anyone curious about Czech or European beers.

Rating: 3.2

Have you tried Zubr Premium? Can you translate anything on the label?

Leave your corrections, translations, opinions and recommendations in the little boxes below please. And remember; bookmark this blog! You can’t risk missing anything.

Beer Review: Staropramen Premium Beer

6 August, 2008

WEEKS ago, Tesco started selling four-packs of the Czech import, Staropramen. And that made me curious to know if it was better or worse than other Czech beers, Ostravar, Praga or Budvar. Not that it would need to be far above average to beat its competitors. I held out for a few weeks hoping that I would find it being sold as single bottles. But before that could happen, curiosity got the better of me, and £3.69 pence later, here I am with four bottles of what could be yet another average Czech beer.

Staropramen Premium four-pack

On the outside, everything looks very good. The four-pack cardboard packaging looks interesting and expensive. As does the bottle.

Staropramen Premium bottle

The green glass matches the green and red of the labels very well indeed. This is shaping up to be more sophisticated that it’s hurriedly imported competitors.

Staropramen Premium Beer neck label

The neck label has a smaller version of the tasteful “Staropramen” logo. Plus a very important word. “Imported” is always a welcome sight on a beer. Unless you’re in Belgium.

Staropramen Premium Beer front label

The main front label continues with much the same theme. There’s a detailed background picture that, going by the big red name “Prague”, is indeed the capital city of said country. The “Staropramen” logo is there, looking like the name of an American baseball team. There are the helpfully vague words “Premium Beer” underneath that. Also in the middle of the label is the Staropramen crest, made up of barley and hops no less. It also proudly displays the year 1869. Surprisingly, a year that makes it one of the youngest Czech beers that I’ve tried. Apparently age has no bearing on flavour with these bottles.

This is a front label with a busy border. Nowhere more so than around the bottom edge. The big red stamp declares Staropramen as the pride of Prague since 1869. And that this 330 millilitre bottle has the ubiquitous 5% alcoholic volume.

The back label is rather less busy. Almost empty is comparison.

Staropramen Premium Beer back label

This emptiness comes from only having three languages on there. Which makes a change from some export beer bottles that try to squeeze in so many languages that it makes the Lisbon Treaty seem readable in comparison.

All this space means that we get something unusual: a full ingredients list. Take a look on any other beer bottle, and chances are that all they will say is “malted barley and hops”. Not here. Staropramen was made with “water, barley malt, barley, maltose syrup, hops, hop extract”. No big surprises. Just good to have all the details for once.

There are some other interesting details in there too. It was imported and distributed by “The Pioneer Brewing Co.” of Luton, with their full address and telephone number. There is the full address of the brewer too. And yes, Staropramen does come from Pivovary Staropramen a.s. from Prague in the Czech Republic.

Lastly, there is a web address. The http://www.staropramen.com/ website, like those of other brewers, is Flash heavy. It’s also a good way to tempt yourself with more beers that they don’t sell where you live. Unfortunately, if rather predictably, on the website they describe this bottle as “Premium Lager”. Better get a head start on the opening of this bottle by feeling bored now.

Staropramen Premium Lager poured into a glass

Once poured, Staropramen Premium Lager comes with a surprisingly thick head. If you can pour it that is. The head overwhelmed my little half-pint glass. It stays around too. Even minutes after pouring, it’s still a thick layer of froth. No patchy bubbles here.

It looks better than I expected it too, as well. It could easily have been a cheap pale yellow colour. But instead, it’s a slightly darker amber hue. A small difference, I’ll grant you, but welcome nonetheless.

It has a richer smell than lots of the big-name lagers too. I’d say it smells mostly of barley. And for a lager, that’s an unusual blend. How would you describe the smell?

At this point, I normally try the drink and report that the look and smell were all just a disguise for an atrocious and bland taste. Not so here. Remarkably, I quite like it.

It still tastes lagery, but this take on the flavour is one of the better ones. A light tasting barley and hops are what you notice first. Gently followed by a light, lingering bitterness. The whole thing is tastes rounded and well balanced. All without the aid of rice to the blend.

I didn’t expect to have much praise to heap on Staropramen Premium Beer/Lager. Boy, have I been proved wrong with my preconceptions about this one. It looks, smells and tastes of quality lager. When the website described it as having a bite, I expected another Bavaria Holland Beer. That had a lagery bite. I hated it. But lots of you left comments saying that you loved it. With Staropramen, there is no real bite as far as I can taste. Instead, it’s an easy to drink, relatively tasty and well balanced lager.

