Czech Beer-Sampling at the Brno Festival of Flavor

Last week held some of the coldest temperatures I’ve probably ever experienced, with the “high” coming in at -15C / 5F. We had some snow, but not as much to make it worth the arctic conditions!

It makes the view from my office so beautiful, and our town church look magical.

And although spring is nowhere near, Easter is coming in a month, so the springtime Czech treat “snow chicken” (a biscuit with marshmallowy whipped cream inside a thin form, otherwise puzzlingly called an “Indian”) has hit the cafes! It’s one of my favorites because it’s so cute and tasty.

That dome eye is from the inside of one of the halls at Brno Exhibition Centre. This weekend there was a “Festival of Flavor” (Festival Chutí), and although we missed the food one, Ondra and I managed – without realizing it – to make what was essentially a Czech beer expo with some wine and beer snacks mixed in. Most of the beer was from the Moravian region with a few small exceptions. The inside of the hall was really modern and impressive!

When we entered, we had to buy tokens. 10kc bought you 1 token, and beers ranged between 1-2 tokens. I saw only a couple really high-degree beers for 3 tokens.

Festival of Flavor was a four-cornered absolute maze of breweries and beer retailers. Problem is, the more you drink, the more difficult it is to get around!

Unfortunately, this wooden beer statue learned this the hard way, with its head turned an unnatural 180 degrees toward the beer equipment!

Many breweries, for some reason, find inspiration in dogs, like Ostrava’s HoppyDog and Rajhrad’s Duck & Dog (the last one I know about because of the fantastic Na Humpolce!). There were also imported American beers from the Flying Dog company!

These beers actually tend to be the hoppiest, and so, my favorites. Who doesn’t love a good IPA and APA? Czech beers are really catching up fast to these beloved styles – I absolutely love Nachmelená Opice from Krmov, Duck&Dog above, and Sedmý Schod from Žatec. I wish I could give the same endorsement to HoppyDog but I only tried one of their beers so far!

We of course had to pay our respects to the Tišnov breweries, like Tišnovská Pivnice (I love their 20-degree Porter Coeli) and Květnice (which had a new chocolate-hinted beer!).

My friend Terka was the smiling seller at this stand!

Dolní Bojanovice’s Mazák in the background is also great and can also be found at Na Humpolce.

Snack break! Why not try a “grilled cheese”?

American food translations not welcome here :)!

Now for the most interesting beers of the day.

3. Pivovarský Dům – (Stinging) Nettle Beer

Wait seriously, you mean those things that hurt me on hikes?

Yep, this Prague beer hall makes a green beer with them.

When we asked, they told us that they add the nettles to the end of the process of making a light beer. The nettle did give it color and aroma, but the taste itself was nothing special. It tasted like a stranger light beer. But the shock value alone was pretty interesting!

2. Chomout – Smoked Porter

This dark beer boasted aroma of plums, grandma’s woodpile, and HORSE! and the flavor of Scottish whiskey. And it delivered. A true connoisseur’s beer.

Ondra and I both agreed we couldn’t enjoy a whole one at a time (and we only had a 1 deciliter taste). It tasted too strongly of whiskey, which suggests you should reserve it only for special occasions and in small doses. Still, it was something really special.

1. Nobell Craft Beer – Lemongrass

I know this is cheating, but this brewery is located in BRATISLAVA! However, they had the most interesting beer for me; instead of nettle, they used lemongrass to flavor their beer! The aroma and taste were consistent, light and unique.

People think that only wine tastings can be sophisticated. Nowadays, beer is being specialized with regional hops and to emphasize or incorporate specific flavors, and we can consider it right up there with drinks that you should be sipping with a pinky up!

***

This weekend I started playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. I wanted to play an easy but unique character, so I combined bard and half-orc 😉

We played for about six and a half hours in Czech. It was exhausting for me but I was excited to learn I could follow 95% of the story (with the exception of some fantasy story-level adjectives) easily. I did almost get KO-ed by a surprise grizzly bear on my first day, but I can’t wait to continue!

Categories Brno, Czech CustomsTags , , , , , , ,

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VERONIKA GREGUŠOVÁ

Copywriter & Interviewer

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