Czech Beer

DSC_0215

Břevnov Monastery, Prague

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CZECH BEER

The Czech Republic is a beer nation, and the Czech lands have a rich history when it comes to brewing. The first written mention of brewing beer was at the Břevnov Monastery in Prague, in 993 AD. During the 13 th century several breweries were founded in various towns, including those in České Budějovice and Plzeň. Since the birth of Pilsner in 1842, demand switched from the traditional dark lager to pale lager, and exports of Czech beer steadily increased and became well established throughout the world. Those brewing traditions have continued to present day, and in 2008, the international reputation and uniqueness of “České pivo” led to the possibility of a Protected Geographical Indication mark for beers brewed within the Czech Republic; an option that several breweries have since taken. I recommend the following article for a comprehensive review on the history of Czech Beer.

Czech beer today

The following blog posts outline some useful information on Czech beers, and what you can expect when visiting the country.

Making sense of Czech beer

Breweries in the Czech Republic

A return to historical brewing methods

Unusual beers

THE BEST CZECH BEER?

As mentioned in the posts above, Czech beer is brewed with ingredients that are locally sourced; much of which is not subjected to pasteurisation or filtration, and those that are don’t spend long in transit. I believe these factors contribute to taste and quality, thus any Czech beers that you may have tried outside of the Czech Republic will probably taste very different to those same beers that are brewed and sold within the country.

There are no shortage of places to grab a beer. If sitting in a tourist trap drinking crap beer is your thing, then fair enough. However, it would be a shame to ignore the high quality unfiltered (nefiltrovaný) beer produced by the many smaller breweries scattered throughout Prague and the rest of the country. If you can’t manage a visit to one of the 350 breweries, then there are many pubs which specialise in beers from these lesser known breweries. When opting for one of the well known brands, it’s almost essential to visit one of the busier restaurants that sell unpasteurised (tankové) beer. Here you’ll understand why the Czech Republic became famous for brewing; not only is the beer of excellent quality, it’s well maintained and expertly poured, and as the famous Czech proverb goes:

“The brewmaster brews the beer, but the bartender makes it.”