Tag Archives: Pilsener Urquell

A Pivo Pilgrimage to Pilsen

Grab your favourite beer steins, folks! We’re heading to the source for a pilsener.

To many a beer drinker, the city of Plzeň (Pilsen) is virtually synonymous with its storied brewery and famous beer style. But beer in this western Bohemian town wasn’t always the kind of liquid sustenance that inspired pilgrimages.

About That Beer We Call Pilsener

Rewind to the early nineteenth century, a time when the good citizens of Pilsen were brewing anything but good beer. The brew had gotten so foul, in fact, that city councilors publicly dumped out thirty-six barrels of it in the town square in 1838. Quelle horreur! So intense was the humiliation that some of the burghers who owned brewing rights banded together to found the Měšťanský Pivovar (Civic Brewery), precursor to what is now Pilsener Urquell. They would soon turn their reputation around.

To the south and to the west of Pilsen, the Viennese brewer Anton Dreher and his Bavarian companion Gabriel Sedlmayr (of Spaten fame) had made significant strides in developing a bottom-fermented and lagered beer that held up admirably over time. Other Bavarian brewers embraced these technological advances, and it wasn’t long before word about these beers spread well beyond Bavaria and the capital of the Habsburg Empire. Enter Martin Stelzer, head of Pilsen’s Civic Brewery, who journeyed to Bavaria in 1842 to interview the son of one of these successful brewers. Invited to Pilsen on a three-year contract, the 29-year-old Josef Groll fired up the brewhouse on 5 October 1842, beginning work on a beer that would revolutionize the entire concept of the beverage –– but not, according to rumour, before he convinced a Bavarian monk to smuggle the all-important Bavarian yeast into Bohemia (Weyermann, 2009, 12; Ensminger, 1997).

It wasn’t just the yeast and the local Saaz hops that were to shine in this new beer. Groll’s central innovation was on the malting floor, where he embraced a relatively new technology from England patented by Daniel Wheeler in 1817. Previously, malt had been kilned directly over smoky fires, but Groll astutely recognized the potential of this novel kilning method to yield a cleaner and lighter-hued malt.

A month after mashing and boiling his first batch, Groll unveiled the first-ever golden-coloured sparkling beer. The suds that flowed forth on 11 November 1842 looked and tasted mighty fine, immediately captivating the beer-drinking public in Pilsen and garnering further European attention during the Paris World Exposition in 1867.

Alas, Groll passed away unaware of his contribution to brewing history. He didn’t stay long in Pilsen, returning in 1845 to his native village of Vilshofen, where he inherited his father’s brewery. He expired in relative obscurity at the ripe old age of 74 in his favourite tavern, the Wolferstetter Keller, tankard in hand (Weyermann, 2009, 13).

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Pilsen today is a vibrant industrial city where the kolaches are fine and the city square magnificent. Set amidst the Baroque and Renaissance facades, the Gothic spires of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral rise 102 meters above the city. Those who venture up the tower are rewarded with vistas in the direction of the Great Synagogue (the world’s third-largest Jewish temple) and the Skoda works to the west, and the sprawling Plzeňský Prazdroj (Pilsener Urquell) brewery to the east.

Pilsener Urquell is, indeed, one large concern, owned until 2016 by SABMiller before being spun off to Asahi as part of the shake-out from the AB-InBev merger with SABMiller. Pilsen’s Brewery Museum is affiliated with Pilsener Urquell, as are a number of restaurants and taverns in the center of town. Not that Pilsener Urquell is in any way bad –– far from it –– but the company’s long reach means that you’ll have to look a bit harder for liquid sustenance that isn’t part of the Pilsener Urquell portfolio of brands.

Beyond Pilsener Urquell

A growing number of brewers and taproom proprietors supportive of artisanal/craft beer have responded to Pilsener Urquell’s dominant presence, with one taproom owner, Jaroslav Jakeś, going so far as to open up shop in the shadow of the Brewery Museum. During an enjoyable evening at his Na Čepu taproom, Jakeś explained that he aimed to convince his fellow Pilseners that there’s more to beer than Pilsener Urquell. It’s an uphill battle, but he seems to have struck a chord with his lively taproom. Along with characterful takes on Czech classics, we tried a white IPA and a stout from Pivovar Raven, a Pilsen brewery that is creating quite a stir in Bohemia and beyond. (For more on the bottle of stout I brought back to Vienna with me, see A World of Stouts for Your Weekend.) We also had a polotmarý from Pivovar U Lenocha, another local David taking on Goliath. Polotmarý is a fine example of what happens when intrepid homebrewers and craft brewers pick up on a tavern favourite: a half-and-half mix of a light-coloured and a dark-coloured lager. The result is a rich, caramel-toasty amber beer that includes a mix of some or all of the following ingredients: pilsener malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, a caramel malt like CaraAmber, and (usually) Saaz hops.

