Tag Archive: Staropramen

Sainsbury Low Alcohol Czech Lager

Staropramen: Sainsbury’s Czech Low Alcohol Pilsner Lager (Czech Republic: Low Alcohol Pilsner: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow grain. Moderate carbonation. Had a white head, but by the time I had finished kicking my errant camera it had nearly vanished.

Nose: Wet cardboard.

Body: Moderate malt. Slightly chalky. Soft vanilla and palma violets. Light bitterness. Cereal grain. Soft lemon and fruit very late on in the beer.

Finish: Vanilla. Dry. Dried banana touch. Palma violets. Soft lemon on pancakes.

Conclusion: A low alcohol beer night. Because obviously I know how to par-tay! After having been to Prague I figured the best way to recreate that feeling was with a low abv beer from a supermarket brand*.

*warning, some unnecessary sarcasm may be in use.

It is kind of an empty beer. Thankfully not chemically, not an abomination against all things good and proper. Just…empty. There is just about enough to identify it as that elusive pilsner character. Just about. There is a soft palma violet vibe, and an ease of drinking to it. The bitterness is way below the expected level, but on mouthfeel it isn’t terribly done.

I am damning with faint praise aren’t I? It’s intentional.

There just isn’t a huge amount to it. A light kind of grain cereal flavour, some vanilla sweetness to round off the edges. At least it is better than the aroma, which is basically wet cardboard.

It is effectively inoffensive, nowhere near as bad as say Tesco Value Lager or as chemically as Becks Alcohol Free. Also not huge and flavoursome like Drink in the Sun/Snow. It is just, well, there. Beer feeling and lager tasting, but not much more than that.

Late on it does manage some soft fruit, so manages to touch base with enough elements to say it is a Czech Pilsner, but they are so lightly done that it is nowhere near a well crafted one. At 0.5% abv I would think I was being picky, if I had not tried so much better examples.

I guess it keeps your hand off stronger beers if you are driving, and it just about calls to Czech Pilsners so you don’t hate drinking it.

So, ok, not terrible, but far from any form of excitement that a beer should bring.

Background: looking at rate beer apparently this is identical to, or very close to Staropramen Nealko. Never tried it, couldn’t say. Anyway, after coming back from Prague and their excellent Bohemian Pilsners, I saw this. and because I obviously wanted to shit all over my memories I bought a few bottles. Well, it was more that I like to keep an eye out for low abv beers that don’t actually suck. Some of them actually do exist. So I thought I would give this a try. Drunk while listening to some “Hate In The Box”, which may give an impression of my expectations for this beer.


Staropramen Černý Lezak

Staropramen: Černý Lezak (Dark) (Czech Republic: Tmavý : 4.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark cherry red to brown. Large loose bubbled milk chocolate covering coloured head.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Coffee. Roasted.

Body: Roasted. Liquorice. Treacle and chocolate. Smooth chocolate liquore. Slight black cherry. Coffee. Toffee touched.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Roasted. Chocolate liquore.

Conclusion: This is a very smooth take on the style, a beer with pretty much no harsh edges. The middle comes in like chocolate liquore, lighter in feel but with the same slickness. There is a roasted character there, but never heavy enough to be harsh, just instead acting alongside the coffee to create a coffee cake like drying character to keep it from being sickly.

This combination of characteristics makes it very easy to drink, though it is not all positive, it doesn’t really have any textual complexity, and worse still that means it doesn’t quite bring the flavour complexity of a great dark beer either.

It does make for a nice, or pleasant beer, two words that can be seen as damning with faint praise, but appropriate here, it is a beer that does not overly stand out. It does deliver that chocolate liquore flavour without either the heaviness or booziness that seems to often come with that element, which is enough to keep it from bland. Also it does mean that it is a beer that has one of two possible uses that stands out. A) As a gateway beer, it doesn’t have a challenge that could put off someone who is not used to dark beers, and so can be used as an introduction to this end of the spectrum . B) As an easygoing middle of the day beer, when you want to be able to kick back and have something with flavour, but are more focussed on talking with friends and the like.

So, yeah, relaxing, but without the class to go with it for a great beer. Not bad, but defined by where it doesn’t push the limits rather than by where it does.

Background: Something a bit more mainstream to round off the Prague run. Back in the day Staropramen Dark was one of Michael Jackson’s 500 great beers. I don’t know how this version compares, though MolstonCoors do own Staropramen now. Still thought I would give it a try. This was drunk at the hotel, using the beer glass left for us to drink very expensive beers from the hotel fridge. Sod that, this was bought for less than a quid at a local shop.

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