The stuff of legends

The other weekend I attended the British Open in Sandwich. While I do have golf clubs and have at times actually used them, I am not a big golfer. The reason I was there was that Pilsner Urquell invited me along for the weekend and it would be rude to say no to such hospitality.



London was grey and rainy this time, I often find it very hot and sunny but that might be just me being lucky with the weather. It is however considerably further south than Dublin so is usually warmer. Despite the clouds, London was actually rather warm that weekend.

I flew in to Gatwick Airport where I was collected by a driver that Pilsner Urquell had arranged and was transferred to my hotel for the weekend.


The Savoy hotel in London spent over £220 ($350?) million pounds getting revamped. The hotel is rather famous I hear and I must say it is staggeringly beautiful inside. The staff are also incredibly friendly and will help you in any way they can.


My room for the two nights. The bed was so soft it was like floating on air, in fact it was too soft for me but I made do. Sometimes you have to rough it a little. The iPod stereo was a nice touch as I could charge my iPhone on it.


The TV was pretty cool and had a very nice hotel system built in to it that delivered messages to your screen and arranged wakeup calls.


The bathroom was very nice I thought and everything was laid out and supplied with attention to detail. Mouthwash and cotton buds for instance.


Rather pretty eh? I did not dine in this room but I could have had breakfast there if I wanted. Instead I selected the regular dining room to have breakfast on the day of my departure. I went for a basic bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon because quite frankly, I was not up to much more than that. A piano bar is attached.


Pilsner Urquell had rented a room called the Pinafore room. This contained a bar with PU on tap as well as all the details we would need for our weekend. In the morning it also contained pastries and refreshments.


This is not just one of the brand team pouring a glass of PU, it is the unfiltered and unpasteurised version which is brilliant.

The course of the weekend was as follows. After I checked in to the hotel, I had massage that took about an hour. I could have picked golf but the weather was not the best and I would never pay for a massage for myself where as I could play golf any time I want back home.

I then took a stroll around the area. I ended up going to the London Porterhouse and had a half pint of Oyster Stout. No cask ale and no Wrasslers XXXX that I could see and the place was packed. I had tried to get a beer in a few other pubs but being a Saturday night, they were packed so I headed back to the hotel to get ready. I am glad to see the Porterhouse doing so well over there, even if it was inconvenient for me.

Finally there was no more time for arsing around and it was time for the Pilsner Urquell schedule to kick in.

I was to go to the Princess Ida room (beside Pinafore room) for pre-dinner drinks and snacks. I immediately met Krishan from EatMe magazine (Shakespearian actor as well) and we started talking. Shortly afterwards Marvarine and Tom joined us. I spotted Glynn who I met at the beer bloggers conference and he was chatting with Jeff Evans.
The 6 of us spent the weekend chatting and pretty much banded together. I found it interesting because there was over 20 people in the Pilsner Urquell group, most of them seemed to be golfers so it was fascinating how the 6 writers among us immediately singled each other out and stuck together.


Dinner was next and that was lovely. I stayed with Dave and Glynn until people started singing and playng the piano and then we reckoned it was time to go to bed as we had an early enough start in the morning.

The next morning we got a coach to the train station and hopped aboard the Pilsner Urquell express more commonly known as The Royal Scott. A number of carriages had been branded with Pilsner Urquell decor and set aside for us. We had a lovely breakfast with the best breakfast mushrooms I have ever had. Pilsner Urquell was of course on offer so I started my drinking at 9:30 am.


When we arrived at the open we had a talk from the current brand ambassador, Bernard Gallacher (father of Kisrty). He is a golf legend and all around nice guy. I suppose being a former winner of the open means he is a bit of an expert. He gave us his prediction of the winner and thankfully Darren won.


After our talk with Bernard and our wonderful 3 course lunch, it was time to hit see the golf, but not before we got a behind the scene look at the main beer tent. The technology behind this is staggering, so much so that I will be doing a separate article on it at a later date.

