While writing my guide to Czech beers, I tried to include as many strange details as I could — the kind of stuff that would hopefully make the book fun to read, maybe even more than once. Like the date when a small Bohemian town under siege paid off the occupying Swedish army with barrels of lager. The new beer being developed for its ability to treat the symptoms of menopause. The twisted history of Velke Brezno’s Zippich mascot. And so on.
A list I'm working on now consists of the many sweet things made with beer. There’s a new beer cake at one of my favorite pubs in Prague, Pivovarsky Klub. And brewer Frantisek Richter — the man is a genius — just promised that nearby Richter Brewery’s sold-out Pilsner-style ice cream would return soon as a permanent addition to the menu. "It tastes just like beer," he said. "But it’s ice cream."
One saccharine treat sometimes found here is beer jelly, often as a topping for palacinky, aka crepes. But beer jelly is not just a Czech specialty. While researching German beers this spring, I discovered one of the best beer jellies in the universe: Peters, sold directly at the brewery in Cologne. A slightly cloudy deep gold, it has a malty nose with a blast of real Kölsch flavor followed by a lastingly sweet finish.
I’d give it five out of five. And yes — it makes for one heck of a breakfast spread. Now where are those palacinky?