Beer Geek Bar
The difference between wine snobbery and beer geekery is kind of like the difference between cats and dogs. Some people like both; some people strongly prefer one over the other; and some people own fish. Having worked in and out of the restaurant industry since I was fifteen, I have always found beer to be more approachable, down-to-earth and overall more "people friendly" (dogs). Needless to say, I have always felt more comfortable discussing, pairing and recommending beer than say, a limited edition 2005 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. I love wine, don't get me wrong, but people who know wine tend to come off a bit particular and haughty (cough cats). I like cats too, but dogs are just more fun. Moving on...
This past weekend I paid a visit to my favorite local, craft beer spot, Beer Geek Bar. Situated along Vinohradská street next to Jiřího z Poděbrad metro (aka JZP as I and fellow expats with horrible Czech pronunciation call it), if you don't know where to look for the underground bar, you might walk right by it. My best advice: look for the big, black, illuminated sign that reads "Beer Geek Bar" (see above).
The first time I wandered into Beer Geek, I was immediately reminded of several breweries I frequent in the U.S. Complete with a digital beer board showcasing 32 rotating taps, Beer Geek offers an unrivaled selection of international beer as well as local Czech brews. Kindly listing all of their current beers online, I already knew what I wanted to try before leaving my flat- conveniently/dangerously located only a few blocks away.
My beer of choice? The Matuška California American Pale Ale (12.5° /5.3%). The easygoing first cousin of the original British Pale Ale, American Pale Ales (APA) are traditionally around 5% ABV with a heavy dose of American hops. Blurring lines with the American Indian Pale Ale (IPA), APAs tend to be slightly less hoppy and can show off a range of malty, herbal and fruity flavors.
Combining Cascade (US) and Saaz (CZ) hops, the Matuška California American Pale Ale is surprisingly bitter, yet crisp and refreshing enough to go down easy- too easy. Its pale golden color reminds me of summertime, and if you're into bitter beer, its light body makes it a solid choice to enjoy by the pool, on the beach or lounging around in the sun.
If nothing on tap fancies you, Beer Geek also offers a variety of assorted craft bottles and cans. With caution, I recommend the fruity, downright sexy Victory Golden Monkey (9.5%), from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you're not careful, this Belgian Tripel-Style will have you seeing golden monkeys. But it's excellent and from my hometown- so I'm biased. If you still can't find what you're looking for, take a quick stroll down the street to Beer Geek Pivotéka (bottle shop).
I'm a sucker for chicken wings, but they have to be done right. Beer Geek's very own kitchen: The Flying Blue Monkey Kitchen, serves up over a dozen styles of chicken wings ranging from their classic, JZP buffalo-style and Ranch to Habanero Cranberry to Jamaican Tears. My personal favorite is Korean Style. Receiving one flame out of three on the hot scale, the Korean wings are the perfect combo of sweet and spicy and come with the standard side of blue cheese and french fries. Recommendation: Don't share with your friends.
The first thing you notice about Beer Geek is its logo (see Hipster/Lumberjack-esqu cartoon holding a beer). At first, I thought, OK, I get it. Let me grab my flannel. But then you take a seat and realize the 'craftiness' is not ironic or reproduced. From the bar top and furniture to the hand-crafted decor on the walls, Beer Geek is like being inside the mind of a beer-loving engineer, tinkering and perfecting his creations. A vibe that could easily come off a bit industrial and cold is thoughtfully balanced with quirky signs, vibrant chalkboards, handwriting on the walls and cozy colors.
My only disappointment is that Beer Geek does not have outdoor seating for warmer weather.
- Location: Jiřího z Poděbrad (JZP), Žižkov, Prague 3
- Style: Craft Beer Bar/Kitchen
- Specialties: Variety of Czech and International Craft Beer & Chicken Wings
- Favorite Beer: Matuška California American Pale Ale (12.5°) (rotating tap- subject to change)
- Favorite Food: Korean Style Wings
- Price: $$