Czech beer, called “pivo” in the national language, is one of the best in the world. The best-known beers are the famous Pilsner Urquell, the Budweiser Budvar, but also Staropramen or Březňák have made a name for themselves as exporters. However, the Czech beer has much more to offer. One of the reasons for this is that many Czech microbreweries have found market gaps where they now offer exceptional beers that delight numerous beer lovers with their unusual taste.
In addition to the golden yellow brew, all sorts of special beers in original taste variations are enjoying growing popularity. The Czech Republic is one of the largest beer loving nations in the world: Firstly, the Czech Republic is one of the largest exporters. Secondly, the Central Europeans, with an annual consumption per capita of a staggering 143 liters per year, rank first, ahead of Germany. And even if the 500-year-old purity requirement goes to the Germans: In the Czech Republic, was the first Pils already served in 1842 with the Pilsner Urquell. Today, in addition to the classics, new varieties are also convincing and winning over the public more and more.
Czech beer culture in transition
In the Břevnov Abbey, the oldest male monastery in the Czech Republic, the Benedictine monks began brewing beer back in 993. The tradition is great, but the changes that the Czech breweries have had to face over the years are just as great. Although the beer consumption is still quite high; in recent years, however, the Czech breweries had to accept significant losses. The reasons for this were the economic crisis, the increase in the beer tax in 2010 and the sale of microbreweries to large corporations. For example, the brands Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast and Kozel are now among the world’s largest brewery companies SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch. But for some years now small-breweries and microbreweries have sprung up all over the Czech Republic, producing their own beer and providing an unprecedented diversity of varieties. In addition to classic golden yellow barley juice, craft beers such as sour cherry, vanilla and even hemp beer are in fashion. Well-known Czech hemp beers, but without the intoxicating THC, which convince with a tasty-sweet hemp-aroma, are for example KonoPi and Hemp Valley Beer.
Czech beer festival in Prague
Not only in the quaint taverns of the country beer lovers have the opportunity to taste through the assortment. Because also the Czech beer festivals are on the rise. The largest and with 17 days the longest lasting is the Czech Beer Festival in Prague. Traditionally, the “Oktoberfest Prague” takes place in May and attracts guests from all over the world. Over 100 beers and more than 50 live concerts by Slovak and Czech bands would be enough reason to visit. In addition, guests can also enjoy Bohemian specialties such as pork knuckle on black beer, juicy beef ribs on rosemary or spicy beer goulash of beef with onions and hot peppers. After all, it is important to first create the necessary basis for beer enjoyment. Information about beer is also provided by the festival workshop at the exhibition center in Prague-Holešovice. There, experts explain how to taste and serve beer properly – just one example of the fact that beer culture in the Czech Republic is still taken literally.
Another beer festival is the Budweis: Golden Beer Label 2019
The 29th International Beer Festival will take place again in České Budějovice
The International Beer Festival “Zlatá pivní pečeť” will take place for the 29th time from Thursday, 14th February 2019 to Saturday, 16th February 2019, for the third time in České Budějovice.
After 25 years of organizing the event at the Hotel Palcát in Tábor, the event reached a size that made moving to larger venues inevitable in 2016.
More than 50 breweries introduce themselves to the visitors during the festival. More than 200 types of beer from the Czech Republic and abroad are offered here as a sample.
For beer lovers there are the best of Czech and foreign breweries and microbreweries – well-known and popular types of lager, but also unusual specialty beers such as Stout, Porter, brewed beer with top-fermented yeast, Ale, Lambic, wheat beer or, in the Czech Republic more popular, cider.
As part of the beer festival, the Zlatá pivní pečeť quality award, the most prestigious award in the Czech brewing industry, is awarded annually during the festival.
Several concerts complete the festival program.
Please note and be aware: From how many years is it possible to drink and buy alcohol in the Czech Republic?
Protection of minors: Age limit for alcohol consumption and alcohol sales in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic, the use of alcohol for children and adolescents under 18 years is prohibited.
Similarly, the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages to minors are prohibited and punishable as a criminal offense.
