Local Brews the Czech Way
The Czech Republic. Some come for the castles or the bohemian tradition. Others come for the beer! G Adventures' own Stephan Popescu 'czechs' out the best this country's got to offer.
One of the most fascinating parts of backpacking Europe is getting to experience all of the different cultures across the continent. And part of experiencing a country’s culture is to try out the local cuisine. For anyone who’s spent time travelling across Europe, ask them about the different kinds of local cuisine, and odds are you’ll end up learning at least a bit about different kinds of beer to be found.
England is famous for its countless number of pubs (and “world famous” fish and chips to boot). And a trip to Ireland without sampling some Guinness is apparently not a trip to Ireland at all. Oktoberfest brings in millions of people to Bavaria every single year, and even a smaller country like Belgium is famous for its wide variety of beers. But if you’re looking for a country that has a rich tradition in beer and is also a little more off the beaten path, then a visit to the Czech Republic should be at the top of your wish list.
The different regions of the Czech Republic are home to many different styles of beer, each with their own distinct flavours and tastes and all brewed to perfection. If you spend some time travelling across the country, you’ll be able to figure out what region you’re in simply by recognizing the beer you’re drinking. So if you want the best of the best, these are the cities you can’t miss.
If you’re in the Czech Republic, without a doubt you’ll be stopping in Prague. The city is full of sights and sounds from the Prague Castle to the famous (if slightly overrated) Prague astronomical clock and everything in between. Prague is also the place to go if you want to sample a variety of beers from across the Czech Republic. Pubs, breweries and restaurants are lined with beers from all over the country, giving you the option to experience some of the best beer the Czechs have to offer.
If you want to stick to the local stuff though, make sure to try Prague’s Staropramen beer which is brewed at the second largest brewery in the country. Visit the brewery to see this famous beer made firsthand. The tour also takes you through a museum portion where you learn about its history, before offering up some sample Staropramen at the end of your tour.
If you want something a little more local (and harder to find at home), then you absolutely must visit one of Prague’s fantastic microbreweries which are home to some of best local beers around. You’ll be able to try freshly brewed beers while also enjoying some local Czech cuisine as well. Many microbreweries, like the Pivovarský Dům, will also provide seasonal beers like the Pivovarsk’s light/dark beer mixture. Just make sure to eat while you’re there.
If you enjoy beer, odds are you’ve had a pilsner or two in your day. This style of beer originated in the town of Plzeň, or as some call it, Pilsen. As history goes, the Pilsner Urquell Brewery hired German-born Josef Groll in 1842 to help improve the quality of their beer. Josef created what is now known as a golden pilsner beer and the rest is history (literally).
Czechs are known for their love and preference for Pilsners, so if you want to visit the holy grail of Czech beers than a visit to Plzeň is a must. In fact, the most famous attraction in Plzeň is the brewery itself. Not only does a visit to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery include learning about the history of how Pilsners were invented, you also get to venture underground into the brewery’s old cellars where you’ll be treated to some freshly brewed pilsners right before your eyes.
Another one of the Czech Republic’s most famous beer cities, České Budějovice is more commonly referred to by its German name: Budweis. Budweiser is well known as a famous beer brand today, but in reality, the original “Budweiser” was invented/crafted in the 13th century in České Budějovice. Legal disagreements aside, there are no doubts that if you want the true, authentic Budweiser style beer, České Budějovice is the place to go. If you go and take a visit to the Budweiser Budvar Brewery in České Budějovice, you’ll be visiting a brewery that brewed beer for none other than the Holy Roman Emperor of the time.
When travelling across Europe, you’ll quickly realize how important beer is to local cultures of countries across the continent. Just as with food, their beer says something about their history and who they are today. The Czech Republic is no different. Whether you’re visiting their famous breweries, socializing in a local micropub or just enjoying a fresh beer on a nice hot day, it’s clear that beer is in many ways a part of the fabric of the country. So when you make your way across Europe and into the country, make sure to czech out as many local brews as possible.
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