Back when I was young and innocent -- in December 2005 -- I was quite positive about the arrival of a new beer from České Budějovice; but that was before I realised that the tide of imported pale lager would continue to rise until we risked drowning in the yellow fizz that still dominates our imported beer market.
Still, in the Bull & Castle this week I asked if there was anything new in stock and the options presented were both from the Budějovický Měšťanský brewery, the same one that makes BB Bürgerbräu.
Named after the brewery's foundation date, 1795 exhibits a lot of that typical budweiser maltiness. However, it lacks the weight of body that I think ought to go with it, ending up overly sweet but still rather slight. It's refreshing, in its own way, but so are dozens of other European imports, and Irish licence-brewed macrolagers for that matter.
The notebook in the picture on the right, by the way, is the larval stage of Knut Albert's beer blog. Knut had dropped in for a flying visit, and to exchange a bottle of Norwegian craft beer for two small tins of crappy Cuban lager -- an exchange rate which could do wonders for the Caribbean island's economy if continued on a larger scale. Anyway...
Second up was Samson, indistinguishable in appearance to its stablemate. The malt levels are down here and it steers clear of the almost-cloying sweetness of 1795. Unfortunately, there's nothing in there to fill that flavour gap. A touch of mild bitterness, but nothing you'd describe as hoppiness, not by a long stretch. This is one of the blandest bottles of Czech beer I've ever met.
Between the two I'd pick the 1795, purely for the fact that it has some flavour rather than none. But it's just as well that the pub I was drinking in has an amazing selection of tasty beers to wash away the unpleasantness. A Galway Hooker and a bottle of O'Hara's stout and all is forgiven.