Being a lager, it inevitably has down sides. It may be one of the most accessible lagers on the market, but if you positively hate that lagery blend of flavours, you won’t be a fan of this. Other downsides? Well, its one of the gassier lagers I’ve tried. The head can get in the way if all you want is a quick drink. And if you truly want interesting beer flavours, why not try a real beer or ale instead of a lager?

To sum up, Staropramen Premium Beer/Lager is so much better than I was expecting. I’m not a fan of the lagery “bite”, so I was delighted to find it almost absent from this bottle. With it’s well balanced taste, it’s not only my favourite Czech bottle, but one of my favourite bottles lagers, full-stop. That said, it is still a lager. If you like lager, by all means enjoy this one. As for me, I’ll be enjoying something with real flavour, probably with the word “ale” written somewhere on the bottle.

Rating: 3.25

Have you tried Staropramen Premium Beer/Lager? What did you think of it?
Leave your corrections, opinions, thoughts, ideas and recommendations in the little comment boxes below.

Beer Review: Budweis Budweiser Budvar Czech Imported Lager

25 July, 2008

BACK when I started this blog, I knew nothing about beer. Now, two years and hundreds of beers later, I now know almost nothing. A slight improvement over where I was before. The upshot of this is that my early posts weren’t always very good. My first attempt at ‘reviewing’ Budweiser Budvar for instance had so many mistakes, that the entire Internet felt compelled to leave angry comments. So, I replaced it with what you’re reading now.

Before going any further with a less erroneous ‘review’, I’ve got to get something embarrassing off my chest. I don’t much care for Budweiser Budvar. I’ve enjoyed can after can to try and figure out why it has such a dedicated following. It is an excellent Pilsner lager, but that distinctive, bitter aftertaste just doesn’t do it for me. Pilsner Urquell on the other hand has deliciously hoppiness, flavour, and a rich, smooth character. Budweiser Budvar does an outstanding job of being a different kind of pilsner lager and one I don’t like as much. It’s only one point of view. No doubt the comments at the end of the post will fill up with anger over my ‘wrong’ opinion.

So why bother with this ‘review’? Well, the detail junkies need to be fed. While the old version was up, it was one of the most popular on the blog. And this new version is a chance to upgrade the photos.

So, here we go again. With a big-ish bottle of Budweiser Budvar Czech Imported Lager.

First impressions are that it’s a big, upmarket bottle of lager. Unless you buy the smaller bottle. In which case it’s a small bottle of upmarket looking lager. Either way, it’s a green bottle with some fancy foil wrapping.

Neck foil isn’t normally worth a look, but they went to the trouble of putting a picture of a stamp on there. So let’s take a quick peek.

It features a picture of what looks like castle towers with a crest in front of them. And around the border it says “Budweiser Budbrau”.

The front label is a funny thing. Stuck half way between a tasteful European style and the in-your-face American Budweiser style. I think it gets away with it.

The top has a clearer version of the logo on the neck foil. But this time, around the border is written something different. Thanks to ‘Adam’ for explaining that “Sigillum Civium De Budiwoyz” is “coat of arms of Budějovice (or Budweis), or city seal of Budweis literally”.

Behind the logos is a crest. Not of a lion or dragon this time, but two medieval characters standing next to to a shield. And down at the bottom of the label is confirmation of the fact that sets this bottle apart. That’s because this has been “Brewed and bottled by the brewery Budweiser Budvar, N.C. České Budějovice (Budweis, Czech Republic”. Thank goodness it doesn’t mention a certain provincial town or city the keeps popping up on imitation foreign beers.

Over on the back label, and the original Budweiser remains that much classier than the one with all the advertising.

Budweis” has “Protected Geographical Indication” status. And that’s important because it means you won’t find anyone else pretending to sell and Budvar. At least not legally.

The little ‘story’ paragraph gives away a lot of juicy details as well. That Budvar has some 700 years of heritage. That they use Saaz Aroma Hops, which are new to me. That they have “carefully selected Moravian Malt” and use soft water from their own wells. All very welcome details indeed. But where is the rice? Without that, this will taste radically different to normal Budweiser.

