There is a long and rich tradition of brewing in Czech Republic. It is the land of Lager beer. You must enjoy some!
Just couple words before you will make decision what to have?
10° and up degrees: A 10 degree means that if the extract in solution were 100% sucrose, it would be 10% of the total weight.
Remember that 10 degree beer is about 4% alcohol and a 12 degree is about 5%.
Primator’s Exclusive 16° is 6.5% alcohol and 19° Porter from Pernstejn is 8% alcohol, 10 degrees Plato (or Balling) is 4% alcohol.
LIGHT Beer: If you just ask for a “Beer” with no other specifications most places will bring you a light 10° (large size of course). These beers have a nice balanced flavor with a very pleasant mild bitterness.
DARK Beer: it is typically a more flavorful beer with some sweetness to it. U Fleku's 'Flek' dark beer is one of the oldest and most famous dark beers and you can get it only at the brewery restaurant.
In the NEW category are several Super-Strong beers ranging up to 24° (10% alcohol!).
Statistically Czechs are one of the top beer drinkers in Europe. There are huge species of beer possible to buy in shops. Actually beer here is not only used for drinking, but also to make soaps, shampoo, as an extra add for food (eg., sausages with sauce of black beer), so on.
Interesting things I got to see in pubs:
Firstly, if you are ending one pint of beer, barman brings you other one without asking. To stop it, as I understood, you have simply to tell it, to put coaster on a pint or to finish beer fast :) Actually such tradition is alive in not so touristy places (could be in “sleeping” suburb).
Another thing is a paper with sign (line) left on your table when you order beer. For food is the same, just barmen put the line and writes price nearby.
If you order different species of beer at the same evening, it could be understood as “lack of beer drinking culture”.
I think some will be shocked to see this image on my page, no, not because it is beer, I have plenty of those, but because this is a none alcoholic beer of the famous grand: Radegast.
Now, why I has this one here, it is very simple, it was sunny, it was warm, I was planning a long day walking around the city and I thought I better have none alcoholic beer now otherwise I will just stay all day in the pub instead of sightseeing ;-)
Sometimes it takes just a few hundred meters to find a great local place serving perfect beer but for normal prices.
Organise your own cheap pub crawl by avoiding the tourist traps and crazy beer prices by using the great interactive and unique beer price map of Prague on nelso.nl (available in more languages)
In a number of the places on the map you'll be able to find the true bohemian atmosphere, some live music and some great snacks to go with the beer !
Enjoy Prague like the locals do !
"Damn, that beer is good!," I say to American companions as I lower my glass of Pilsner Urquell. The first sip of beer after 24 hours of travel time is always excellent, isn't it? On the second sip a quizzical expression crosses my face as my brain involuntarily begins to flip through an internal card cataloguing system looking for points of reference. On the third sip my eyes widen, I can feel tears welling, and my mouth hangs agape. "Holy God! This is the best tasting beer I've ever had in my life!" And even as I announce this, I realize it's a gigantic understatement. This is in fact the best tasting liquid I've ever had in my mouth... The divine, the nectar of gods, the drink I've forever been searching for--the ultimate source!
Pilser Urquell ("Plzensky Prazdroj" in Czech) began brewing in 1842 in the town of Pilsen, Czech Republic not very far from Prague. It's the world's original pilsner beer. It's made with unbelievably beautiful water, hops from Saaz, and is a light, golden colour. And they only cost about $2 each?!
I drank four litres chatting with my American friends, trying to contain my enthusiasm for this newfound drink. After I walk them back to the hotel, I search the surrounding block for pubs and find one five doors down from my accommodation's entrance. Fantastic! I park myself on a barstool and proceed to drink four more litres of Pilsner Urquell, making some cool Czech drinking buddies in the process. Little did I know at the time that this would become my template for the following week.
I wake up early the next morning, fully expecting and deserving a full-blown hangover. But there's nothing. Nothing! I have a glass of water, put some eye drops in, and I feel great--hungry for breakfast ready to take on the world!
The next few days are hot and humid, around 30C (90F), and I drink lots of pilsner--indeed, I'm half-hammered most of my vacation. ...And I can't seem to stop. I quickly get into the habit of answering "Pils!," whenever a waiter asks what I'd like to drink.
Honestly, if I lived in this country, the beer would be the ruin of me and my liver. But screw health, ask for "pils," while in Prague! Na Zdravi!
This place was great! It is near the powder tower and the Obecni Dum (the Municipal House). You go to Hybernská street and then turn right in Dlazena. The place is called Tluslká Koala and it's full of local people and some tourists. Their dark beer taste very good. It has nothing to do with Guiness. The flavor is much lighter and refreshing. Half a litter cost you 34 crowns! Here you can also eat local "tapas" Czech people eat while drinking. My Czech friends recommended me to try pickled sausages and also spicy cheese with oil. I don't remember the names because I didn't have time to try them! next time i hope...
I'm a beer person so to me Prague was the first beer shangri-la I visited. The beers we brew in my country are "tipo Pilsner" (Pilsner type) so the beers in Prague tasted very much like those I grew up around with. It felt like a little like at home.
There's so many of them. Make sure you try most of them. They're all great. Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, etc. I can't remember all of 'em (tried too many!) but I remember how to get one... "Jeden pivo prosim" (One beer, please).
