The first time I went to Prague, I wasn’t much of a beer drinker. I made myself try it there, and it was pretty good, you know, for beer. It wasn’t until I moved to Portland and had all these great microbreweries to choose from that I really fell for the malted suds. And then I went back to Prague.
Czechs drink more beer per capita than any other nation in the world. Pilsner beer is named for the town of Plzen. Our American Budweiser gets it’s name from České Budějovice, whose German name was Budweis. All this is to say that the Czech Republic is a pretty good place for beer-drinkers. And since a tall, frothy glass costs about two US dollars, Jesse and I took it upon ourselves to taste as many as we could.
Beer culture is different here. In Portland I’m used to a microbrewery offering lots of choices (IPA, Black IPA, Amber, Red, Stout, Porter) with different flavors like cherry, juniper, smoke or even bacon. Czech beers are much more simple, all delicious, and are mostly Pilsners that come in a light or dark variety. Speaking Czech might have helped me find other types, but since I don’t, we stuck with the main kinds.
After testing about a dozen kinds, I think my favorites are Staropramen Light, and Krušovice Dark. I have no good reasons to back that up, I just liked them. We also tried Pilsner Urquell (of course!), Kozel, Gambrinus, Lobkowicz, Budvar, Branik, and a few from the Pivovar Strahov brewery near the castle, by the Strahov Monastery.
After a long walk up to the castle, their St Norbert IPA was the perfect reward. In fact, the sudsy glasses from any corner bar were the perfect reward for our tired feet any time of the day, even at 11:00 am! You know, beer was often served for breakfast to hungry workers in the middle ages. So don’t judge me. Exploring a city is thirsty work.
My advice when visiting Prague? Leave plenty of time to relax at an outdoor table, a big glass of pivo in hand. Cheers: Na zdravi!