Session #28: Missed Opportunites, but No Regrets

June 5th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Beer Travels

For those of you not familiar with the “Session”, a.k.a Beer Blogging Friday, it’s something that Stan Hieronymus over at Appellation Beer dreamed up. It is essentially an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to write about a single topic from their own unique perspective. This month’s session is hosted by Brian Yaeger at Red, White, and Brew, and it is the first Session that I have been a part of.

Brian’s topic of “Think/Drink Globally” was a request that we write about the farthest brewery/brewpub that we’ve visited. Between studying abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands (right on the Belgium border), working for a year in Ostrava, Czech Republic and taking trips to many other European countries (and also Egypt), you’d think that I would have some great story from a far away brewery in an interesting country. But, the majority of that travel was before my time as a true-blooded beer geek or done on trips not revolving around beer (like my trip to Italy last year). I drank plenty of good beer at bars in my travels/stay in Europe, but I never did set foot inside an actual brewery. The closest I came was standing outside the gates of the Budvar (the other Budweiser) brewery in Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic in the early morning hours before they were open. I even went to Oktoberfest in Munich while I was studying overseas, but because we spent our time at the beer tents we did not venture into any breweries in our time there. While it would have been great to visit some breweries during all my travels, I have absolutely no regrets with what I did do. My time in Europe was an amazing part of my life – end of story.

So, that leaves my farthest brewery visited as….come on, are you ready for it? Nodding Head in Philly. Yeah. Kind of anticlamactic, huh? I took a trip out to Philly a few years back and visited several breweries, and I think Nodding Head is farthest East. I don’t remember much about the place, other than liking it…so this commentary is pretty short. I sure don’t remember any of the beers in particular, and this was just before my time of taking notes/rating beers. I can say that I really enjoyed the places I visited in Philly (especially Sly Fox and Victory) and I definitely plan to go back one of these days. I will hopefully be replacing Nodding Head with a brewery in Washington, DC or Boston on my upcoming trip to the East coast…

One thing that this post goes to serve as is a realization that I need to get myself back overseas one of these days for an honest to God beer trip. When I lived in Maastricht  there was good beer all around me, but I was a college kid who was just starting to learn what good beer was. I was close enough to ride my bike to Belgium (And we did), yet I never had the pleasure of hitting a brewery there. One of these days I’ll go back and take care of that for sure. In the Czech Republic, I really enjoyed living in a non-touristy city and I got to experience the pleasures of drinking fresh pilsner in towns all over the country. My favorite beer in CZ was one called Radegast, which you used to be able to get in Seattle when I moved here, but I have not seen it on shelves in a long time. It was one of the more popular beers in the Ostrava, CZ region where I was, and it was crisp, refreshing…and cheap (it all was). Once again, I’d love to go back to CZ one of these days and visit friends….and I’d make sure to fit in visiting a couple breweries this time for sure.

Another mission of this Session was to drink a beer from our farthest brewery, or a similar one, and then talk a bit about it. Well, since I can’t exactly get one from Nodding Head and I’m not even sure what I drank there, I decided to go with a Czech style pilsner. In particular, I went with Lagunitas Pils. I recently had this as part of a tasting panel I did for the Northwest Brewing News, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. There aren’t too many West coast brewers that bottle a good pilsner, but Lagunitas turns out a great one here in my opinion. It’s refreshing and has a solid hop bitterness that fits perfectly for the style. It’s so refreshing that I think I’ll grab one right now to have on the patio in this 85 degree, sunny weather…

Drinking some Pilsner Urquell on the square in Prague with Pollack.

Drinking some Pilsner Urquell on the square in Prague with Pollack.

One tiny little Czech waitress carried all 10 of those large glasses of Radegast - nicely done.

One tiny little Czech waitress carried all 10 of those large glasses of Radegast - nicely done.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • P. Fruit Trees

    I can honestly say that if I was one to contribute I would have to say Ireland (Dublin) and there was three of them. Porterhouse, Messr McGuire’s, and of course Guinness all demonstrated one thing, we American are spoiled sods.
    But the larger issue I see with being a beer writer whether you are paid by the story or not is that its a job that still requires you to pay you own way. So I wouldn’t feel too bad that you haven’t made your way back to the other side of the pond. But if you do decide to go, just make sure you have room in your suitcase for me.


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