U Pašáka is another place to sample the non-Pilsener Urquell wares of the city. Their beers hew fairly close to tradition (unfiltered lagers and amber lagers), but they’re well-crafted and the food is a nice change of pace from the heavy (but tasty!) fare you’re likely to encounter at many other taverns in Pilsen. Their farmers’ board came with crackling spread spiked with onion, paté with cranberry confit, and head cheese marinated with peppercorns – the perfect accompaniment to their beers.Last but not least, there’s Pivovar Groll, a brewery named in honour of the hero of Pilsen’s beer narrative. Though the name pays homage to a beer legend, the beer that we sampled on that cold December night was far from legendary. Try it, though. Maybe they’ll have sorted out some of their issues by the time you visit.

… And Back to the Source

It’s an interesting state of affairs that’s brewing in Pilsen. People like Jakeś are getting an impressive artisanal/craft beer scene off the ground, and it’ll likely be all the more vibrant by the time you visit. For many non-European beer travelers, though, Pilsen is a destination precisely because of its historically significant brewery. To be sure, Pilsener Urquell was already a highly industrialized operation by the latter half of the nineteenth century, with an annual output of 221,720 hectoliters by 1878. But it has maintained a reputation for brewing flavourful lagers without recourse to cost-cutting ingredients, even as other brewers of Pilsen-influenced beers drove their recipes into Blandsville. Pilsener Urquell remains tasty enough, its open-fermented and cask-aged version even more so.

So down that IPA and let’s head over to this fabled brewery for a visit. (After all, we’re here on a beer pilgrimage.) As for the brewery tour, it presents a fairly standard origin story of beer, offers up plenty of cool copper kettles, and shows off the always-fascinating bottling lines. But beyond the slick multi-media presentation lies something deeper. Literally.

As the lights dim on the last of the surround-sound shows detailing the ingredients that go into your beer, the tour guide swings open a door that leads down to a different century. Film noir meets Stieglitz-inspired black-and-white photos of glistening cobblestones in this byzantine network of lagering cellars sunk in 1839. Here among the row upon row of barrels you’ll see the tools of the trade employed by the hewers of ice who kept the cellars cold. You’ll also get to taste a Pilsener Urquell brewed the old-fashioned way: open-fermented in oak vats and lagered in casks. When Pilsener Urquell switched over to stainless steel fermentation in 1992, they claimed that they had managed to preserve the traditional character of the beer (Ensminger, 1997). Maybe it was the magic of the surroundings, or maybe it was the über-freshness of the beer I was drinking straight from the cask, but I enjoyed that glass of Pilsener Urquell more than any other pint I had while in Bohemia.

You can take my word for it that the beer tastes better straight from the cask, or you can find out for yourself. I recommend the latter.

Addresses:

Brewery Museum, Veleslavínova 6, 30114 Plzeň. See their website for opening hours and rates. Tucked into a 15th century brewing house, the museum traces the history of beer in the city and region with ample displays and informative wall texts. All roads lead to Pilsener Urquell, but to the brewery’s credit, the connection is understated. I’m slowly working on a piece on beer and brewing museums in Europe, so I’ll say more there.

Na Čepu, Veleslavínova 57/8, 30100 Plzeň

U Pašáka, Poděbradova 12, 30100 Plzeň 3

Sources:

Brewery Museum (visited 29 December 2015). General brewing history of the region and information/stats specific to Pilsener Urquell.

Sabine Weyermann, “On the Trail of Josef Groll: Rediscovering Authentic Bohemian Malt and Beer,” Scandinavian Brewers’ Review, Vol.66, No. 6 (2009). Given her name, it’s hardly surprising that Weyermann delves into the maltier aspects of Groll’s contribution to brewing history.

Peter A. Ensminger, “The History and Methods of Pilsner Urquell: Divining the Source of the World’s Most Imitated Beer,” Brewing Techniques (May/August 1997), provides a comprehensive account of the history of Pilsen’s famous beer.

