The Czechs are truly passionate about their beer heritage. The Czechs love their beer, which isn't a surprising fact considering that the country leads the world in beer consumption per capita. The beer is both delicious and inexpensive. In fact, in some places the beer is cheaper than most other drinks – akin to the price of soda or juice. So which Czech beers must you try?
1. Pilsner Urquell
When it comes to beer in the Czech Republic there is one name above all others that will be dropped just about everywhere: Pilsner Urquell. This is the original lager that all other lagers are based upon. It is crisp with an intense hoppy flavour and has a touch of bitterness, but finishes smooth. This is due in no small part from the world-famous Saatz hops used in the brewing process. However the soft water drawn from 1,000 feet from the earth from artisan wells doesn't hurt either. The first batch of Pilsner Urquell was brewed in 1842 after locals in Plzen rioted over the low quality beer being sold for high quality prices. After the riot, beer-makers came together to form one company and brewed a beer so delicious that it is still considered to be the best today. Now beer from the Pilsner brewery is shipped all over the world and can be found just about anywhere that beer is sold in the Czech Republic.
2. Budejovicky Budvaris
Budejovicky Budvaris is another one of those famous Czech beers that is shipped worldwide. However, outside of the Czech Republic, it is known by many names: What is known as Budejovicky Budvaris in the Czech Republic is known as Budweiser Budvar in the European Union and Czechvar in the United States and Canada. While it may be referred to Budweiser Budvar in Europe, it has no relation to the American staple beer Budweiser by Anheuser-Busch. Budejovicky Budvaris is a light lager with a hearty five per cent volume alcohol content. The beer matures for 90 days in cellars before it is sold. This aging process gives the brew a pure, rounded and rich flavour.
Staropramen is brewed in the Smichov district of Prague. It is made from a special blend of Bohemian barley and Zatec hops. It is distinguished from other beers by its crisp, light and fruity flavour. It is said that in every glass of Staropramen lies the “free spirit of Prague”. This is a highly drinkable, full bodied and pleasantly smooth brew that has kept locals happy since 1869. Staropramen used to be a locally-owned and ran company, but has been bought by the global giant InBev. However, InBev hasn’t changed the beer. After all, why change what is perfect?
The brewery that brews Krusovice beer, the Royal Brewery of Krusovice, is one of the oldest breweries in the Czech Republic. This is an impressive title considering many of the breweries date back to the late 1800s as it is. This brewery was originally founded in 1517 by Jii Birka in the village of Krusovice. The company gained a contract to provide their brew to Emperor Rudolf II in 1581, which allowed them to use the Imperial Crown of Austria as part of the company's logo. Today, the brewery still stands in the same place it has always stood. However, today it serves up several different beers under its modern roof. A favourite all over the Czech Republic is the Krusovice Cerne, which is the dark lager with its sweet caramel taste and light hop flavour.
Gambrinus is one of the most popular beers in the Czech Republic. It was named after the legendary king of Flanders who was known for his brewing abilities. This premium quality beer used to be brewed in its own brew house, but was bought out by Pilsner Urquell. Pilsner Urquell didn't change the beloved recipe though. Gambrinus is a pale lager with a five per cent alcohol volume and a rich hoppy flavour.
A well balanced golden pilsner, Czech Rebel was founded in 1834. The brewery was named after the town of Havlickuv Brod, which in turn was named after the famous local Czech writer Karel Havlicek Borovsky, who fought against the powerful Habsburg monarchy by writing revolutionary articles. Hence the brewery took on the name Rebel. Rebel produces a variety of different brews, including the traditional pale lager, Rebel Grep and Citron, which has strong flavours of grapefruit and lemon. Alternatively, Rebel Cherry is a dense caramel beer with aromas and flavours of ripe cherries.
The brews that Primator pushes out come from the town of Nachod, which has been perfecting brewing techniques for centuries. This brewery draws water from the Adrspach-Teplice, which is a protected region that assures the purity of the water. The brewery has brewed beer the same way since the 1800s, until 2006, when it launched a reconstruction of its cellar technology that included an excess pressure transfer chamber and newly installed yeast farmstead. Along with some other upgrades, Primator suddenly found itself one of the most technologically advanced breweries in the country. Primator beer has a strong, balanced flavour with a sparkling gold colour and long lasting head.