Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Tag: Ratebeer

Nils Oscar Rökporter

How do you celebrate a new apartment? We spent last week moving exactly three and a half million boxes from our old place in Prague 8 to our new home in Prague 1, where we’re now just a few minutes’ walk from Pivovarský klub (danger, Will Robinson). After dumping our belongings in the hallway, I inaugurated the transition with a bottle of Nils Oscar Rökporter, courtesy of Per at Ohhh… My Head, who handed it over at the Ratebeer European Summer Gathering. (In exchange, I offered a bottle of Klostermann from Pivovar Strakonice).

First off, even though the name means “smoke porter,” this is no Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier — the smoke in the Nils Oscar beer is much more understated, closer to the version (or versions) from Brauerei Spezial. It’s deep ruby with a nice sandy head and a nose of malt, oats and honey. After a semi-sweet gulp on the tongue, there’s an aromatic, Montecristo-peppery smokiness. The finish is lasting but not overbearing. A great way to break in a new apartment — really good stuff.

I like Klostermann fine, but after tasting this I’m sure I did better than Per in our trade: Nils Oscar Rökporter is currently #41 of Ratebeer’s list of the 50 best beers in Sweden, and it was one of the bottles I was searching for while checking out Czech beers in Stockholm earlier this year. Though the original word was that this was a one-off brew, Per writes that it will now be brewed year round, and made available from October. Get one if you can.

The internet still isn’t hooked up at the new place, so I’m on a limited posting schedule. More once the tubes are connected.

The Ratebeer European Summer Gathering 2008

Last Sunday, 35 beer fans from around Europe met in Plzeň to sample what must have been one of the world’s best collections of unusual beers: the Grand Tasting of the 2008 Ratebeer European Summer Gathering.

How unusual? This year’s Grand Tasting list included brews from Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Argentina, as well as scores of other countries which are even better known for malt beverages. It included geographically obscure brands of average quality, like Bosnia’s Sarajevsko, as well as sought-after cult favorites like Bass No. 1 and P-2 Imperial Stout, all of which were imported into the Czech Republic in the backpacks, suitcases and automobiles of users of All were readied for the hard work of tasting — and rating.

“It gets kind of weird once you get up past 100 beers in a tasting,” admitted one attendee.

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Beer Tasting: Klášterní Pivovar Strahov


Okay, I goofed. As part of the first post of Beer Culture, I promised a review of the Christmas beer at Prague’s Klášterní pivovar Strahov (Strahov Monastery Brewery). By the time I got up there last week, it was gone, completely sold out and no longer available. Promiňte! I’ve tried this beer several times over the past few years and it’s always seemed to last longer than this — and it’s always been worth the trip. But, due to the typical holiday rush, the 2007 version escaped me. Give me another eleven months and I’ll make it up to you.

As an alternative, here’s a tasting report on two other special beers from Strahov, both of which I tried recently from bottles.

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