Whether you are happy that the hot summer days are slowly coming to an end, and you are looking forward to the autumn weather, or you actually think that the summer should last until Christmas and you will be eagerly awaiting any sign of warmth for the rest of the year, you will all probably agree that the change of the season should be thoroughly toasted. A very befitting occasion is the end of September, when the Czech Republic marks Czech Beer Day.
Prague, Plzeň, České Budějovice – Celebrate with the beer giants
Three cities, three beer superpowers. Each of them contributes to the Czech beer culture in its own original way and you can find out a bit more about all of them. Proudly representing Prague, the refreshing Staropramen has been brewed on the bank of the River Vltava since the late 19th century. You can explore its story and taste it directly in the historical building of the brewery, where thanks to an interactive exposition, you will wander through time as well as Prague as it used to be several decades ago.
You will be able to learn a thing or two about brewing the Czech beer - Pilsner Urquell, in the actual town, it originates from. Plzeň with its famous brewery is the pride and glory of West Bohemia. While touring the vast grounds where Pilsner Urquell as well as the ever popular Gambrinus are produced, you will discover why Pilsner beer is so popular – and not only in the Czech Republic, but beyond its borders as well. The grounds also encompass an iconic gateway, which became a symbol of the Pilsner Urquell brand, and you will find its image on every bottle.
The beer constellation of the Czech Republic has a star also in the south of the country. České Budějovice and its Budweiser Budvar offer a tour of the brewery, revealing the secret of how a long tradition can coexist in harmony with modern technology and the way the refreshing slightly bitter beer appreciated by beer lovers worldwide is produced. Holding a pint of Budvar in České Budějovice, you will come to the conclusion that there is only one true original.
September is the month of beer festivals and it would be a pity not to visit at least one of them. Czech Beer Day is more or less a symbolic event that everyone can enjoy to their own liking. Probably the most renowned celebration of beer and everything that is connected with it is the Žatec Dočesná Festival (Sep. 2 – 3, 2016). The town of Žatec is situated in the centre of the area where the best hops are grown, giving Czech beer its genuine flavour. So it is no surprise that the Temple of Hops and Beer was set up in Žatec, allowing you to indulge in beer fun to the full.
Being traditionally considered as an important event full of concerts and good food, the Pilsner Fest takes place directly in the Plzeň Brewery (Oct. 1, 2016). A beer festival is also held by the Ferdinand Brewery in Benešov (Sep. 10, 2016) a short distance from Prague and a stone's throw away from the beautiful Konopiště chateau.
If you are unlucky enough to miss all the autumn action, there are some more beer events throughout the year, which you can look forward to. February stages a competition show and the largest event of its kind in the Czech Republic – Golden Beer Seal (Feb. 13 – 18, 2017) and in the spring months there is the ever more popular Czech Beer Festival in Prague.
Small large breweries
Apart from large breweries, such as those named above plus Regent from Třeboň, Radegast from Nošovice, Krušovice or Starobrno from Brno, the Czech Republic has witnessed an increase in the popularity of small breweries, which often focus on special beer or unusual flavours. You will find them in Prague, represented for example by a brewery in Břevnov Monastery, but in truth they are dotted around the whole of the country. This is proven for example by the family-run brewery – Bernard in Humpolec, Neumann in Mělník, Koutský Brewery in the Šumava Mountains, Chyše Chateau Brewery in West Bohemia, Černý Orel Brewery in Jindřichův Hradec and Slavkov Brewery offering beer scented with banana or clove.
There is never enough beer and it can be used in many ways. Like in a spa bath for example. You will find several bathing opportunities like this in the Czech Republic. The Bernard Brewery runs a beer bath establishment in Prague, and another popular enterprise is to be found in Olomouc, where you can also admire the historical centre of the city and the UNESCO listed plague column. Finally there is a beer spa bath in Rožnov, from where you can pop into a unique open-air museum situated nearby.
In Prague you can delve deeper into the history of beer and explore its Museum full of interesting information and details about the beverage that made the Czech Republic famous. One of the attractions is also a beer bar serving special beers you just won't find anywhere else.