Friday, October 19, 2012

Hospoda Czech Pub/Bistro

Considering what a huge fan I am of Budvar, Staropramen, and, of course Pilsner Urquell, I can't believe that it's taken me a year to check out Hospoda (Czech for "pub"), the Czech bar/bistro located in the Upper East Side -- in the same building as the Consulate General of the Czech Republic. My Czech hockey coaching pal Mike has been trying to get me there since the place opened in fall of 2011, touting the various types of pours served and the extreme freshness of the Pilsner there. I thought, "Meh -- I've had Urquell. It's good. How could it be that much, if any, better at this place?"

Finally, chance would place us in the pub's neighborhood. As we entered Mike greeted the reputed master tapman Lukas, who's in charge of the famed pours at Hospoda. We sat at a long, narrow communal table and a waitress came to us with small sample glasses filled with mostly Pilsner Urquell foam. She explained the four different pours offered and what differentiated them -- from the creamiest all-foam pour to the sharp tasting headless mug.
A glass floor reveals the cold room storing kegs.
As I put glass to mouth and got my first taste of Hospoda's Pilsner Urquell, I had a genuine flashback to the very first time that I tasted fresh Czech pilsner. I was 18 years old, in West Berlin and I had ordered a Budweiser Budvar on draught. It was like no other beer that I had ever tasted. And since then, I've had more Czech pilsners than I can recall, often at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Queens. And you'd think that they'd have good pilsner there, and they do. But not like this -- nothing as bright and fresh and flavorful as the pilsner served at Hospoda.
Descriptions of the various pours on offer.
We'll leave the report there for now, because it's inevitable that B.R. and I will return to Hospoda (in the very near future) for some of that Czech liquid gold, and to find out how the beer there is so much fresher and tastier than what we've experienced elsewhere in the past.

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