The law does not differentiate between beer, wine and sparkling wine or spirits. There is a strict alcohol ban for under-18s.
However: In extensive control actions, the Czech police usually on different occasions (certificate, beginning of the holidays) in pubs and discotheques performs the law enforcement officers regularly a number of alcoholized children and adolescents on the net, which then be transferred to the care of their parents.
The beer legend lives: Pilsner Urquell as 100 years ago
In the Šenk Na Parkánu in Pilsen, the original type of world-famous beer is tapped.
If Pilsen is the Wimbledon of beer, then Na Parkánu is its central court. The place is all about an original that has brought Pilsen more fame than Karel Gott, the city’s most famous son. What is tapped in the quaint economy on the outskirts of the old town of Pilsen, is a real rarity: the original type of Pilsner-Urquell beer, tart, yeasty cloudy and unfiltered as 100 years ago.
Beer of this brewing type does not travel very well and is therefore not good for export. For this reason, the Na Parkánu is the only place in the world where you can try the prototype of the original every day – a pleasure that not only educators in terms of beer enjoy, but also many locals, like it on a flying visit to Pilsen as I have have noticed during my visit.
Šenk Na Parkánu, that sounds strange in Czech. “Šenk” is borrowed from the English “Tavern”, as well as a whole range of other expressions of the Bohemian economic language, such as “štamgast” (regular guest), “šnit” (a half only half fed) or “kíbic” (uninvited observer at the card game). So unusual the name, so surprising is the whole restaurant.
The Na Parkánu would indeed have all the prerequisites for an expensive tourist glut: top location in a house several centuries old, right next to the brewing museum, plus the Urquell prototype as a beer rarity. Instead, I find a cozy, rustic-style tavern, where most of the guests are obviously locals – a lot of young people on the terrace in front of the eatery, older manors inside, some of which the waiter calls by their name.
Two Hungarian families sit at the table next to mine and dine on a grand scale: grilled pork shanks with roast potatoes and sauerkraut, beer goulash with bread dumplings and sausage slices are served. If there were not 30 degrees in the shade outside, maybe I would strike like that as well. But due to the heat I pass, so I let them serve me the soup of the day, a beef broth with some vegetables, and take as a main course a small portion of bohemian roast pork with potato dumplings.
The food keeps exactly what the rustic ambience promises: delicious, hearty home cooking, as you would expect in Bohemia – excellent in the cool months, but not necessarily the right thing on a tropical hot day. In contrast, the beer is completely weather-friendly: cool, fresh and powerful. I can not think of a season that would not fit.
This place is really worth visiting for every beer lovers and did I mention already that…
Czechs are world champions in beer drinking
The world’s most beer per capita is drunk in the Czech Republic. Every Czech drinks a full 143 liters of beer a year. They even outdo the beer country Germany.
Even though Germany invented the Purity Law, most beer per capita is drunk by far in the Czech Republic. With 143 liters per inhabitant – including children and abstainers – last year, the country is lonely at the top of the world. Half-liter bottles are the standard measure in pubs and restaurants. Even two-liter plastic bottles with the barley juice are nothing special in Czech supermarkets.
While in Germany, for example, the popularity of beer is decreasing, the Czech Republic is producing more and more beer. Last year, the threshold of 20 million hectoliters was exceeded for the first time. The majority of the market is controlled by large breweries such as Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar, Staropramen and Krusovice. They do not have to comply with the German purity law.
Micro breweries are trendy
Trendy are the small and micro-breweries, of which there are already more than 300. Some industry insiders believe that the specialty market may soon be saturated. The offer ranges from British ale to green colored beer on Maundy Thursday and dark porter to classic wheat beer.
The classic Pils, as it was invented by the Lower Bavarian master brewer Josef Groll in Pilsen in the Czech Republic in 1842, still has a firm place. It is also a pleasure to be enjoyed abroad: The largest customers are traditionally Germany, Slovakia and Russia, as well as the USA and South Korea in smaller quantities.
Did I now awaken your interest in the beer paradise Czech Republic? Let us know when you visit the Czechs and how it was in the comment box here – cheers