Are You Tasting the Pith? - 11th September 05
The Czech Republic, as everyone knows, is one of the cradles of beer brewing in Europe. What it's easy to forget is that it's only existed as the Czech Republic relatively recently - it used to be Czechoslovakia, and what we have here is a very nice flight of beers from the Topvar brewery in Slovakia. Starting with the Topvar Premium Svetly Lezak (and how Slovaks must wince when they see these words written without the appropriate aeriels and underhangs) at 5% abv, we have a classic central European pilsner, with a nice grainy nose (as opposed to slightly stinky sweetcorn/DMS), a soft body/mouthfeel, initially slightly sweet on the tongue, but with a little bitterness on the back of the tongue immediately after swallowing. The aftertaste is sweetish, but not cloying, and gently moreish
Next up, Topvar Patriot Tvoje Pivo (Strong Beer?) (6% abv) reveals itelf to have a slightly more complex nose - hints of spice, perhaps a touch of citrus, and maybe even some acetaldehydes thrown in for good measure, tipping one off that there is a bit more oomph to this one. On the palate, the beer is structured a little differently to its (slightly) weaker sibling, having a little less weight to the body, less immediate sweetness, and a more prevalent bitterness - much more appealing to my palate. The finish is drier and spicier, and again, quite moreish. Even at 6%, it's very well-balanced.
Finally, we have Topvar Marina Tmavy Lezak (5% abv, with Tmavy indicating that this is a dark beer, as any fule kno). Although this is quite dark, there is still a soft, sappy graininess to the nose, with just a hint of smokiness and dried fruit wafting out. The palate is quite restrained, with well integrated hints of smoke, dried fruit and coffee in the finish.
Overall, a very nice range of beers, without being showy, and good examples of beer from this part of Europe.
POSTSCRIPT: Much to my shame, I've had these beers awaiting tasting for a ridiculous length of time, and there has also been a big gap between tasting them and publishing the notes here. Apologies to Andy at Topvar
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