Kozel Světlý

pron. "koh-zell svyetley"

Having finished my travels and settled back into Czech Republic, the land of amazing beer and hot girls, I figured it might be a good idea to review a standard no-frills beer so that my antipodean, kangaroo-punching counterpart Ant understands what we're dealing with. First things first, I loved the Australian & NZ beers I drank. They are far better than any of the British beers I had of the same category (bar Brew Dog's offerings, but that may be due to my Aberdonian bias). 

However in Czech Republic the benchark is rather different. You may think you have tried a Czech beer, you may even have had a bottle of Pilsner Urquell but until you've had a pint of draught here you're missing something. Back in the UK everything is pasteurized, and somehow has a metallic taste in kegs, cans and even bottles. Someone had the bright idea of importing Staropramen to the UK and marketing it as a "Premium" beer (often going north of £3.50 per pint in Edinburgh) which is a travesty!

Anyway, enough shite talk. Kozel is an oft overlooked beer brewed in Velké Popovice in Bohemia. I say this because there aren't really any bars sporting Kozel's logo, and it plays second fiddle to Pilsner Urquell and Svijany (and Starobrno but shhh let's not speak of that) for the most part. Here in Brno you'll pay Kc 20 - 35 for a pint (£0.63-1.10 or AU$1.00-1.78) in bars, which is incredible. 

Classic pilsner taste, slightly bitter but at least 1000% nicer than anything you'll have in the UK and with a nice foamy european head. There is actually another version, Kozel Černý, which is dark in colour but taste-wise is surprisingly light and refreshing (it bears no resemblance to Stout at all, better to think of it as a slightly thicker pilsener which happens to be dark coloured).

Kozel means (male?) goat, I'm not sure what the significance of the name is. I really like the Kozel pint glasses (Krygl in Czech). They're made of sturdy, thick glass and have got an awesome handle - so they're perfect for kicking off the evening the ritual na zdraví and smashing your beers together.

Recommended place to drink: Duck bar. Scruffy little bar in a reclaimed quarry south of the river in Brno, of dubious legal status. Surely that makes it better :)

Strength is 10 degrees - which is approx 4%. 

Only 3.75/5 because I'm now being really fussy due to my location.

Red Duck Pale Ale

Due to laziness, I've been pretty much drinking beers instead of writing about them.  An interesting beer list at a "wine bar" on Friday gave me some motivation though.


First up was Red Duck Pale Ale. They say "An easy drinking, thirst quenching ale. A touch of specialty malt and malted wheat for extra interest, a reasonable amount of hops for some bitterness, but mostly aroma." Which mostly agrees with my notes. It's a little bit fuity, but not nearly as much as Little Creatures Pale Ale. Bottle conditioned, so there's a bit of sediment in there.


4.5% & Victorian, they're really on the small side so you might struggle to find them. By "you", I really mean "Sean". Apologies for the crappy photo...


Trumer Pils

I felt a bit let down by this.  Maybe it's because I don't drink a lot of Pils.  But from the writeup Trumer give this thing I'd expected something more.  Anyway.


It's definitely a good Pils, it's nice and fresh, creamy head, but the flavour just seems a bit harsh to my taste. In the interests of fairness I think we're going to have to send Sean to find one of these and drink it, and see what he comes back with.


sean being a dickhead: is this perhaps the first time Ant has not taken a picture of something? Either post a comment or file a restraining order against him for blackmailing you with that shower shot he took.

Cavalier Pale Ale

Spotting a trend? Pale ales might just be my favourite style of beer.


Cavalier's Pale Ale is possibly one of my favourite pale ale's.  With a much stronger aroma than the Red Duck, and a lingering aftertaste, it also felt like you got more from each mouthful: from before the mouthful to well after you've finished it.  Quite hoppy, but without a lot of bitterness, it's nice & fruity.


These little microbreweries seem to be popping up everywhere in Victoria.  If I didn't have so many other things to get done I think I'd end up an alcoholic wreck trying to sample them all.

Shit Beer Shootout - Filipino Edition

Ant and I talked about doing a value beer shootout, but never got round to it while I was in Australia. As mentioned in previous post, San Miguel Pale Pilsen is not the only beer in Philippines, the ones I chose to include were Red Horse, Manila Beer and Colt 45. 

First up Red Horse, which should have been ₱55 per can but somehow it was rung through the tills as a Manila beer @ ₱37. Score!  The can describes it as having a "full-flavored taste and extra-satisfying strength" so I had a high expectations.