Related Tempest articles:

Pictures at a Czech Beer Exhibition: Pilsen, Budweis, Český Krumlov

Beer Travel off the Beaten Track: Austria’s Innviertel

O’ zapft is! Oktoberfest 2016

Vienna, City of Beer Gardens

Images by F.D. Hofer.

© 2017 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All rights reserved.

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Tankards Everywhere: Tempest’s Beerscapes of 2016

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Fermentation in progress, Weihenstephan

I was at Schloss Belvedere a few days back, the famous Viennese museum that houses the even more famous Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Alongside some of his other iconic works such as Judith und Holofernes hung several paintings dating from the year of Klimt’s death in 1918, all containing the word “unvollendet” (incomplete) somewhere in the title. Like Schubert’s 8th Symphony –– Die Unvollendete –– Klimt’s incomplete works gesture tantalizingly toward what would have been.

The same cannot be said for my growing stack of paper and metaphorically bulging computer file filled with work in various stages of incompletion: inchoate thoughts on everything from the German Purity Laws to the perennial debates about canning and canons of taste; travelogues that set out on a journey with no end; and the myriad attempts to turn aroma and flavour sensations into transcriptions of my imbibing pleasures.

One aspect of my attempts to put pen to paper on a regular basis has remained relatively constant since I arrived in Vienna: I get side-tracked too easily by all there is to see and do in Vienna, in Austria, in Central Europe, and elsewhere on this continent. The desire to post regularly has remained just that. I have to admit that I considered putting Tempest on ice on more than a few occasions, but the sheer enjoyment of writing about all things fermentable keeps drawing me back to the keyboard.

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The Speyside Way in the Scottish Highlands

Almost every one of my trips over the past three years has involved the cultural history and contemporary moment of drinking up. This year alone I walked 15 km from one distillery in Aberlour to another in Ballindalloch along Scotland’s Speyside Way.

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Kloster Andechs. I suspect that most of the visitors aren’t here to attend mass.

I followed in the footsteps of thirsty pilgrims in search of spiritual and corporeal solace at Kloster Andechs.

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A local beer from Carinthia’s Loncium at the Dolomitenhütte

I hiked up a mountain for a view of the Austrian Dolomites and a much-deserved local beer at the top, and cycled with friends along the Danube in Austria’s Wachau region during the height of the grape harvest.

And that’s not all. As I began to gather my thoughts for this piece on the occasion of Tempest’s third trip around the orange orb, I realized that it’s been quite the ride since this time last year.

České Budějovice (Budweis), Plzeń (Pilsen).

Polished coppers at Pilsner Urquell

Polished coppers at Pilsner Urquell

Austria’s Innviertel.

Bogner, makers of some of the best Hefeweizen in Austria

Bogner, makers of some of the best Hefeweizen in Austria

Brussels and Flemish Brabant.

You really can't go wrong with a wheel of lambics.

You really can’t go wrong with a wheel of lambics.

Munich, with its expansive beer gardens and lively beer halls, and Ayinger a half hour away. img_8346

A top-notch hop museum in the Hallertau and several museum exhibitions in Munich commemorating the 500th anniversary of the German Purity Laws (Reinheitsgebot).

The German Hop Museum in Wolnzach (Hallertau)

The German Hop Museum in Wolnzach (Hallertau)

Oktoberfest in Munich, and a hop harvest festival in Freising, home of Germany’s oldest brewery.

You won't go hungry in Bavaria.

You won’t go hungry in Bavaria.

And Scotland! Edinburgh’s majestic pubs.img_0722

The search for a 60 Shilling ale which proved about as fruitless as trying to sight the Loch Ness Monster. And drams of whisky to chase whatever Scottish ale I did find.img_0902

So here we are. Some of the notes and fragments detailing my adventures will see the light of day in due time, but in the meantime I offer you a few words’ worth of images, a visual down payment on writing to come.

Cheers to you, my fellow imbiber, for accompanying me on my journey these past three years! It’s you who keeps me writing.

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Check back in a few days for my write-up about the outstanding beer I cracked to celebrate three years.

© 2016 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All rights reserved.

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Vienna, City of Beer Gardens

Not a cloud in the sky and the streets are starting to radiate the heat of the late afternoon. So much to see in Vienna. But I could use a cool drink right about now.IMG_4050 Perfect time to head to a beer garden.

