My day was made perfect this morning at the tram stop when I looked at the newspaper I had just bought and saw that there was a story about beer right on the front page.
MF DNES Beer Test: Every third was under the measure
And after the story: “Further information on page 4 and in the regional supplement, section D.”
It goes without saying that Czechs take their beer seriously. But they are also concerned with the fairness of transactions and not being ripped off. Restaurant menus traditionally list the weight of the meat in their dishes and how much wine or juice you will get in your glass. And beer glasses have a line on them to mark exactly where 0.5 litres is.
Lager should be served with a good head of foam on it. Something about releasing the aromatics and achieving full flavour. Which is why the mark for 0.5 litres is usually about 3 cm below the top of the glass.
And why I can’t abide how they pour lager in England because they treat it like ale, which is poured without a head, and just fill the pint glass with liquid all the way to the top. But that is a complaint for another day.
So every beer glass you ever see in the Czech Republic should have a line on it, and regular beer drinkers often check to see if they are getting their money’s worth. If you want to be able to complain, you have to wait until the foam all settles and you can really see how much liquid you have. Most people don’t have that kind of patience.
“Someplace millimetres, someplace else up to a whole centimetre below the line…”
Journalists went together with inspectors from the Czech Commercial Inspection. They visited 86 pubs all over the country. The inspectors go with rulers and pipettes to measure beer and shots. In Prague, 6 of 10 pubs poured their beer below the line. The inspectors gave one Prague pub an on-the-spot fine of over 5000 Kč (about US$250).
Customers are fully within their rights to complain if their beer does not reach the line. But please consider before you do complain – I don’t recommend pissing off the people that are pouring your beer.