Further down, and they get to the small print. That this is a 5% alcoholic volume lager. Little surprise there. The ingredient list is not a complicated one, giving only with only water, malt and hops.

There is also a web address which is www.original-budweiser.cz where you can tempt yourself with beers in their range that you can’t buy over here. Darn it. Lastly, you are told in no uncertain terms that this unremarkable 500 millilitre bottle (unless you bought the 330 ml one) is to be served cold. So I will.

This time around, it was a synch to pour. No uncontrollable fizzing at all. Just smooth pouring and a thin, patchy white head. It’s a slightly darker shade of amber than regular Budweiser. Much less head too. By the way, this time the bottle has been in the fridge. Not sure quite how much that will change things.

What does Budweis Budweiser Budvar smell like? The few cans of this I’ve tried seemed to have almost exactly the same smell of blended malted barley as every big-name lager. But this bottle right here is changing that. Maybe it’s the coldness? Whatever the reason, this time around, I can smell malted barley and hops! That would be the Saaz Aroma Hops at work then.

A couple of gulps in to my very cold glass of Budweis Budweiser Budvar, and things are turning out very differently to the first few times I’d tried it. This time , the old familiar “bite” is replaced by something else. Namely, a nice, clean, crisp and refreshing malted barley (that would be the Moravian Malt) and a bitter finish that tastes a tiny bit hoppy.

Before opening the bottle, I expected to find the same taste that put me off it again and again. Then to leave the ‘review’ there and just post it up to the photo above. But this time, possibly because of how cold it is, it smells and tastes utterly different. Now, at last, I can see what everyone was banging on about.

So, now that my Budweis Budweiser Budvar is sufficiently cold, what am I enjoying about it? At last, it’s doing the things that a lager should do. It’s clean, crisp and refreshing. It has a distinctive taste of malted barley and hops that I can’t remember finding elsewhere. It’s different to the other high-end lagers. You can taste how well made it is. And now you can buy it from many more shops than you used to.

What aren’t I enjoying about Budweis Budweiser Budvar? You can’t ignore how important it is to serve it cold. Most beers say on the label or can to serve it cold, but it’s not absolutely necessary to enjoy it. This time, when the label shouts “Serve Cold!”, they mean it. It tastes nowhere near as good at room temperature. Even at if just chilled. It needs to be cold; properly cold for it to taste right. And that’s not always easy. Especially in summer when you want a refreshing lager and can be sure that it won’t stay cold for long. Besides that, this one came out on the gassy side, although others I’ve tried weren’t.  And that malted barley taste, as it warms up when you get to the bottom of the glass or bottle won’t be as refreshing anymore.

So how can I sum up this re-review of Budweis Budweiser Budvar. In a word, a surprise. When I started re-writing it, the plan was to stop after the photo of it all poured. “I’m not going to enjoy drinking that” I thought. Only this time, the Budvar was much colder than before. And that suddenly made it delicious.

So how can we sum up a cold bottle of Budweis Budweiser Budvar? It’s a fine lager, that’s for sure. It goes a different direction from some other fine lagers. Pilsner Urquell and Samuel Adams Boston Lager are like lagers pretending to be ales. Budweis Budweiser Budvar on the other hand is more like a mainstream pilsner lager that just does what it does very very well. Watch out for the coldness of your glass or bottle though. Without the rice that regular Budweiser has, it quickly looses it’s smoothness as it warms up. Well worth trying if you haven’t already.

Have you tried Budweiser Budvar Czech Imported Lager? What did you think of it? Leave your personal opinions, corrections, opinions and recommendations in response to my personal opinions, here in the comments.

Beer Review: Praga Czech Premium Lager

10 May, 2008

THE last Chech beer I tried was Ostravar. And I didn’t think much of it. It was good, but nothing special. So it’s with low expectations that I move on to Praga.

Praga Czech Premium Lager bottle

This 500 millilitre bottle was cheaply purchased from my local corner shop.

The neck label has the word “Pilsner” on it, which is a good start.

Praga Czech Premium Lager neck label

But all the labels are among the worst I’ve seen.

Praga Czech Premium Lager front label

That plain white background. It looks terrible. Not so much “Premium”. More “Economy” and “Cheap”. Remembering the saying that “It’s what’s inside that counts”, we shall press on. It could be a pleasant surprise, right?