“A beer garden?” some of my Viennese friends ask, usually with slightly raised eyebrow. In writing this series on beer gardens, I’ve come to learn that many in Vienna don’t refer to beer gardens as beer gardens. The preferred term is “Gastgarten” (guest garden), while “Biergarten” has a distinctively southern German ring to it. I’ll revisit this fascinating semantic world of Gasthäuser, Wirtshäuser, Beiseln, and Gastgärten at a later date. For now, though, it’s probably a safe bet for us English speakers to just call the drinking establishments in this series “beer gardens.”

Now you have a topic for your next beer garden conversation in Austria –– guaranteed to touch off a lively discussion about these aspects of Austrian culinary and cultural history.

A Gasthaus, a Beisl, or some guy named Franz?

A Gasthaus, a Beisl, a Wirtshaus, or some guy named Franz? Maybe they have a Gastgarten out back …

Where were we?

In Exploring Vienna’s Beer Gardens, we headed out to Vienna’s iconic Prater for some Czech Budweiser and roasted pork knuckle. After that, we hiked through the Vienna woods and capped it with an Augustiner beer fresh from Salzburg at the Bamkraxler (A Beer Garden in Vienna’s Wine Country). Time for another one of those epic tram rides –– this time to the western corner of the city.

Schutzhaus “Zukunft auf der Schmelz”

Tucked away amid the largest expanse of urban gardens (Schrebergärten) in Europe, the Schutzhaus “Zukunft auf der Schmelz” is one of those true gems that should be on the itinerary of every beer garden aficionado. Founded in 1920, today’s Schutzhaus may not have the largest selection of beers –– Czech Budweiser, a Zwickl from Ottakringer, a Paulaner Hefeweizen, and a few others –– but beer’s not the only reason you should visit. Peter Eickhoff, author of 111 Orte in Wien, die man gesehen haben muss, writes that the person who doesn’t know of the Schmelz “doesn’t know Vienna” (Eickhoff, 2015, 180). Even so, when you wander past the tidy urban gardens and enter the Schutzhaus beer garden, you’ll feel like you’ve been let in on a secret that not every Viennese has heard.IMG_7669

Sipping your beer surrounded by so much soothing greenery, it may take a moment to conjure up the rich history of the area. Auf der Schmelz has seen many incarnations, but its name still recalls its origin as an iron-smelting works that stood here up until the time of the second Ottoman siege in 1683. The Friedhof der Schmelz (cemetery) replaced the smelting works and held the remains of the victims of the 1848 Revolution until everyone was up and moved to the Zentralfriedhof (central cemetery) some years later. From 1857 this strip of land was used as an exercise ground for the imperial cavalry, and was the staging ground for the magnificent military parade held annually for Kaiser Franz Joseph.

After the turn of the twentieth century the area was slated for an ambitious redevelopment that would have shifted the artistic and cultural focus of Vienna considerably westward. This “blank slate” devoid of established buildings appealed to the architects of the day, including Otto Wagner, who submitted intriguing plans for the Kaiser Franz Josef Stadtmuseum (currently the Wien Museum on Karlsplatz).

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The Schutzhaus “Zukunft auf der Schmelz” is, to paraphrase Peter Eickhoff, not only the heart but also the belly of the Schmelz –– and the portions are, indeed, ample. It was “Spargelzeit” when I first went, that glorious time of year in Central Europe when menus feature all things white asparagus. I tucked into an “asparagus cordon bleu” (white asparagus spears wrapped in cheese and ham, then breaded and fried like a schnitzel), but you wouldn’t go wrong with one of their classics such as Schweinsbraten (roast pork) or goulash. If you arrive between June and August, you’ll be in for a treat: a weekly menu that features different menu variations using chanterelle mushrooms. (Look for any menu item with “Eierschwammerl.”)IMG_7676

  • Address: Auf der Schmelz, 1150 Wien
  • Getting there: Take the U3 in the direction of Ottakring as far as Johnstrasse, transfer to Bus 10A in the direction of Heiligenstadt, and get off at the “Auf der Schmelz” stop. You can also do the trip entirely above ground by taking the Tram 46 toward Joachimsthalerplatz as far as Schumeierplatz, transfer to Bus 10A in the direction of Niederhofstrasse, and get of at “Auf der Schmelz.”

