23 December 2009

Staropramen Czech Pilsener

As yesterday's post no doubt made clear, my alcohol hierarchy puts light beers- especially lagers- way at the bottom. For the longest time I thought all beer tasted like Corona and Red Dog, so the first two years of my drinking life were limited pretty exclusively to vodka and, on exceptionally rash and desperate days, gin.

That said, I can't help put pick up a Czech beer once in a while- granted my blood is Slovak and I'll rant for hours about the pathetic Europhile spinelessness of "the Czech Republic" and its Bavarian bootlicking, but standing in the Bull's Eye Beer Depot surrounded by pretentious Belgians, imperious Germans and the blood-thirsty Irish, I have to reach for what's most familiar, and Prague is often as close to home as I'll get.

So now I'm sitting in my living room watching Evan Lysacek (American born, looks vaguely South Slavic, apparently Greek Orthodox) win the 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating with my youngest brother and knocking back a Staropramen "Premium Lager".

The tag line on their website says "Get a taste of Prague." Good lord, if this is what Prague tastes like no wonder it's become the Niagara Falls of Central Europe. Praha is supposed to be zlaté město- the golden city, the mystical and ancient city, the fountainhead of western European sorcery and enchantment. I've been reading tarot since I was about eight years old, but my favorite deck is The Tarot of Prague because of the way it integrates the city's breath-taking art and history into the major and minor arcana.

The Staropramen Lager is, yes, several steps up from the Coronas I've been drinking lately (it's my parents' favorite beer). The carbonation isn't overpowering, the 5% ABV is very subtle, the aroma is light- in general there's nothing at all striking about this beer. Maybe that's the point of a pilsener, I don't know. Seems to me Prague deserves better.