The label does have an “Est” date of “1363”. In the corner, it mentions a volume of 5%, which is respectable. And at the very bottom, it tells us that this is a “Product of the Czech Republic”. And that means that this is an imported beer. Which works to its favour.

Over on the back label, and things don’t get much better.

Praga Czech Premium Lager back label

Giving it the benefit of the doubt, let’s read on.

Grabbing your attention is a red bar running across the middle of the label. And that bar features the text “The Award Winning Bohemian Pilsner”. This is award winning? Seriously? Maybe it’s worth giving a chance to after all.

The label continues by informing us that Bohemia is the origin of Pilsner. And that it is world renowned for the quality of its beer. And that comes as something of a shock. I didn’t even know that Bohemia was a place.

It continues by saying that Praga is an outstanding example of premium lager from the Bohemia region. So outstanding in fact, that it was voted number one 5% Pilsner at the Czech Brewing Industry Awards in both 1997 and 1999. Mind you, with only the likes of Ostravar to compete with, that couldn’t have been a particularly big mountain to climb.

There’s also a brief sentence informing us of the origin of Praga. Apparently, this comes from the Hostan brewery. And that it’s heritage dates back to 1363. A very long time indeed.

The ingredients list includes barley, malt and hops. Lastly, the producer is listed as a “Starobrno” from Brno in the Czech Republic.

It’s a hot evening here in London, so I need a refreshing beer. Time to see if Praga does the job.

In the glass, Praga has a decent, foamy head. And a deep, amber colour. Good start.

Praga Czech Premium Lager poured into glass

The smell is stronger than I was expecting. It’s of malted barley and hops – no surprise there. But at least it’s strong enough to identify. And not bad if you happen to like the smell of beer.

A couple of gulps in, and I must admit, Praga isn’t as bad I had been expecting. It has a pronounced, lingering bitter taste. Certainly more of a taste than I’d been expecting. Praga is also smooth. And sufficiently refreshing to cool me down on this unseasonably muggy day. And that’s something that makes it easy to drink.

So refreshing is it, that I’m practically ignoring the downsides to Praga. Which are that it’s a gassy old drink. And that there’s not much else to the taste apart from some bitterness. Apart from the bitterness, you can just about make out the malted barley, but this isn’t what you’d call full-flavoured. Not by a long way. And it gets worse. If, like me, you’re not keen on drinks that are mostly bitter, there’s not a lot here to like about Praga.

Praga then, is refreshing, especially if chilled. It’s also drinkable and has more of a bitter taste than you might expect. On the other hand, it’s more bitter than I like, and pretty dull and watery.

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you want a refreshing pilsner lager after a day spent sweating your own weight in liquid. No, if you want flavours so full that they burst over the top of the bottle. Or if you don’t like bitter flavours.

Rating: 3.6

Have you tried Praga? What did you think?
Corrections, disagreements, ideas, suggestions and opinions to be left in the usual place.

Beer Review: Ostravar Premium Czech Lager

4 January, 2008

Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of cheap lagers. The bitter/sour taste and aftertaste, and the drinkability are a good simulation of what it would probably be like to consume dishwater. So it is with some trepidation that picked up a bottle of premium Czech lager called Ostravar.

Since I am biased against lagers in general, this one doesn’t stand much chance of scoring top marks from me. That said, I am open minded. The ‘Premium’ and ‘Czech’ elements may well raise this above the hundreds of cheap bottles of dishwater. So lets see how it does.

First impressions are good. The bottle isn’t exceptional, but the label has that ‘imported European’ look. To open it, one must first unwrap this gold coloured leafing from around the top. Arguably a clever marketing device to add that premium feel, but it worked on me. What do you think of brewers who add this?

Ostravar Premium Czech Lager bottle
Ostravar Premium Czech Lager front label
Ostravar Premium Czech Lager back label

Poured into a glass, this produces a satisfying layer of foamy head, atop the golden liquid. This 5% half-a-litre produces a fine hoppy aroma too. By this time, it is indeed living up to its Premium billing.
Ostravar Premium Czech Lager poured into a glass

Being lager, it cannot escape that bitter/sour taste and aftertaste that I detest. But until it’s cheap dishwater counterparts, this is considerably smoother and easier to drink.

All in all, a solid premium lager. For a lager, it’s better smelling and better tasting than most. On the other hand, it’s still lager. And on that basis…

Rating: 3.5

If you like your lager, you’ll enjoy Ostravar.


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