Wirtshaus Zattl

You’ve been out to the Prater in Vienna’s Leopoldstadt district, you’ve sipped beer in the shadow of Nußdorf’s vineyards, and you’ve ventured out to the leafy Auf der Schmelz garden district in western Vienna. What’s left in terms of beer gardens and shaded courtyards attached to lively taverns? Plenty. But we’ll leave off with one spot in the center of town should you be pressed for time during your visit.

As far as pub interiors go, the Zattl certainly wouldn’t make any “top ten” lists of Europe’s best taverns. I’ve heard the place described as “rustic modern,” but it’s a polished rusticity with much of the historical character sanded out.IMG_9098 We’re here for something different, though. On the opposite side of Zattl’s Herrengasse storefront, you’ll find a bustling beer garden hidden just off the Freyung market square and right in the courtyard of the Schottenstift (Scottish Abbey). On any given evening when the weather’s warm, you’ll find the beer garden abuzz with a mix of students, people on their way home from work, and fashionably dressed older folks taking a break from the city around them.

Considering its location, the food and drinks are reasonably priced, with a 500 mL mug of beer running at 4.30 euros. Classic Austrian tavern fare such as Wiener Schnitzel, Fiaker Goulasch, and Zwiebelrostbraten (a delicious roast beef dish served in an onion sauce with crisped onions) begins around 12 euros. The Zattl receives its beer tanked in fresh from the Pilsener Urquell brewery a few hundred kilometers away in Bohemia.IMG_9101 The 2000-liter refrigerated delivery (subsequently divided into 500-liter tanks in Zattl’s cellar) is unpasteurized and naturally carbonated, making for a softer, rounder Pils Urquell than you’d get in the bottle. In addition to Pilsener Urquell, Zattl serves a variety of Stiegl beers, along with wine offerings from the Wachau, Kremstal, and Neusiedlersee regions.

Even if the Zattl’s sleek interior design runs short on Viennese charm, I share the oft-expressed sentiment among food and beverage writers in Vienna that the Zattl beer garden is among the prettiest inner-city beer gardens in Austria.

Or maybe it’s not a Biergarten after all, but a Gastgarten …

Drink up!IMG_9111

Sources

Peter Eickhoff, 111 Orte in Wien, die man gesehen haben muss (Emons Verlag, 2015).

August Sarnitz, Otto Wagner: Wegbereiter der modernen Architektur (Köln: Taschen, 2005).

“Schmelz,” Wien Geschichte Wiki.

Related Tempest Articles

Prelude to a Drink: Vienna

Exploring Vienna’s Beer Gardens

A Beer Garden in Vienna’s Wine Country

All images by F.D. Hofer.

© 2016 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All rights reserved.

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Pictures at a Czech Beer Exhibition: Pilsen, Budweis, Český Krumlov

Wooded hillsides, a hundred lakes mirroring the fleeting afternoon sunlight, emerald green pastures with the occasional dusting of snow. Stately Renaissance facades watching over magnificent squares and Gothic spires reaching skyward. Dimly lit train stations redolent of times past. Castle towns that drew artists like Egon Schiele away from the bustle of Vienna. The Vlatava (Moldau) winding its way languidly through České Budějovice (Budweis) and Český Krumlov.

And, of course, cities that have given their names to beer styles and brands renowned the world over.

Pictures at a Czech beer exhibition.

Gallery 1: České Budějovice: home of the real Budweiser

IMG_5655Twilight over the old town’s Black Tower signals the shift from exploring the narrow streets radiating off the main square to settling into taverns for hearty Bohemian food and beer.

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The Dominican Monastery gardens. I’m sure these folks drank plenty of beer in their time.

U Tří Sedláků (At the Three Yeoman) once catered to merchants and officers, and to the rafters driving wood along the river. During the Communist era it was annexed to a nearby restaurant called Masné Krámy (Meat Shops).

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On its own again since 2005, it now serves Pilsener Urquell, while the neighbouring Masné Krámy deals in Budweiser Budvar.

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By the time night falls, the Masné Krámy, with its Renaissance façade and basilica-style layout dating back to the sixteenth century, transforms itself into a classically raucous drinking establishment. Forget about trying to find a table.

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The city hall

The previous night’s revelry now the stuff of dreams, it’s time for some culture in the form of a brewery tour.

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The real deal.

The Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (Budweiser Budvar Brewery) was founded in 1895, and has been engaged in a protracted trademark dispute with a certain Annheuser-Busch.

