Czech Republic and beer: two concepts so intertwined that one cannot think of one without the other. Renowned as the beer capital of the world, the Czech Republic boasts a rich brewing history, dating back to the 10th century. And at the heart of this sudsy affair lies Prague, the beautiful capital city that doubles up as a beer lover’s paradise.
If you’re keen on delving deep into the world of Czech beer, Prague’s bustling streets and charming alleys hide some of the best breweries and pubs that offer an authentic experience. In this guide, you’ll journey through the tapestry of Czech beer, from its illustrious history to its modern-day craft brew revolutions.
A Glimpse into Czech Beer History
Before diving into pub crawls and brewery tours, understanding the heritage of Czech beer adds depth to every sip. The Czechs boast the highest beer consumption per capita globally, and this love affair started centuries ago.
Staropramen, Pilsner Urquell, and Budweiser Budvar are names that resonate with beer enthusiasts worldwide. These iconic brands, along with many lesser-known ones, have their roots in the country’s rich soil and innovative brewing techniques. The Pilsner style, for instance, originated in Plzeň in 1842 and has since become one of the world’s most popular beer styles.
The Must-Visit Traditional Pubs (Pivnice) and Breweries
U Fleků: Established in 1499, U Fleků is not just Prague’s but perhaps Central Europe’s oldest brewery. Offering a dark lager that has remained unchanged for centuries, it’s an authentic experience with its traditional Czech pub food and live accordion music.
Lokál: A modern establishment celebrating traditional Czech pub culture, Lokál offers fresh Pilsner Urquell and mouth-watering classic Czech dishes.
Strahov Monastic Brewery: Located within the Strahov Monastery, this brewery provides unique brews inspired by monastic traditions. Don’t miss their amber lager!
Prague isn’t just about traditional beer; the city has been at the forefront of the craft beer movement in Europe.
Vinohradský Pivovar: One of Prague’s most loved craft breweries, Vinohradský Pivovar offers a mix of classic and modern brews, from their staple 11° lager to seasonal specials.
Two Tales: This brand celebrates Bohemian brewing traditions while giving them a modern twist. Their Session IPA is a must-try!
BeerGeek Bar: If variety is what you seek, this bar offers 32 taps, primarily focused on Czech and international craft beers.
Beer Experiences Beyond the Glass
Czech Beer Spa: Yes, you read that right! Beer isn’t just for drinking. Submerge yourself in a bath filled with beer ingredients, said to have rejuvenating properties.
Prague Beer Museum: Contrary to its name, it isn’t a museum but a pub with an extensive beer selection. Perfect for tasting and understanding the vast array of Czech beers.
Tips for Exploring Prague’s Beer Scene
Respect the Foam: In the Czech Republic, beer with a healthy amount of foam (often up to two fingers) ensures freshness and taste.
Say Cheers in Czech: Before taking your first sip, make sure to clink glasses while saying “Na zdraví!” (To health!)
Stay Hungry: Czech pubs offer a range of traditional dishes. Try the classic goulash, svíčková, or pickled sausages to complement your beer.
Tipping: While tipping isn’t mandatory, it’s appreciated. Leaving up to 10% of your bill is customary if you’re satisfied with the service.
Prague offers a melange of old-world charm, historic breweries, modern craft beer spots, and unique beer-centric experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or a curious traveler, the city’s beer scene promises an adventure that tantalizes the taste buds and educates the soul.
Whether you’ve got just a weekend or a prolonged stay, ensure that the magic of Czech beer tops your Prague itinerary. And always remember, in the words of a famous Czech saying, “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.”