Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Kozel Dark Lager

Kozel Dark Lager
Style: Dark Lager
Alcohol Content: 3.8%
From: Velké Popovice near Prague, Czech Republic
Purchased From: Prague Airport

Velkopopovický Kozel is a Czech lager produced since 1874.In that year, Franz Ringhoffer founded a brewery in Velké Popovice near Prague. Their symbol is a goat (Kozel is "goat" in Czech).

The first historical mention of the brewery dates back to the 14th century. The brewery in Velvet Popovice, as we know it today, has its origins in the 19th century. After years of disagreements and the gradual decline of the brewery, it was bought by a rich industrial tycoon, Frantisek Ringhoffer, who was the Mayor of Smíchov and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Czechoslovak history.

The brewery was built in 1875, and the first batch of Kozel beer was brewed in the same year. The brewery, thanks to its owner, introduced new technologies, giving rise to its modern history. At the turn of the 19th to 20th century the brewery passed through its second major reconstruction and its production capacity was increased to 90,000 hectoliters per year from the original 18,000 in the beginning.

After thirty years of socialism the brewery achieved independence in 1991 and in 1992 became a public limited company. In 2002, Kozel merged with the brewery Radegast and the Pilsner Urquell brewery conglomerate SAB Miller.

This beer was the first I tried when I arrived in Prague back in November 2012. I was so impressed with this beer, that I would go back time and time again. So please enjoy this review and try some of this beer if you get your hands on it.

Colour: On the pour, you are greeted with a luxurious dark ruby brown beer. If you hold this beer up to the light, you will notice a reddish Vimto like coloration. One of the most interesting features of this beer is the light brown foamy head. The head is also made up of quite large bubbles and it will stay with you throughout this drink. It's not very often that you find a beer that has a head like this, so enjoy it while you can.

Aroma: On your first sniff you are greeted with beautiful toasted malts and chestnut notes. The dark malts used in this brew give this drink a slight Guinness like quality. Sniffing deeper the drink smells like dark chocolate digestives which have been crushed up to form a cheesecake base.

Body: Normally with dark beers you would expect this brew to feel quite heavy in the mouth. However, this beer performs like a black IPA. A good comparison would be Windsor and Eton's conqueror that I reviewed earlier. Light but also quite rich (if such a thing exists). The body is very similar to an IPA, but after the first sip you realize your drinking something a bit heavier.

Taste: Well, where do i start wit this beer. There are a lot of flavors fluxing though this beer. The first thing you will notice is the rich nutty chocolate quality. If you have ever eaten a Cadbury's whole nut chocolate bar then this is what you get in this lager. The beer is sweet, but it is not overwhelming. You can also pick up the lightest of coffee notes but as this beer is only slightly hopped this is not heavily defined. This beer would go very well with rich gamey meat such as venison. It's so versatile that it would also go will with a stemmed ginger pudding.

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