IMG_5709The dispute takes center stage in a tongue-and-cheek short film that forms part of the exhibit in the visitor center. Spend some time checking out the rest of the exhibits if you arrive early for your tour.

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Those midday tours really help you work up an appetite. If the samples on the tour weren’t enough, you can head next door to the Budvar Brewpub.

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Relatively light fare as far as Bohemian cuisine goes.

České Budějovice isn’t all Budweiser Budvar and Pilsener Urquell. You’ll find the occasional gem tucked away here and there. Krajinská is one such spot. Great food, too. (Of note: The micro/craft breweries we visited depart from the stock repertoire of delicious but hefty Bohemian cuisine, offering lighter fare with an “artisanal” touch.)

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Minipivovar Krajinská

Keep your eyes open for Beeranek as well – closed in late December when we visited. Thanks to Tomáš Hasík for the tips.

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Off to Pilsen two hours away.

Historical note: The train line connecting České Budějovice to Linz is the second-oldest train line in the world.

Gallery 2: Plzeń/Pilsen

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The Great Synagogue, built in 1893, is the second-largest synagogue in Europe.

Plzeń is the birthplace of that most famous of beer styles, the Pilsener, first brewed in 1842 by Bavarian brewer, Josef Groll.

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St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, located on Republic Square.

Pilsener Urquell (now under the auspices of SABMiller) is ubiquitous, as are the taverns and hotels affiliated with the company.

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Not a microbrewery.

English tours depart on a regular basis throughout the day. We showed up about 10 minutes after one had started. No worries. You can get a combo ticket for the tour and for the Brewery Museum.

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Malting bed plus crucifix and uncanny wax figure.

The informative museum of brewing history –– complete with an intricate model of a brewery that took eighteen years to build –– is also affiliated with the Pils Urquell folks.

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Apparently this contraption can even brew a small volume of beer.

Back to Pilsener Urquell we go. The tour of the biggest brewing operation in town is a fairly straightforward affair augmented by high-tech multi-media displays and a trip to the bottling and canning line.

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Can’t get enough of them copper kettle photos.

But that all changes with the labyrinthine lagering cellars dating to 1839 –– worth the price of admission alone.

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The cellars are also home to small-batch open-fermented beer that subsequently spends time in pitched aging casks.

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Note the date: 28.12. Brewed the day before we arrived.

If only Pils Urquell and similarly large breweries would distribute this kind of tradition beyond their cellars. Vastly better than any bottled or draught Pils Urquell.

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U Pašáka

Pilsen is also home to a nascent craft beer scene.

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One particularly vibrant craft beer bar, Na Čepu (no good pix, unfortunately –– blame it on the good beer) has set up shop in the shadow of the Brewery Museum. Co-owner Jaroslav Jakeš is a wealth of information on the local and Czech-wide beer scene.

And so we head out the next morning, skies blazing blue, memories of Czech-style stouts and white IPAs sustaining us, in the direction of Český Krumlov.

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Gallery 3: Český Krumlov

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If the Eggenberg beer hasn’t grabbed your attention yet, the tower rising up from the castle precincts will. Try scaling those rocks after a few beer.

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View of St. Vitus, straight up.

Český Krumlov suffered neglect during the communist era, but its splendid Renaissance and Baroque buildings were restored in the early 1990s, earning the town a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992.

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Cue up Smetana.

After all that Pilsener Urquell and Budweiser Budvar, Eggenberg Brewery (not to be confused with the Schloss Eggenberg brewery, brewers of the famous Samichlaus, in Austria’s Salzkammergut) provided us with a refreshing change of pace.

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A classic beer hall.

Their Nakouřený Švihák, a Rauchbier with very subtle maple-syrup-accented wood smoke, was one of the highlights of the trip. A much different Rauchbier than, say, Bamberg’s Aecht Schlenkerla.

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Duck with purple cabbage and two kinds of traditional Bohemian dumplings.

I don’t know about you, but these photographic reminiscences have made me hungry and maybe a little bit thirsty. Time for dinner and a beer.

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Filtered/unfiltered.

Na zdraví!

Related Tempest Articles:

Prelude to a Drink: Vienna

Let Us Now Praise Famous Lagers: Your Saturday Six-Pack (Vol.3)

Say No to Style Loyalty

All images by F.D. Hofer

© 2016 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All rights reserved.