Three taps may not sound like a lot to those on the other side of the pond, but this is a land of specialization. Three taps is about the maximum, except in tourist places. You choose your pub based on the beer you want to drink. One thing you always know is that the beer you drink will be fresh, because everyone in the bar will be drinking the same beer. A bar with many taps is met with suspicion. How long has that keg of Olde Snake Bite been tapped?
Which is all well and good, as long as there’s another keg waiting when the first runs out.
I asked for a Stella, and Wendy shook her head. “We have no beer,” she said in English. It took me a moment to digest that. “All three,” she said. “None.”
“Are the taps broken?” I asked.
“No, they’ve all been… I don’t know how to say…”
“Drunk,” I said. It’s not surprising she had a hard time with that word, as she knows it as an adjective that is applied to people. “Drunk up,” I added, not helpfully.
Little Café Near Home has been popular, lately. It’s been filled with a younger crowd, so when school starts to exert its fearsome grip on the souls of the nation’s youth, things might quiet down a bit here. While I wish the owner of this place all the success in the world, I’m kind of hoping the chain-smoking children who are noisily drinking the place dry get distracted by other pursuits.
The bar is out of beer. This is the Czech Republic. This should, quite simply, not be possible. In this country I imagine there is a room with rows of people staring into glowing monitors. At the front of the room is the Big Board, which shows the flow of beer throughout the nation. Right now there should be a giant red X flashing over this neighborhood while a klaxon sounds. People are screaming into their phones, and the army is mobilizing. A pub without beer. This is a national crisis.
I will keep one ear cocked for the sound of the helicopters making the emergency delivery, but in the meantime I’ll go next door and have some Budvar.