The Czech Republic loves beer and regularly finds itself at the top spot of the global beer consumption ratings. However, please don’t jump to conclusions – this is not binge drinking! Czechs are real beer connoisseurs, savouring their golden brew as well as discussing and professionally judging it. But mainly they are really proud of it, whether it is the traditional beverages from Plzeň and České Budějovice or the diversity of tastes offered by small breweries.
Pride and joy of the Czech RepublicThese feelings of pride do not come as a surprise, because one of the most popular Czech beer brands (nationally as well as abroad) Budweiser Budvar sold a record 1.6 million hectolitres of beer in domestic and foreign markets in 2015. Pilsner Urquell is another world-renowned brand.
Increasing popularity has also been recorded by micro-breweries that rival the big boys, but tend to pay more attention to the complex gourmet experience as such. What does all this mean? Nothing less than high quality beer of unusual varieties accompanied by good quality food!
Small is good – micro-breweries in Prague, Karlovy Vary and in the mountainsQuite recently a new brewery called “Národní” has been opened in Prague. Apart from tasting draught Český lev beer you can look forward to meals prepared with beer as one of the ingredients, as for example the excellent potato pancakes with beer marmalade. The brewery is located in Národní třída in the very centre of the city, a few steps from the Vltava embankment and the National Theatre.
A wide choice of various types and special beers is offered by the St. Adalbert Brewery in the Břevnov Monastery, Prague. Having been in operation since 2011, the establishment produces classical eleven and twelve percent lagers along with Bavarian wheat beer, English IPA and even Russian imperial stout with its dark chocolate flavour.
Reopened after a thirteen-year break, the Charles IV Brewery builds on the hundred year tradition of beer brewing in Karlovy Vary. The beer shares its name with Charles IV (in Czech Karel), King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, who bestowed the privileges of a free royal town upon Karlovy Vary along with the right to brew beer in 1370. So in Karlovy Vary raise your glass in honour of this far-sighted monarch – this year will mark 700 years from his birth.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to head only for cities and big towns if you wish to taste some good beer and food, since renowned breweries offer their products in various other places – for example in the Czech mountains. In Krkonoše you can refresh yourself in the family brewery - Hendrych, and in the town of Vimperk situated in the Šumava Mountains you can pop in to the Šumava Brewery and try for example the 13% extra bitter labelled General Patton.
You can not only drink beer but also immerse yourself in itThe positive effects of beer on health are more than well-known, and therefore the popularity of beer spas has enjoyed a steady increase. Vitamin B2 is excellent for the complexion and hair, vitamin B6 is important for the nervous system and skin and the folic acid contained in beer has tremendous effects against psoriasis. There are also other benefits, so a beer bath can do you nothing but good.
In Prague you can take a dip in beer spas such as Bernard, Beerland, BBB and many others, and in Kutná Hora in the sought-after Kácov Brewery. You can splash about in the beer produced by the Purkmistr Brewery in the beer metropolis of Plzeň, which gave the world the legendary Pilsner Urquell.