Now in its 5th year, the Czech Beer Festival in Prague is a city-wide celebration of local beers, food and music, with a fantastic selection of ales, pilsners and lagers.
Held between the 17th May and 2nd June 2012, the centre of the festival is held in the Vystaviste Praha Holesovice Park, which is filled from corner to corner with beer tents, each offering beers ranging from local microbrewery creations to the biggest Czech names, including Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell, as well as live folk music and food platters served in traditional beer hall style!
When you first get to the park, your money will be changed up into tokens called Tolars – the festival currency. One Tolar will fetch you half a pint of beer, and only sets you back 40 CZK, or around £1.30, meaning at £2.60 a pint, beer is cheaper than the majority of the UK, and you can have a chat with the producers while you're there! Make sure you also pick up your souvenir glass, far better than drinking from the plastic cups, and you can take it home as a reminder of your Prague holiday.
The Czech Beer Festival is ideal for visitors and dedicated beer enthusiasts alike, with lots to drink, a warm and happy atmosphere, and plenty of cultural attractions to see and get involved with. For those looking to devote their entire holiday to Prague's impressive beer industry, take a look at the favourite brewery tours in and around the area, ideal for immersing yourself in the region's obsession with the “liquid bread”!
The Staropramen Brewery is the largest in Prague, producing well-known Czech lagers on a massive scale. The tour begins in the hi-tech visitor centre, where you will find videos, newspaper clippings and even hologram images describing the history of the brewery, and explaining the brewing process from raw ingredients to finished beer throughout the ages.
You are then taken through the facility, where you'll see the very best cutting-edge technology used to create consistently good beer, before entering the tasting room. Here you'll can try three of the factory's top brews: The classic lager, bright and softly malty; the Granat, a full-bodied number with a blend of pale and special malts, and the Dark, a rich, bitter-sweet beer, high in both alcohol and flavour. If the tasting room hasn't whet your appetite, the brewery pub is just next door, perfect for lunch and a few drinks to wind down afterwards!
The Pilsen Brewery
An hour outside the city centre is the Pilsen Brewery, producers of the famous Pilsner Urquell beer. You'll learn the brewing method required to make pilsner beers, and see the historic Pilsner Urquell brewhouse. From the centre of the brewery, which dates back to 1842, to the modern bottling plant, you'll learn all about the brewery’s development, and get to see some fantastic Czech architecture at the same time.
The tour ends with a visit to the cellars, where you can taste the mainstream beers, as well as the smaller, hand-crafted brews, made in the old-fashioned way in oak barrels, imparting a sweet, rich flavour – a rare opportunity and a must for beer-lovers!
While Prague's large-scale breweries are certainly an impressive site, the city boasts dozens of micro-breweries, creating unique small-batch beers in houses, above pubs and in restaurant kitchens. Together the microbreweries create a Prague tour of their own, and the Hotel U Medvídků is great for those looking for somewhere to start.
The building has been used as a brewery for over five centuries, and is now also a hotel, restaurant and drinking hall, although the brewing room and fermentation cellar remain the same. Take a look around the adjoining brewing museum, and pull up a chair in the restaurant to enjoy some excellent food matched with each beer, for a glimpse of one of Prague's top small-scale producers.
Prague's brewing history leaves a lot to be discovered for the avid beer-lover, meaning a holiday during the Czech Beer Festival is the perfect time to explore the area. You could even drop in at Chodovar, the “beer wellness land” which offers a brewery museum and a “beer spa”, complete with massage, drinking cures and the popular if unusual beer baths!
If you want to take a break to Prague to experience the Czech beer festival between May and June, be sure to click here for the Prague deals on the easyJet Holidays website.
Related post: A Czech Beer Adventure