Onion soup is a pretty insipid idea – there’s no meat, and it’s not even the best vegetable. Mushrooms are.
But Czech soup? With its secret ingredient – beer!
And not any old beer, but beer from the Strahov Monastery Brewery http://www.klasterni-pivovar.cz in the Castle Area of Prague.
Now I only found this out later in the evening. Not that I was complaining.
I asked Tomas, my waiter, which of the three beers illustrated on the menu he would recommend.
And he suggested ALL three. Welcome to Prague!
The amber beer the tasting notes say is for ghoulash which I will have for my main course (well, when in Prague).
While the dark beer is for fish and the IPA for pate.
But Tomas suggests I just work through them all.
The ghoulash looks small around the dumplings but is surprisingly filling.
And the beauty of beef is that the chew factor allows you to enjoy its succulence for whole minutes on end.
By the time I got to the hoppy IPA I was already full and had decided to skip on the apple strudel when Vaclav arrived.
‘Take it with you,’ he urged as he asked if I would accompany him around his brewery, the still of which is the centrepiece of the restaurant.
Now I normally baulk at brewery inspection trips but seeing I had eaten the man’s food and drunk his beer.
And so into a room at the back where he blinded me with science and figures, neither of which were my subjects at school.
Still, I know the internationally recognised response: a nod and an uh-huh!
It seemed to work because 15 minutes later after finding out too about the bottling process we are sat at the bar.
The tourists have gone home and the only other people in the restau are the Czech party…
Who Tomas tells us are monks from the next door monastery… you’d think they would have pudding bowl haircuts to give me a clue.
Tomas pours me another Dark Beer and Vaclav introduces me to Merunkovice.
Which I’m told is some kind of meringue-flavour liqueur.
And so, head spinning and belly groaning I stagger and roll my way back down the hill.
To my triple bed in my Golden Key hotel https://goldenkey.astenhotels.com/en.
Where I watch the Liverpool game on Czech TV with the light of a chandelier hanging from a wooden ceiling.
Before Vaclav’s beer beats me and I drop off to sleep… and dreams of babies climbing a TV tower.
No, it is a real thing. And I will tell you about that and more later.
Me? Don’t tell the Scary One, but I’m off to join the monastery.
And in the best traditions of such things here is one I prepared earlier… Hope springs eternal.