Here are some statistics to wrap your head around though. 90,000 litres of Pilsner Urquell were shipped to the event a few days before it started. Of this, a staggering 74,431 pints were poured for over 179,700 attendees. 200 bar-tenders were required for this and they all received training on Pilsner Urquell and how it should be poured, though technology took care of most of that for them, they were told that there should be a large fluffy white head on the beer, contrary to how a lot of British ales are served.


Pilsner Urquell also did something brilliant. Rather than serve the beer in crappy soft plastic containers like most large events, they arranged for 60,000 Pilsner Urquell hard plastic pint glasses to be made. These glasses, even though they were plastic, were just like drinking from glass. In fact many people were taking them home as souvenirs (myself included) so Pilsner Urquell collected the used glasses and put them through the industrial dishwasher. That is how sturdy they are.



After the tour, we all split up and went to take a look at the golf. I started off not knowing where I was going but I stopped at a few holes and watched some shots. I then started to get in to the spirit a little. Pilsner Urquell provided a lovely branded radio so we could listen to the broadcast and this proved invaluable because I could hear where the leaders were. Darren Clarke was in the lead and since he was from the same Island as me I decided he was the man to cheer on. I heard he was at the 6th hole and I saw a sign for the 8th hole so I decided to catch up with him there.

I got to see the Mickelson team as well and I cheered him on as well, apart from being second, he is American and since I love America like a second home (my wife is American) it only seemed right.
When Darren Clarke arrived he sunk an eagle! I was hooked. It was raining hard, I had no umbrella, I was wearing sandles (figured my feet would get wet anyway) but I had a brilliant time. I stayed out until it was time to go and when I arrived back at the Pilsner Urquell chalet I found everyone drinking and staying nice and dry. I'm sure I looked a wreck with muddy feet, dirty trousers turned up at the ankles, clothing all wet.

Darren Clarke obviously went on to win the open and I could not be happier for him. I would love to know if he had Pilsner Urquell while he was there but I know he is a beer lover and famously loves his Guinness so he probably had some. Darren Clarke is a legend in the making, actually some might consider him a legend already, certainly celebrating with 24 pints of Guinness in one night is legendary. I'm not sure how he did it, but am I no different? I had been drinking all day and I doubt I was anywhere near that much beer. In fact if I drank the equivalent of 24 pints throughout the whole weekend I would be surprised.

All to soon it was time to head back to London. However it was back on the Pilsner Urquell train for some leisurely pampering.


The train journey back included a 3 course dinner. There may have been one or two bottles of Pilsner Urquell as well.... OK maybe more than that but hey... I had been drinking the same beer all day and I was not sick of it. That is a monumental achievement for a beer nerd like me. Often I will get sick of the same thing and want something else. If I don't have some sort of stout on a night out I think I am losing my Irishness or something. There was none of that here and I drank Pilsner Urquell until I physically could not hold any more food or drink and had to go to bed.


The five other writers for the trip from left to right were: Marv (Beer Beauty-Beer writer), Tom Love (Sports writer), Glynn Davis (Retail writer), Krishan (editor of eatme mag), and lastly Jeff Evans (Beer writer).
This picture was taken on our last night before we said our good byes. A lot of the unfiltered/unpasteurised PU was consumed that evening, until it was all gone as it will not last as long as the regular version.



Short of having Pilsner Urquell from a wooden cask, this is as good as it gets in the world of Pilsners. The regular stuff is pretty damn tasty as well but a cold, unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell is a thing of beauty.


So why did Pilsner Urquell become the official beer of the British Open? Well there is the obvious marketing benefits but the reason they picked the open as opposed to something else was the sense of history. Pilsner Urquell prides itself on its history. The open started in 1860 which was about the same time as Pilsner Urquell came into being 20 years before. At a talk on the train, Petr Dvorak, International Brand Director for Pilsner Urquell explained that they were looking for a sporting event as historic as themselves. Pilsner Urquell was the first Pilsner, the first golden lager and the open was the first golf championship. He also explained that it is a 5 year deal, this being the third and while he did not go into specifics on how much the deal was worth, he said that the cost of the deal to Pilsner Urquell is dwarfed by the cost surrounding it, such as the advertising and bringing groups like ours together to share the experience. He reckons they spent 10 times as much on everything surrounding the even as they did to secure their official status.
So here is to two more years of golf fans being able to enjoy a quality lager when attending the British Open. If Pilsner Urquell move on to something else in a few years, those golf fans might miss their presence.


