Beer is big business in Prague. Of course if you knew about its stag party reputation you’d know this already, and if you just thought Prague was a romantic capital city with a very famous bridge it might surprise you. However, although beer (and specifically Urquell, Prague’s cheap as chips pilsner) is big business, lurking underneath that is a pretty awesome craft beer and micro-brewery culture waiting to be explored.
We set about visiting three of the finest on a brewery tour of Prague organised by with Discover Prague and learnt a huge amount about the micro-brewery scene with our Brew Master Gary. We drank a lot too, but it was all in the name of fact finding, right?
First thing is first. Prague is the capital city of beer and with 100 micro-breweries across the Czech Republic it’s not hard to see why. Most of their production is not available to buy in supermarkets and is not exported outside of the country so you have to go direct to the source. Shame that!
Gary took us on a tasting journey through Prague’s brewing history whilst we tucked ourselves in three awesome micro-brewery, tasting beer that it is unlikely we’ll ever taste again. I’m generally not a beer fan and this trip was more for Mr Sparrow, but its fair to say that I found my beer legs pretty quickly – Czech beer is pretty much awesome, and I certainly held my own on this trip.
You can visit any of the breweries mentioned below solo, so lets get down to the beer tasting!
After a short metro ride, we found ourselves at this brewery/restaurant for a lesson in beer, some food to line our stomachs and to taste some of the more unusual flavours on offer in Prague. As our group sat down, Gary took us through the brewing process, the use of hops and presented us with a carousel of 8 mini beers to try.
As you’ll see in the picture, there is a really unique selection here – including coffee, banana and a beer brewed with nettles instead of hops. I’ll be honest and say that wasn’t my favourite, but I enjoyed tasting the range and understand how they’d all been brewed, alongside my plate of Czech sausage and bread. I really liked that sausage.
Onwards then, to the next destination, which is a very famous bohemian beer hall and restaurant serving just one type of beer – Flekovský Tmavý Ležák 13° (or The Flek Thirteen to you and I). Brewed on the premises, and unavailable anywhere else this dark beer on the face of it was going to push me out of my comfort zone. I’m not a Guinness fan, nor a fan of dark beers in general and this looked like my worst nightmare.
I could not of been more wrong, and 400mls of The Flek Thirteen went down very well indeed. Very very well infact, so well that I also polished off Mr Sparrow’s who had not enjoyed it as much. I’d honestly drink this stuff all day, and haven’t managed to find anything remotely similar in the UK, so my beer drinking days have definitely been left behind in Prague.
Aside from the lovely beer, the pub was founded in 1499 and is therefore over 500 years old. It’s a wonderful beer hall to sit in, with dark wood panels, long tables and lots of noise so I’d recommend an independent visit.
Onwards to our final destination a tiny micro-brewery hidden away down a side street and up some stairs. This was the oldest brewery we visited in Prague (founded in 1466) and here we tried Oldgott, a half dark larger which is not fermented or pasteurised. I don’t want to suggest there is a theme here, but I really enjoyed this beer too, so perhaps I’m more of a beer drinker that I thought.
Once a month, they brew the X BEER 33 – the strongest lager in the world. We sadly missed this, but if you are lucky enough to visit when its available, I dare you to give it a go!
After our visit to some of the most interesting micro-breweries of Prague and after tasting a fair bit of beer, we wandered back to our hotel for a well deserved nap. There is nothing like a beer snooze after a well deserved history lesson!
Cost: Bookable via Prague Tours, this brewery tour of Prague lasts around 3 hours and costs 48 euros per adult. For that you visit 3 breweries, taste 11 beers and get a selection of food!