This Žižkov pub pours Podkováň, an excellent, astonishingly cheap, and increasingly hard-to-find Bohemian lager
Situated in the Kokořín valley, slightly northeast of Prague, the Podkováň brewery sits near a natural spring, among some of the best hop-growing conditions in the country.
The result is an easy-drinking 10-degree beer. It has the slightly tinny quality often associated with the northern beers, but is nice and crispy, and the tinniness doesn't linger.
U Radnice focuses on 10-degree beer, so, not surprisingly, this was very fresh, with a creamy head that had endurance, nice Belgian lace, served at close-to-perfect temperature, and with a well balanced, refreshing finish.
The 12-degree we tried obviously isn't poured very often and isn't really worth mentioning. Freshness is one of the many things that make Czech beer great, and any beer from an off keg, served in that special glass they keep for the 12-degree - unrinsed and with little soap bubbles clinging to the insides of the glass - isn't going to taste good. I would bet that the 12-degree in Podkováň itself is pretty damn good, judging from the quality of the 10 but here... It's a shame.
Pleasant and clean, with hardwood tables and an obviously loyal local following, U Radnice is 100-percent old-school. The menu is the same menu you've seen in a thousand other Czech restaurants and isn't worth considering. Hit nearby Mon Ami for some great Balkan food if you're hungry.
But U Radnice is a great place to duck in for a few quick Podkováň 10-degrees - the kind of pub where you can catch a guy playing old Moravian folk songs on an accordion in-between halves of the European Under-17 Championship football final.
Even at 14 crowns per half-liter, the Podkováň 10 stands up to any of Prague's more popular beers, and it's worth the sidetrip into Žižkov to seek it out.
As the big breweries squeeze their regional rivals out of the Prague market, local beers like Podkováň will become impossible to find. It's a shame that the larger corporations don't buy and develop small breweries, and market their products as "boutique beers" for the local and international market. Letting them die seems a silly waste.
Check out the Podkováň Brewery website for more information on this beer.
Podkováň 10-Degree: 14 CZK
Podkováň 12-Degree: 17 CZK
Restaurace U Radnice
Havlíčkovo nám. 7, Prague 3
Phone: (+420) 222 782 713
Tram: 5, 9, 26, 55, 58 (stop: Lipanská)
Bus: 136 (stop: Rokycanova)
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