Beer for the Czech Republic - it's a part of the culture and history. For residents - life itself. So it is cooked everywhere - on large factories, mini breweries, monasteries, restaurants. Traditional lunch or dinner in the Czech Republic - with a glass of beer, as well as in France - with a glass of wine.
The history of brewing in the Czech Republic begins with 1088, when in the letter of Prince Bretislav mentions several bags of hops, granted to the monks of Vysehrad for brewing beer.
In the XII century beer production has been expanded so, that it was brewed in almost every home. In the XIII century first brewery plants appeared and the first laws on brewing too. In the XIV - XV centuries, there were large breweries, some of which still exist today. In the XVIII century the outstanding Czech brewer Ondrej Poupe founded the first European brewery school.
In 1842, in the city of Plzen (Pilsen) was founded the most famous Czech brewery "Pilsner Urquell". The new brand of beer - "Pilsner" was created, and became the etalon of quality widely spread across Europe, and since 1874 in the United States.
After the Second World War, Czech brewers continued to use traditional methods of brewing, which helped to preserve the high quality of the drink.
Ondrej Poupe has fixed the basic rules of the Czech brewing - "Pilsner Urquell" is more strongly hopped than most pilsner beers. Saaz hops, a noble hop variety, are a key element in its flavour profile, as are the use of soft water and fire-brewing. (in Bavaria dried at a high temperature, and in Vienna with hot air). Czech beer is different from the German and Austrian, not only in taste but also in very competitive price at the same quality level.
In the Czech Republic adopted its own classification of beer. It is divided into "light" and "dark". Light beer may be mixed with the dark in various proportions to produce the "rezane pivo" czh. or "black and tan" eng. "Rezane pivo " is certainly worth a try, because it has a very original flavor, and this culture to mix beer adopted only in the Czech Republic. Then beer is divided by strength, but it is not reflected in the volume fraction of alcohol, but the volume fraction of malt wort. Typically the "Ten", which is aged 25-35 days and has the strength of 3.5% - 4.5%, and the "Twelve", which is aged 90 days and has a strength of 5%. Accordingly, the "twelfth" beer has more intense flavor, a richer bouquet. And most often it is the winner in competitions and festivals. Also can be seen "Eleventh" and "Thirteenth" beer containing 11% and 13% malt wort respectively. The strongest beer in the world, brewed according to classical technology - X-Beer 33, with 33% malt wort. It is made in Prague in the restaurant "U Medvidku", in their own brewery.
It is impossible to try all kinds of beer in the Czech Republic, because in every small town there is a local brewery, which produces its own kind. You should try following varieties of beer:
- Velvet - the mildest flavor and beautiful foam make it a favorite beer of many ladies and not only.
- Staropramen Granat - a special semi-dark beer, which has a typical red garnet color.
- Budweiser 12 - is one of the recognized leaders of the Czech brewing, excellent foam and a very rich taste. In the U.S., the most popular beer is Bud - a trademark of the same manufacturer.
- Pilsner Urquell - the classic beer, the bestseller, has a neutral flavor and cooked in the most famous Czech plant "Plzensky Prazdroj".
- Master - probably the best Czech dark beer, it is best without any food,it has too rich taste.
- Budweiser Cerny - a lighter dark beer ideal with original Czech dishes.
- Krusovice - one of the oldest brands of Czech beer brewing, well-known abroad.
- X-Beer 33 from the restaurant "U Medvidku" - the strongest beer in the world, it is very expensive compared to other kinds (102 crowns per 0.33), sweet taste and alcohol is not felt.
And, of course, you should try the beer in restaurants, which have their own brewery.
Our hotel "U Zeleneho Stromu" "At the Green Tree" (eng.) is an old restored building. In the past, this building was a local brewery. The history of the brewery you can see in the banquet hall. On the walls there are old photos, hotel has old bottles for beer. In The restaurant Svejk you can try light beer "Pilsner Urquell", light "Gambrinus" and dark "Kozel". Also, if desired, the bartender will make you a great "rezane pivo" from these beer varieties.
36 kilometers away there is the town of Plze?, where you can book a tour or go by yourself to visit a factory and Brewery Museum. Brewery Museum is located in an old malt factory. A story about the history of the Czech brewing in English can be taken before visiting. The guide describes all the information in consistent, interesting, and pretty simple way. You will see a huge number of ancient artifacts, including a working model of the brewery. In the museum you can buy souvenirs, then you go to the plant itself. You can visit it with a whole group, in this case, you will be given the English-speaking guide. At the factory you can see famous gates, the image of which you can see on any label of "Pilsner Urquell". The gates were built in 1892 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the plant.
The factory area is huge, transfer will be on the bus. You will see the latest bottling line, the brewery itself and fermenting cellars. They were used for fermentation and aging of beer, as temperature there is constant - 5-6 degrees Celsius. The length of the basement is 9.5 km. Also, you will be offered the beer made according to old recipes straight from an old barrel. Its flavor is amazing. You can visit the restaurant "Na spilke", located in the plant territory, where you can enjoy traditional Czech cuisine with freshly prepared excellent beer "Pilsner Urquell", "Gambrinus" and "Radegast".
Being in the Czech Republic you should definitely visit the city of Pilsen and the brewery. In autumn they usually hold the beer festival "PilsnerFest", very colorful and important event as the "Oktoberfest" in Germany.
In Paris, on the Boulevard Montparnasse there is a bar "La Marina" in its beverages list there are about 140 beers' brands from over 30 countries. And just near one brand there is a lettering: "La meilleure des bieres du monde" - "The best beer in the world". And this is - "Pilsner Urquell"!