Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sampling four beers from The Czech Republic


It's time for another sampling of obscure beers not readily available where I live! Last time I had some beers from Iceland, this time it's four beers from The Czech Republic. All of these beers were personally hand-delivered to me by a friend of the family named Lukas who is from Prague (I think). He brought these beers with him on a recent trip to the United States because he knows I do beer reviews and always like to try beers I can't get here. Thanks again to Lukas for the donation.

Krušovice Černe
3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (624) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
Got a 500ml can from a friend in the Czech Republic (thanks, Lukas!)
Poured into a large mug.

Appearance: Black with some ruby red highlight like a stout, but without the thickness. Generates a surprisingly large head for a lager. Poor retention and lacing, though.

Smell: not much to speak off. Slightly malty. Doesn’t smell like a typical European lager, though (thankfully!).

Taste: Much like the aroma - very mild and faint but what’s here isn’t offensive. I get a touch of biscuity malt and a slight sweetness like a flat cola. Absolutely nothing repulsive about the palate, but not a lot to truly enjoy.

Mouthfeel: Not too thin, but tepid. Finishes clean so aftertaste is virtually non-existent.

Drinkability: Extremely smooth! Drinks more like a flat soda than a beer, which makes sense considering the amazing low ABV of only 3.8%

Overall, not the best schwarzbier I’ve ever had, but impressed by how drinkable it is. If only there was robustness to the palate.

Grade: 6/10

Gambrinus Svetlý 10° (Desítka)
2.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (624) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
Received a 500ml can from a friend in the Czech Republic (thanks, Lukas!)
Poured into a lager glass.

Appearance: Clear, bright straw color. Forms a frothy, bright white head, but it dissolves almost completely. Constant effervescence, though.

Smell: Very little aroma. Faint generic pale lager scent - grows more sour as it warms. At least it isn’t skunky, though.

Taste: I notice a lot of these European pilsners and pale lagers tend to taste like "rubber gloves." Grainy, bland, watery taste gives way to a slightly sour, chemical-like taste. It’s actually much more bland than it is foul. Still, there’s nothing to genuine appreciate about the palate here.

Mouthfeel: As watery as it tastes, it doesn’t feel as thin in the mouth.

Drinkability: For an authentic European pilsner this isn’t crisp, clean or refreshing. It does seem low in carbonation for the style, though. Quaffable if you can tolerate it.

Overall, an unimpressive beer considering this is the brewery that makes the world famous Pilsner Urquell. A challenge to finish.

Grade: 3/10

Kozel 11° Medium
3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (624) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
Received a 500ml can from a friend in the Czech Republic (thanks, Lukas!)
Poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Bright, clear straw color. Very effervescent at first, but becomes mostly tepid sooner than later. Forms a huge, frothy head which mostly dissipates, but not completely. Ok lacing.

Smell: Virtually non-existent aroma. Very generic European pilsner scent of grain. Nothing skunky or foul, though.

Taste: Extremely neutral-tasting. Thankfully there’s nothing foul or sour about the palate, but there isn’t much to like. It’s very clean and watery with a touch of biscuity malt on the finish. Otherwise, a bland beer.

Mouthfeel: Wet, watery, somewhat thin. Not crisp while in the mouth.
Finishes clean, though

Drinkability: bland taste + watery/tepid palate = easy-drinking beer. Somewhat refreshing because of its water-like quality, but is that really a compliment?

Grade: 4/10

Staropramen Lager (Ležák)
3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (624) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
Received a 500ml can from a friend in the Czech Republic (thanks, Lukas!)
Poured into a 24oz mug

Appearance: dark gold, mostly clear body. Decent head sticks around for most of the time and leaves some lacing.

Smell: clean, mild, generic lager scent. Nothing off-putting.

Taste: Finally, a Czech pilsner with a bit of taste. Not much, mind you, but some. Doesn’t taste like water, but actual beer with slightly biscuity malts and a hint of hop bitterness. Touch of sweetness in the aftertaste. However, it’s still quite mild overall and little to appreciate.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than most brews of the style I’ve had. Not as overtly watery or thin, but does feel wet and tepid.

Drinkability: Not exactly chuggable, which is odd considering how mild of a beer this is. Probably would pair well with snacks or bar fare.

Overall, a decent European lager, but far from the best example the continent has to offer. I’m actually indifferent to it.
 
Grade: 5/10