Czech Beer Blog

News from Czech beer scene plus some more stuff. Na zdravi!

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (8) — May 19, 2014

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (8)


Doing my bit for the Surrey hop-growing industry

I’ve been invited on plenty of brewery visits over the years, but never before has the invite come with the request: “Please bring wellies and a spade.” This, however, was a field trip in a considerably more literal sense than normal: to the two and a half-acre field right opposite the Hogs Back brewery in Tongham, just outside Farnham in Surrey, to witness – and take part in – a historic event: the first planting of the Farnham White Bine hop variety in its native soil since the last bines were grubbed up 85 years ago. This is not just, however, a footnote in Farming Today magazine: this is, according to Hogs Back’s chairman, Rupert Thompson, an important step towards increasing the “localism” aspect of the brewery’s products. Once the new hop ground (the proper Surrey name for what elsewhere are called hop gardens or hop yards) are producing a healthy crop, those hops can then be used to flavour the beer being brewed just yards away: Surrey’s own hop variety, grown in Surrey, to produce Surrey beers.


How India pale ale conquered the world

INDIA pale ale (IPA) had a good claim to be the first global beer, before lager took a grip on the world’s tipplers. Now IPA, an amber, hop-laden brew, high in alcohol, is regaining its global footprint. Arguments rage about the origins and history of IPA. Britain’s territories on the Indian subcontinent were generally too hot for brewing. So a couple of hundred years ago, to keep army officers and officials of the East India Company away from the fearsome local firewater, beer was exported from Britain to take its place. Whether a beer already existed that had the characteristics of IPA or whether it was developed for the purpose is a matter of heated debate among beer historians. What is clear is that hops, which act as a preservative as well as a flavouring, combined with a hefty dose of alcohol for added robustness, ensured that the beer survived the long sea journey to India. Indeed, the months jiggling in a barrel onboard seemed only to improve the flavour. The style caught on at home, as the brew seeped onto the domestic market.


How We Brewed the Beer of the Future

It’s time for the final chapter in the story of our collaboration with Sixpoint to make Hop Tech 431, the beer of the future. First, we found an experimental hop and we designed a brand-new recipe, then we trained a swarm of autonomous robots to do the brewing. Just kidding. Instead, we brewed it the old-school way—by hand—on Sixpoint’s 15-barrel system in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Gizmodo joined brewers Danny Bruckert and Keir Hamilton to take our turn with the mash paddle (which subsequently broke, in a—we claim—entirely unrelated incident).


Stone Brewery Evacuated Due To Wild Fires In San Marcos, CA

Photos and tweets courtesy of Stone: We are officially evacuating our home base. Thanks to everyone for expressing their care and concern. This is the view from the roof of our brewery. Wishing best to friends throughout San Diego County!!! #sanmarcosfire


Reports of the Craft Beer Bubble Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

If you’ve spent any time talking to people in the craft beer community, you’ve heard them bring the subject around to an ominous prospect for the industry: a bubble. The argument goes that an industry with such short pedigree and such rapid growth will invariably collapse under the weight of its own success, resulting in bankrupt businesses, lost jobs, and empty glassware. But is the bubble real? Or is it just a specter brought about by nervous beer-drinkers? First, let’s take a look at the facts.





The idiots that be determined that people under 21 years old shouldn’t be allowed to look at brewery websites because they might get secondhand wasted. Many breweries just have a “tough shit” pop up or redirect to Google. But some take it upon themselves to ease the defeat with entertainment.

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (4) — April 22, 2014

5+1 Monday Beer Readings (4)


Kim Jong-ale: How did Ushers brewery of Trowbridge end up in North Korea producing Pyongyang’s number one beer – and what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Gary Todd remembers the day they came to take away his brewery: ‘Some of them had never seen plastic cups. And toilet seats were like gold. They took everything’.
Gary Todd remembers well the day the North Koreans came to take away his brewery. It was late summer in 2000 and the Scot, who has beer in his blood, had been made redundant as head brewer at Ushers of Trowbridge. After 175 years of production, the brewery, which dominated the centre of the Wiltshire county town, had gone bust. As developers circled for valuable land, every pipe, vessel and keg was put up for sale. Soon, a preferred bidder emerged: Kim Jong-il, the late Supreme Leader of North Korea.


Ex-Microsoft engineer invents a new machine to help you brew the perfect batch of beer
Home brewing is rewarding but it’s also often fraught with peril — if you don’t thoroughly sterilize all of your equipment or if you drop in the yeast while your wort is still hot, it can ruin hours of hard work. Bloomberg Businessweek has written a profile on former Windows engineer Bill Mitchell, who left Microsoft in 2010 to work full-time on PicoBrew, a startup that’s dedicated to take away as many potential pain points as possible for home brewers. Last fall, PicoBrew launched a Kickstarter for Zymatic, its own automatic beer brewing appliance that raised more than $660,000, or more than four times its original goal of $150,000. PicoBrew’s pitch is very appealing to anyone who’s ever tried their hand at making beer before: It wants to help you “make your own great craft beer at home with about the effort you put into pressing the button on your esspresso maker.”


JustAnotherBeerBlog’s Favorite Beer Podcasts
Finding a good, well-produced beer podcast in the iTunes or Google Play store is like finding a good beer at the corner stop and shop; you’re going to have to wade through a lot of crap to find one or two golden nuggets. Below is a list of my favorites, many of which I’ve been listening to for several years, and some I’ve just discovered. Hopefully you’ll like my choices and find something new to enjoy. Don’t see your favorite on this list? Add it in the comments.


