The Czech Republic’s love affair with beer isn’t just about drinking the stuff. Although according to statistics released late last year by market researchers Euromonitor International, it’s a nation of beer guzzlers that’s for sure. Figures reveal that a total of 1.5 billion litres were gulped from 2013 to 2014 with an average of 143 litres per capita. Now that’s a lot of beer!
Aside from enjoying the taste, the Czech’s are known to swap soap suds for bathing in barley and hops, hold loads of festivals to honour their favourite tipple and serve up more strong and strange varieties than most other places in the world.
On top of this, the Czech city of Plzen (50 miles west of Prague) is home to Pilsner, a beloved beer first concocted by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll in 1842 and worshiped ever since.
There are great quality places to stay in Prague and plenty of places to enjoy a good pint while you’re there!
Czech beer facts
The number assigned to beer in Prague is not about alcohol content but a ‘degree’ figure which means the amount of malt extract used during brewing. The higher the number usually means a fuller flavour and therefore a stronger beer. Czech beer can range from a six-degree to potent 19-degree varieties. Strong stuff, so beware! The most common are ten-degree beers, known as ‘desitka’, and 12-degree beers known as ‘dvanactka’.
Most visitors will not be familiar with unpasteurised beer which is available in Prague’s tankovna pubs. The beer hasn’t gone through the pasteurisation process and is served straight from the tank.
Bar-hopping around Prague
There’s certainly no shortage of bars around the Czech capital. Visitors are spoiled for choice, so here are a few places that you might want to check out.
U Zlatého Tygra (Golden Tiger) is a traditional Pilsner beer hall that sits in the heart of old Prague. Not only is ‘beer cheese’ on the menu, legend has it that former Czech president Vaclav Havel took Bill Clinton here in the mid nineties and after three beers, Clinton had to cancel his run the following morning.
U Černého vola or The Black Ox is a traditional Prague pub close to Prague Castle and Prvni Pivni Tramway is an extraordinary beer-serving tram located at the last station (Sporilov) of the number 11 tram. Primátor, Hefeweizen, Gambrinus and Pilsner Urquell are all available here.
Check out the Prague Beer Museum Pub in the city centre for an in-depth insight and chance to sample off-the-beaten track varieties not found elsewhere.
Be sure to enjoy a few Czech beers during your trip, otherwise it would be like visiting Rome and not admiring the Sistine Chapel. Cheers!