21 December 2016

Czech detective

A fairly regular chore on this blog -- which is essentially an index of beers -- is to try and figure out which beer I've actually just had, following a bar's creative efforts to call it something other than its common or brewery-assigned name. And it seems to be a phenomenon to which Czech beers are particularly susceptible, both at home and over here. Maybe it's that particular character of Czech beer culture, that the stuff is made for enjoying in hearty quantities, which leads to the idea that the drinker doesn't really need to know what's in the glass or how it relates to anything else: the colour and gravity are all the information you require.

This came to mind after my most recent lunchtime excursion to Pifko on Usher's Quay. And to be honest my first beer wasn't a problem. Though absent from the brewery website, it's right there on RateBeer: Slavkovský Titanic, a 4.5% ABV pale lager. Mine arrived looking everso handsome in its brewery-branded mug, darker than usual for a světlý ležák, almost amber in colour. It's thickly textured and has an added perfume to the classic pilsner grass flavour. The finish is long and bitter, stretching those hop oils all the way across the palate for ages. It's not a subtle beer, but it is cleanly flavoured and has the right amount of substance to balance those big hops. Lip-smacking if not gob-smacking, and I'd happily have had another, except I wanted to try...

"Slavkovský Bohemian Lager". It's 5% ABV and there are no likely candidates on the RateBeer listings. The brewery's website does mention a Slavkovská Dvanáctka ("Slavkov 12", if you like) at the right strength so that's my best guess for what this is. Does it need to be this hard? Anyway, the beer is another dark honey-gold one and has a very similar perfume quality to the Titanic, though this time the bitterness is far more restrained. The main stretch of the flavour is candy-sweet, brought to a finish with just a quick sharp acidity. It's enjoyable, and decently full-flavoured, but I found myself hankering after the hefty hop whack I got from the previous one.

Two damned decent lagers, then, and a reminder of why Pifko is one of Dublin's hidden treasures, despite a somewhat casual approach to product badging.


  1. It's even the same in their brewery... Delicious beer, but almost impossible to find out what you're drinking