The beer poured with no head whatsoever and went flat pretty quickly. Once poured it had a faintly cidery smell. The taste falls far short of "full-flavored" and - surprise number 2 had a faintly barbecue\smokey flavour. Not barbecue like a smokey taste, but more like the "barbecue" flavoured Walkers crisps or the barbecue sauce you get on bad pizzas. Either way it doesn't really taste like beer. At 6.9% it's pretty strong, I think it's what the americans call "Malt Liquor". Fun fact: there was an American guy of about 50 years old in our hostel who was often holding a can of Red Horse but always drunk. It gets 2/10 because while it has no taste, it at least doesn't have an offensive taste.

Time for Colt 45 now. And having poured it, the head is nonexistant and the the taste is ... exactly the same as Red Horse. I'm not even kidding. There is no reason to ever drink this. 6.5% ABV, 2/10

Finally it's Manila Beer, and finally we have a flavour yet sadly no head again. Slightly sharp and bitter, but a vague beer-like taste is coming through. At 7% ABV it's strongest of the bunch. Slight hint of Banana, but I suspect this is accidental. 

Of the three Manila Beer is definitely the "best", as it at least has some kind of flavour. However as they're all fairly watery rather than bad-tasting, they're all pretty drinkable in the same way that cold water is drinkable. The take-home from this is that Pale Pilsen is a pretty good beer, and that the three above should probably be avoided.

San Miguel Pale Pilsen

San Miguel Pale Pilsen is pretty much the defacto national beer in the Philippines. While others do exist, like Red Horse, Manila Beer and San Mig Light, the Pale Pilsen is the closest thing to real beer you can get and the first thing worth reviewing since I left Australia.

Singapore has the strong-but-artificial tasting Tiger, for some reason Malaysia mainly had Carlsberg & SKOL, and Thailand has the well known, but ultimately forgettable, Chang and Singha (as well as "Archa" which is, as the joke goes, like having sex in a canoe).

Fans of Pilsner Urquell will not be surprised to find out that Pale Pilsen doesn't quite match up to it's Bohemian namesake. It comes in 330ml "coke" sized cans or cute little dumpy 330ml bottles. The cans (pictured with semi-naked Frenchman) sometimes cost more, for some reason.

However it's not really fair to compare it to a Czech or German beer, but it blows its southeast asian competition out of the water Archa as far as I'm concerned. It's got a malty-sweet flavour, it's not too fizzy and it's cheap cheap cheap! In a 7-11 in Manila expect to pay around ₱23-26 per bottle, which is around £0.31 or AU$0.51, in a bar maybe twice that at most. Weirdly you get a little serviette wrapped around the bottle top in the Philippines. I never found out why.

Rating: 6/10

Coopers Pale Ale

Anthony: Well, I have to admit that this is a bit of a staple in the house.  Bottle-fermented, so there's plenty of residue, so if you're bothered by that sort of thing either decant it into a glass or roll the bottle on the counter first.  An easy-drinking pale ale from the biggest Australian-owned brewer, it's pretty tasty.

Edit: turns out I can't put things in the right place.  Fixed.

Grand Ridge Draught Bitter

Sean: From the "WORLD'S MOST AWARDED BREWERY" (emphasis theirs) we have the Grand Ridge Draught Bitter, part of a pack of 6 Grand Ridge beers gifted to me by Anthony and Kara for my birthday. Again the name is a little confusing as it's not like the Bitters we have back home. It's more like a hoppy lager. An absolutely fine brew but nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

4.9% from Victoria.

Maybe we should have a rating system? Like this guy.

Anthony thinks that while this is a perfectly acceptable beer, it's a bit... boring.  If someone put it in front of me, I'd quite happily drink it, but I wouldn't go search it out.  It does say "lager" in small letters on the back, which explains afew things. If 5/10 is acceptable, I'd give it 6/10.

Mildura Brewery Mallee Bull Heavy

Anthony says  it's not what I expected from something labelled "heavy", though it does say amber ale on the back.  My type of amber ale too... not smoky at all, almost sweet, but it hangs around for a while so you know it's still there.  A very comfortable beer!  5.6% & Victorian. Retro-rating 8.5/10.

Sean says err this ain't nothing like the "Heavy" we have back home but ooh rather pleasant. Strong (alcohol-wise) too and not too hoppy or malty. Tiny bit sweet. If my palate wasn't so scorched by vindaloos, kebabs and that time I was dared to drink a pint of Brent Crude (easiest £5 I ever made) I'd be able to offer a more nuanced analysis.

PS: Edited because I can't spell.

Prickly Moses Red Ale

Anthony: It's got an echidna on it, so it must be good.  And, while it's not my normal thing... it is good.  Amber ale with that burnt toffee flavour, it's definitely a cooler weather beer.  It also tastes extremely coppery to me, which I hope makes sense. 5% & Victorian, retro-rating 7.5/10.

Sean: It is apparently made with real echidna, too. I can taste toast. Maybe it's a breakfast beer?