"Pivo" is Czech for beer, and the Czech Republic is famous for it. Not only is it home to the world's first pilsner, but more people drink beer per capita in the Czech Republic than anywhere else on the planet! And the great thing is that when you're in a pub, you can just ask for "pivo" and you get the house beer on tap.... none of this nonsense selection... just gimme a beer!
Beer is considered a part of the national heritage of the Czech Republic, therefore the Czechs are one of the top beer-brewing nations in the world today.
Popular Czech beer brands are: Plzensky Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquel), Gambrinus, Radegast, Velkopopovicky kozel, Budvar and Staropramen. Apart from these, there is a long list of beers brewed in smaller regional breweries.
Budvar, Budvar, Budvar... Its everywhere, with good cause. Drink plenty of this stuff while youre there. Your not just going run into it at the local supermarket back in the states... atleast not where I live. Combine Budvar and a night at one of the fantastic Jazz venues, and you've just mixed the best of old prague with the best of new prague. I recommend AghaRTA, but there are plenty of places to hear some fantastic Jazz.
Pilsner Urquell is touted as the original pilsner, but there are many other varieties to try. One brand that seems to be of a bit better quality is Gambrinus. Pilsner Urquell is available everywhere, even McDonald's , but you'll find the others in most pubs and on the streets. Something else of note: the original Budweiser was started in Czech Republic, but the Americans stole the name. The "real" Budweiser is a bit darker and better in my opinion. And don't forget, it's legal to walk on the streets with alcoholic beverages.
One of the greatest things I saw while eating dinner in a local pub was the neighbors coming in and filling various containers and pitchers with beer, then leaving and taking them home, returning later for refills.
The Czechs are a people of beerdrinkers. Needless to say that they are also a nation of brewers. There are two major types of beer, light and dark. Light is pilsner, the type of lager invented in the town of Pilsen (now Plzen) in the 19th century. These are bitter thanks to a gratuitious amount of hop, which is grown also in the country. Try a few different brands and taste for yourself what inferior imitations like Bud and Heineken are doing wrong. Some examples are Urquell and Budweiser/Budvar (which has nothing to do with the American stuff, the Czech one actually IS drinkable). Novometski Pivovar is a brewpub that makes its own. See my restaurant tips for more.
More interesting to me are the dark beers. These are less hoppy than the light beers but are often more complex in taste. Hints of chocolate or coffee (not that there's any of these in the beer!) can be tasted. Some are similar to stout (like Guinness for example). One of my favourites is Krusovice, which can compete with Guinness any time, another good one I tasted is Kelt. U Fleku, the oldest brewpub in Prague, makes an excellent one too, but you will have to visit the place to taste it, which requires a little advance warning (see my restaurant tips).
The local brand of beer of Prague is Staropramen, which unfortunately is owned by the Belgian company Inbev (formerly known as Interbrew) which uses the brewery as a bridgehead to push their own stuff on the people in Prague and eventually get other breweries out of business. Normally I prefer not to to drink any /InterbrewInbev beer, now that I still have the choice, but I would have made an exception for Staropramen if it wasn't so easy to get at home. It is after all good beer. I only hope that the brewery will be in business for a long time to come, and that its beers will remain as goods as they are. Somehow I'm afraid that that is not going to happen. Where InBev rears its ugly head quality is bound to lose.
In Prague, they don't do it like in the US. You don't walk up to the bar and see 15 different brews on tap. Each place serves ONE brand of beer and that's it.
So, if you know there's a particular brand you want to try, look for the sign. That's how you'll be able to identify who's selling what.
Countless times we saw people sitting down in a place and try to order a beer only to be told by the server that they didn't serve that brand. Some people didn't care and just ordered whatever the place had. But others would get upset that they had to get up and leave because they couldn't get their favorite beer.
Just be aware of this and look at the logos on the windows and such before you go in.
The local beer Starapromen, Krusovice, and Budvar is better than the crap you get in the U.K , U.S and Australia so drink it at all times , you definately shouldn't pay more than one pound for a half litre.
If you see anyone drinking imported beer throw them in the river , if its Rolling Rock tie them up first.
The Czech people love beer!!! It's one of the biggest beer drinking countries in the world. Many types of beer is made here such as Budvar, Vratislav, Radegast, Staropramen (the only beer I like!) and so on. Beer is cheap here too, costs about 50 cent and up. So, all beer lovers sure can try out them all! :) The photo is of a beercoaster I took at a pub. ;)
Drink some of the Czech beers.
A very useful Chech phrase that I learnt on the flight over....'Jeden pivo prosim'... 'One beer please'.
There are many czech beers and they were all good, but one I did like was Staropramen, its also available outside the Czech Republic.
It has always seemed to be natural to me, but I changed my mind after seeing some people drinking beer. :-] Foreigners! You HAVE to know this before entering Czech!!
*wait until the hat falls down, don't eat it with a spoon
*when you're almost finished with one glass and there is a new one in front of you, don't pour the rest into your new beer
*don't mix your beer with Cola, Sprite or another alcohol, please
*after touching glasses hit the table too.
I guess that's it. If you follow these rules, you will get out of pubs healthy. ;-)) Now go and enjoy your beer!!
...make sure you look in the eyes of your friends rather than at the glasses - otherwise, people will think that you care more about spilling your drink than about your drinking buddies. A great custom, if you ask me - just reminds you that drinking here is viewed as more about fun & friendship, less about pure intoxication :)
Did you know that the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world? Yep, it's something like 56 gallons per person per year. There is a reason for that...the beer is excellent. Drink it on the street in the morning, get it from a vending machine at the airport, stop into your local pub, do whatever you have to do, but DRINK CZECH BEER! While doing so, remember that the Czech Beer Firsts are many and varied.
*First in per capita beer consumption
*First Beer Museum in the world
*First beer brewing textbook
*First Budweiser (Americans stole the Budvar name and put it on our ***ty beer. Czechs don't like this, understandably.)
*First president to have written an absurdist play based on his experiences working in a Czech beer brewery in 1974
PILSNER URQUELL: Brewed for centuries in the historic town of PILSEN. Pilsner Urquell revolutionized the art of brewing beer. They created the worlds first golden beer. This breakthrough delivered an intensely rewarding taste and a beer that sets the standard by which all other beers are measured today.
While many associate beer with Germany, the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world....and they are proud of it. Don't be afraid to sample many of the fine locals beers anytime of day. No one will look twice at you if you wash down your eggs with a tall cold one!!!!!