I just want to say a big thank you to the Pilsner Urquell team for inviting me. There might be some that would question the ethics of accepting an invitation like this in exchange for a glowing blog report, well to that I say that if I did not like the beer and did not enjoy the trip then that is what I would have written. The simple fact is, I already like Pilsner Urquell and they did a brilliant job during the event so I can only report everything in a positive light. I make no financial gain from this blog, it is simply a hobby. My goal is to spread the word and expand peoples horizons about beer in general, be it from a large brewery like Pilsner Urquell or a small local brewery like Galway Hooker. Pilsner Urquell is an excellent beer and one that still uses traditional methods for the most part. They may have modernised and expanded but they still use a triple decoction mash and use only saaz hops unlike some other imitation pilsners I could mention.

OK so not all Pilsner Urquell is brewed in Pilsen these days in the same way that not all Guinness is brewed in Dublin, not all Waterford Crystal is made in Waterford, not all Samuel Adams comes from Massachusetts let alone Boston. As long as the quality and process, ingredients etc. remain the same then I see no issue with it.

So thanks again to Pilsner Urquell for the experience.

Marv (Beer Beauty) has reported on it here.

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pub,1,mahon falls,1,maltshovel,1,Manchester bitter,1,manly,2,Manneken Pis,1,maple nut brown,1,marble,3,marble arch,1,marble brewery,1,marin brewing company,1,Masrtons Pedigree,1,Massey Red Ale,1,matilda,1,Maudite,1,max and moritz,1,Maximator,1,Mcgrath's,1,McGuires Irish Pub,1,mchughs,1,meantime,2,Meantime Raspberry Grand Cru,1,meh,1,Mein Grunes,1,mellow mushroom,1,merchandise,1,merry Chirstmas,1,Messrs Maguire,3,metalman,2,michigan,1,micro brewery,2,microbrewery,1,midnight sun,2,mikkeller,3,mild,3,mild smoker,2,mild winter,1,milk stout,2,mill valley beerworks,1,minikeg,2,minimum pricing,1,mission,1,moa,1,modus hoperandi,1,molly's chocolate stout,2,molsoncoors,1,mongozo,1,Monsieur Rock,1,moor,1,moore beer,1,mór,1,mountain sun,1,moylans,1,Mt Snowdon,1,mullingar,2,multigrain,1,Munster,1,muntons,1,murray's,3,musings,1,myrcenary,1,n17,1,naked pig,1,Nanny State,1,natural selection,1,Navigator,1,nectar,1,Nefiltruotas Raw,1,NEIPA,1,Nen Bangelijke,1,Netherlands,1,never mind the anabolics,2,new belgium,2,new holland,1,new zealand,2,Newmans,1,newton,1,night beacon,1,night of many beers,1,Noblesse,1,Nøgne Ø,1,Nøgne Ø nogne o,1,Northmaen,2,nutfest,1,O' Hara's,1,O' Neil's,1,o'byrnes,1,O'Fallon,1,O'Hara's IPA,1,O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale,1,O'Haras,6,oak aged,1,oberdorfer. hopf,1,oberon,2,obyrnes,1,odd side ales,1,odell,3,Odells,3,Oerbier Special Reserva,1,of foam and fury,1,Oktoberfest,1,ola dubh,1,old foghorn,1,old nucklehead,1,Old Peculier,1,old scratch,1,old speckled hen,2,old tom strong ale,1,Old Winter Ale,1,olde peninsula,1,Oppigards,1,Optimo Bruno,1,opus II,2,ór,2,origin,1,Orney Amber,1,orval,1,oscar blues,1,oskar blues,1,otley,1,oxymoron,1,Oyster stout,2,p2,2,pacific blond,1,paddy's brewery,1,paddyfest,1,paella,1,Page 