A Song of Malt and Hops
Since August 2013 I have been working on this project starting with House Mormont. The concept is if the houses from A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) had a house brewery (which was common through out the middle ages up until the industrial revolution) what would their house beer taste like? I then develop a recipe for each house, find the ingredients, and brew up these fantasy beers. Each brew is very unique, as unique as the family that inspires it. The project is ongoing and this page will be updated as new brews arrive.


Spring Beers, Ranked
Good news: No matter how you do your seasonal accounting, it’s definitely spring now. You’re already kinda bored with baseball, you’ve got mud in previously undiscovered orifices, and your favorite fair-weather hot dog stand will come and go before Dick Vitale screams at you again. Furthermore, I solemnly swear not to let another flake of snow hit your driveway before the pumpkin beers hit the shelves. “But wait, handsome weather guarantor,” you say. “Of course there won’t be snow by then, for pumpkin beers come out in July, ha ha, bitch bitch, your plot is busted, just like my soul, because the only thing that truly brings me joy is complaining about the premature release of seasonal beers.” And I get it. You’re right. I am handsome, and spring beers started showing up about 18 inches of snow ago. And I’ll do you one worse and point out that a lot of seasonal releases are gimmicky nonsense. But regardless of my personal preferences and handsomeness, the issue’s moot, because I’ve missed the window of spring beer relevance by now. It’s high time we start grousing about this year’s crop of summer beers, too many of which are shandies and radlers and whatever other words they use to mean “two-thirds of a light beer topped with shitty citrus soda.”




It’s no surprise that I love to cook with beer. My recent interview with the fine folks of the Ohio Beercast inspired me to think about all the various ways you can use beer in cooking. I was amazed at all of the options I came up with – practically limitless. To get us thinking, here are 10 Ways to Cook with Beer…

Beer glass that doubles as a SUNDIAL — April 17, 2014

Beer glass that doubles as a SUNDIAL

  • SunGlass has markings on the side that show the drinker what time it is
  • It took six months to perfect and works anywhere on a certain latitude
  • Designer says glass tells you ‘if you’ve got time to squeeze another one in’


Clever drinkers have come up with an ingenious way of telling the time while boozing – by turning a beer glass into a sundial.

Friends Jackie Jones and Steve Chapman spent six months perfecting the glass, which when positioned correctly casts a shadow over the time of day. The pair came up with the idea after Steve asked Jackie, a professional sundial maker, to design a beer glass sundial to use at a beer festival he organises. Six months later they launched the SunGlass – and they have since sold more than 400. The clever device works by positioning it so the sun shines through a ring on the back of the glass onto vertical markings showing the months of the year. The height of the shadow then tells the user what time of day it is – and it is accurate to within a few minutes. Like all sundials, the SunGlass uses local solar time, a method of measuring time using the height of the sun, rather than Greenwich Mean Time, which clocks go by. Because of that it doesn’t take into account British Summer Time.

The SunGlass has been calculated to work anywhere in the world which is at a latitude of 51 degrees north, including Banff in Canada, Dresden in Germany and Kazakhstan.

The SunGlass costs £15 and can be ordered online.

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Archaeologists discover 100-year-old St Austell Brewery beer at St Piran site in Cornwall — March 22, 2014

Archaeologists discover 100-year-old St Austell Brewery beer at St Piran site in Cornwall

I love beer archaelogy and I love Cornwall! And guys from foodiessouthwest published a great article about both!

Foodies South West

Archaeologists unearthing the secrets of St Piran’s Oratory in the shifting sands at Perranporth, Cornwall have discovered a bootle of local beer more than 100 years old.


The green bottle of Walter Hicks ale from St Austell Brewery is thought to date from around the time of the encasement of the oratory in 1910.

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A Beginner’s Guide to British Beer Styles — March 21, 2014

A Beginner’s Guide to British Beer Styles


A few days ago I added a link to seriouseats´ article about Belgian beer styles. Today I continue with a new one – this time about British beer styles. British beer is very famous and the tradition is very old. I love their styles because I prefer bitter brews and British beer is synonymous for bitter. So what else is made there?

“When I began to plan this series of beginner’s guides to the world’s most famous beer styles, I was pumped. I would get to shine light on the underappreciated lagers of Germany and reignite passions for the Belgian beers that gave so many of us beer geeks our start. I’d get to draw attention to the style-bending innovation occurring in the United States [coming soon]! But along with that, I’d have to cover British beers. Less pumped all of a sudden.

It’s not that I don’t like British beer. I do! There are few things better to me than a couple of rounds of well-made ESB or mild in a cozy pub.

But writing about British beer styles is complicated. Beer culture in Britain is as much about the culture of cask ale and the pub as it is the beer itself. In the Oxford Companion to Beer, Pete Brown describes the scene as “something that re

In other words—just discussing beer styles sells British beer short. These beer styles also have a history of dramatic change over time such that it’s difficult to establish what a “traditional” example of any style looks like.fuses to be bottled, standardized, or easily replicated.”

Then there are the myths and half-truths. Think that IPA was invented to sustain British troops in India? Think milds have always been super low in alcohol? Think porter was invented by a dude named Ralph Harwood? These often-told fanciful stories are more myth than history.

So let’s get into it. Curious about the beer styles of Britain? Here’s an introduction.”

A Beginner’s Guide to British Beer Styles