Its their beer brewing, and, more importantly, their beer drinking! Czechs consistently consume more beer per capita than any other country in the world...well close...they usually trade off each year with Germany at the #1 and #2 spots.
And they truly believe (and I tend to agree with them) that they brew the best, highest quality, beer in the world. Granted they don't have the variety that you will find in places like Belgium. Czechs prefer to take the belief that doing only 2 or 3 things better than anyone else, is better than doing more things than anyone else.
Hence you have the traditional Bohemian Pilsner (invented in Plzen at the Pilsner Urquell brewery), the amber Pilsner, and the dark Pilsner. Simple, yet enough variety when you consider that they all taste as creamy as a frosty ice cream cone!
Their pride in beer is well deserved, and I would not suggest challenging it...because there are more of them, then you...and they pretty much have a consensus among the people that is quite hard to shake.
The smarter thing to do is simply to order up and enjoy!
If you are going into a traditional pub because, maybe, you have heard or read about its history, or legends, just remember that men generally should order a beer...as opposed to, say, wine or coffee. This is especially true in "U Zlateho Tygra" because of the beer tradition they have there. Women generally have reached the level of equality in the professional world to match most western countries, but the social traditions have held strong, and traditionally in the Czech Republic, the pub is seen as man's domain.
Most common beers are Pilsner Ququell, Staropramen, Gambrinus and Budweiser(not the US brand). Czechs are known for their lagers and drink the most bee per capita in the world. I’ve been told by a local that Czech consume 40 gallons of beer per person, most in the world. Germany is second at 30 gallons per person. US ranks 9th at 20 gallons per person. Note:See other General Tip for amusing history of Budweiser(Czech) vs Budweiser(US).
Avoid the tourist bars, just observe where the locals are heading at lunchtime. Check the alleyways, they don`t want to eat lunch with tourists so they don`t advertise with A-board street signs and these are the best. Expect to pay 26 - 32 Kr for 500ml of the good stuff. Gambrinus is about 4% so can be supped all day, Urquell/Budvar etc are around 5% ABV - Tip the staff 10% and enjoy the finest beer in the world!!
I knew a lot about Czech beer going into our trip, and I am a huge fan of beer, in general. One thing I didn't realize is how much of a difference there is with beer on tap versus beer in a bottle.
I have enjoyed Pilsner Urquell and understand how it was the original, hence Ur-quell. And I liked it in a bottle, but living in the States that's about all we get. I did have some Urquell on tap in the States once, but it still wasn't as good as the fresh, fresh, fresh Urquell we had in Prague.
I heard from other tourists there and also from the locals that the beer is much easier to drink on tap and some people who don't like beer quickly change their minds when they try the fresh stuff.
We tried all of the following on tap: Pilsner Urquell, Budvar, Gambrinus, Krusovice and Krusovice dark.
It also makes a difference where you get the beer - make sure it is a locally respected place so the lines are clean and the kegs are fresh. You will not be disappointed.
Prices: If you pay more than 30 Kc, you must be in a tourist area. We found a few places where it was 26-28 Kc. If you get well away from the tourist areas it will be even less. But it's not necessarily bad to pay more - you may simply be paying for ambience or location. And that's okay as long as you enjoy yourself.
Most Czech beers are lagers, naturally brewed from hand-picked hops. Czechs like their beer cellar temperature with a creamy, tall head. When ordering draught beer ask for “male pivo” (0,3l) or “pivo” (0,5l).
The best known Czech beer is the original Pilsner beer, Pilsner Urquell, brewed in the town of Plzen and exported worldwide. Many Czechs also like another Plzen brew, Gambrinus, but recently Bernard from Eastern Bohemia, was voted best beer of the year.
The most widely exported Czech Beer is Budvar (Budweiser in German), the name of which is also used by an unrelated American brew. A newish beer with a fine and very smooth taste is Velvet, in light form, or Kelt, as a dark beer from Prague breweries. Other Prague home brands are Smichovsky Staropramen and Branik.
The Czechs have been drinking beer since time immemorial. The secret of Czech beer is that the agricultural conditions are ideal for growing hops, and chronicles establish their cultivation in Bohemia as early as 859 A.D., while the first evidence of their export dates back to 903.
Czech beer is delicious and extremely cheap, its one of the reasons why so many people come here for Stag and hen parties aswell as Birthdays.
For those looking for the smaller Breweries-
St Norberts, inside St Norberts Monastery, by the entrance to Petrin Park, near the Castle. Very tasty dark and light beers, pricy at 49Krs for 400ml, but worth trying.
Old Gott Brewery, within U Medvicku, near Tescos. 48Krs for 400ml, strong and dark, and worth a try, but not particularly to my taste. I went back to Budvar light and dark in the main Pub at 26Krs for 500ml!
Pivovarsky Dum (Between IP Pavlova and Charles Square), cheaper than the others at about 30Krs for 500ml - Not such a specialised taste, but good light and dark beers, and I particularly liked the Mixed Beer, and the Wheat Beer of the speciality beers. Not so keen on the coffee, sour cherry, banana or chilli ones, and I was glad I only had small tasters!
I have not yet tried U Fleku or the New Brewery, so cannot comment on those.
I also quite liked the Kelt Czech Stout, not a classic beer by any means, but a welcome break from the fizzy lagers.
Also, I think that the quality of Puilsener Urquell has dropped since being taken over by one of the Mega-fizz Conglomerates and 'modern' brewery processes were introduced.