24,1,Pagoa,1,Palo Santo Marron,1,pancake Tuesday,1,panhead,1,Pannepot reserva,1,paradox,1,paris,3,past master,1,past masters,1,pbr,1,peak xv,1,pensacola,1,perception,1,Perle La Mondiale 2011,1,petaluma,1,Philippines,1,phoenix park,1,phuca,1,pick axe,1,piece,1,pier cove porter,1,pilsner,1,pilsner urquell,6,pink killer,1,pints pub,1,pipers gold,1,pisa,1,pliny the elder,2,poachers choice,1,pochs,1,Poechenellekelder,1,politics,3,pond hopper,1,port brewing,1,Port McQuarie,1,porter,1,porterhouse,10,portrush,1,Pot Belly,1,prague,1,preview,1,primator dark,1,prize old ale,1,Proclamation Porter,1,proper job,1,pure gold,1,pure ubu,1,purgatory,1,purity,1,purity brewing company,1,quaff,1,queboid,1,racer 5,1,rader,1,radical brew,1,radikale,1,Raftman,1,Raison D'être,1,rakau,1,random everything ipa,1,random summer sunshine,1,random waffle,1,rant,3,rascal's,1,ratebeer,1,Rauchbier,1,raven,1,Raven Vintage Stout,1,razzamataz,1,rch brewery,1,re-brew,1,reality bytes,1,rebrew,1,recession dinner,1,recipe,1,recycle,1,red ale,1,red eye flight,1,red frog ale,1,red horse,1,red shield,1,redoak,1,revelation cat,1,revolution,1,Reykjavik,1,rhetoric,1,ridgeway,1,Rince Cochon,1,rip tide,1,riptide,1,rising sons,1,road dog,1,roadtrip,1,rochefort,1,Rochefort 10,2,Rodenbach,1,rogue beer,1,róisin,1,rome,1,rooie dop,1,rook and vuur,1,root canal,1,Rosé de Gambrinus,1,rosey nosey,1,round-up,2,roundup,2,ruddles,1,rugby,5,Russian imperial,1,russian river,1,rye river,2,saint bidgets porter,1,saint paul,1,Saint Petersburg,1,saison,2,saison 1900,1,Salthill,1,sam adams,1,Samichlaus,1,samual adams,2,samuel adams,1,samurai rice ale,1,san diego,1,san francisco,2,san sebastian,1,sanda black,1,Santa’s Little Helper,1,saranac,2,sassy red,1,satanic mills,1,saugatuck,2,sawtooth ale,1,scaldy porter,1,Schlapppeseppel,1,Schneider Weisse,3,Schneider Weisse Tap 4,1,scotland,1,second chance,1,Seeing red,4,Seeing red v2,2,seo,1,septemberfest,1,shady pale,1,shandon century stout,2,sharp's,3,sharps,1,shave or dye,1,sheepshagger,1,shephard neame,2,shepherd neame,2,sheridans,1,shipyard,1,shpherd neame,1,Sierra Nevada,10,Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale,2,Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale,2,signal,1,Sigtina,1,singapore ipa. esb amber,1,Single Brew Reserve,1,sink the bismark,1,sixex,1,ska brewing,1,skyrim,1,slaters,1,sloop brewing,1,smithwicks,3,smoke jumper,1,smoked baltic porter,1,smoked porter,1,smooth ryed,1,smuggler,1,snake dog,1,sneck lifter,1,snow eater,1,Sorachi ace,1,Sorachi Ale,1,Sotholmon,1,sour beer,1,South Pacific Pale Ale,1,southern pecan,1,southern tier,2,Southwold Dark Ale,1,spain,2,spaten,1,speakeasy brewery,1,speakeasy payback porter,1,Special London ale,1,spelt saison,1,spindrift,1,Spitting Llama,1,Squealing Pig,1,St Bernardus,1,st bernardus 12,1,st eriks,1,St Idesbald,1,St Lupulin,1,st martin,1,St Peter's Cream Stout,1,st stefanus,1,stag saor,1,starr hill,1,stateline,1,Steen Brugge,1,Steep Trail,1,stella artois,1,steve wellington,1,stevens point,2,stewart brewing,1,stinger,1,stone,1,Stone and wood,1,stone barrel,1,stone brewing company,2,stone ruination ipa,1,stonewell,1,stoneybatter,1,story,1,stout,4,stout face off,1,straffe hendrick,1,Streaky,1,stumptown tart,1,sublimely self righteous ale,1,Sullivan's,1,summer,1,Summer IPA,1,summer lightning,1,summerwine,1,sunburnt Irish red,1,suntory,1,supervalu,1,sur amarillo,1,surrender to the void,1,survey,1,sushi,2,sweden,1,Swedish beer,1,sweetwater,1,sweetwater brewery,1,sydney,6,Syvturys,1,t-shirts,1,T' Pakhuis,1,tactical nuclear penguin,1,tally-ho,1,tangle foot,1,Tankovna,1,Tap X,1,tapster,1,taste test,2,tasting,1,tasting session,1,tawny 05,1,tayberry,1,tea,1,teeling,1,tempest,1,temple bar chocolate festival,1,terrible beer,3,tesco,1,thanks to the big boys,2,the banshee,1,the beast,1,the beer moment,1,The Big Lunch Beer Challenge,1,the black sheep,1,The Brewrey Tap,1,the end of history,1,the fearless,1,the force,1,The Golden Pints Beer Awards 2010,1,The Great divide,3,the haka,1,The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,1,The Late Night Levy,1,The little Brewing Company,1,the lord nelson,1,The Matt Brewing Company,1,the old stand,1,the oslo,4,the perfect publican,1,the rev james,1,The Rogue Hop,1,the salthouse,1,the session,41,the white hag,2,theakston,1,Thieving Bastards,1,thirsty bear,1,Thornbridge,6,three notched,1,thwaites,3,Thwaites double century,1,Tig Bhric,1,Tig Neachtain,1,timothy taylor,1,tis the saison,1,titan ipa,1,To Øl,3,tojo,1,tokyo*,1,tommyknocker,2,Tongerlo,1,toronado,1,torpedo,1,tralee,1,trappist beer,2,Traquair ale,1,Traquair House,1,trashy blonde,1,travel,30,Tripple FFF,1,Trois Pistoles,1,Trouble Brewing,3,truck stop honey,1,tsar,1,tuatara,1,Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III,1,twiglets,1,twitter,2,two hearted ale,1,Unertl,1,Unibroue,1,untappd,1,Urban Brewing,1,urbock,1,valentins,1,vandeoirsprong,1,Vapeur Cochonne,1,ventnor,1,versa,1,vertical tasting,1,very nutty black,1,vg noster,1,victory,1,Victory Golden Monkey,1,victory hop devil,1,victory hop wallop,1,victory storm king,1,video post,3,viginia,1,vintage ale,1,Vitesse Noir,1,vrienden,1,Waiheke Island,1,wainwright,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,Wellington,1,wells and youngs,1,Wells Banana bread beer,1,West Cork,1,western herd,1,westvleteren 12,2,wetherspoons,1,What Ales Ye?,1,what beer means to me,1,what's the matter lagerboy?,1,wheat beer,4,wheat wacker,1,wheat wine,1,Wheaty Goodness,2,whiplash,1,white gypsy,1,white gypsy vintage,1,White Island Wheaten Ale,1,White rabbit,1,white shield,1,whitewater,1,whychwood,1,wicked elf,1,wicklow brewery,1,wicklow wolf,2,widmer,1,wildcat,1,williams brothers brewery,8,windsor and eton,1,wine,1,winter ale,1,Winter Ales and Cask festival,3,winter lager,1,winter solstice,1,winter spirit,1,Wit,1,witty fella,2,wj kavanagh.,1,wobbly boot,1,woolpack,4,woolpacker,1,wordpress,1,world beer awards,1,world market,1,worlds best beers,1,wort,1,worthingtons,2,wrasslers,1,wynkoop,1,xx bitter,1,xx strong ale,1,yamamori,1,yardsman,2,yeti,1,york,1,young's,2,your local,1,yule ól,1,zero degrees,1,zeus,1,Zlatý Bažant,1,Zunbeltz,1,
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The Tale Of The Ale: The stuff of legends
The stuff of legends
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The Tale Of The Ale
http://www.taleofale.com/2011/07/stuff-of-legends.html
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