Happy International Beer day! If you’re coming to Prague for the first time (or perhaps you’ve been here a while) you should know that the act of brewing beer is a massive part of Czech culture. Whether you enjoy traditional or craft beer, we guarantee there is something in Prague to suit you!

A brief history of beer in the Czech Republic:
Beer has been brewed in the Czech Republic for over a thousand years with the first brewery having been established in the year 993 at Břevnov Monastery in Prague although the beer we drink today is very different from the beer then. In the past, the brewing of beer was mostly done by monasteries, it wasn’t until much later throughout the centuries when more and more towns received “brewing rights”. However, the Czech brewing industry was nationalized shortly after WWII when Communist rule took over and the reemergence of craft breweries didn’t come until 1990 after the Soviet era.

How is it brewed:
The base ingredients of beer consist of water, malt, hops, and yeast. However, it’s the alchemy around these ingredients that makes each beer different. The game-changer for flavor comes from what hops are used. Different hops are used to create tones of bitterness and aroma. Simplified, the process of brewing beer involves heating water and the extract from the grains, boiling the mixture with hops, cooling the mixture, allowing yeast to ferment the mixture, and lastly, adding carbonation! If you want to know more extensively about the process of beer making, Pilsner Urquell offers a comprehensive tour of their brewery in Pilsen! 

There’s a lot of science involved in brewing. Changing the temperature affects the taste as does the choice of water! There’s even a difference in how you ferment beer, which brings us back to Czech beers which are predominantly lagers (though ale is widely popular too). Lagers are made by fermenting yeast at the bottom of the kettle at a colder temperature. They can end up as pale, amber, or dark beers. On the contrary, ales are top-fermented at a higher temperature which yields a creamier foam.

What can you expect from beer culture in Prague:
Yes, it’s true beer is cheaper than water but we greatly encourage you to keep hydrated if you’re going out to sample Prague’s finest beers! After tasting well-known beers such as Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, and Kozel, we have a few recommendations to serve up:

  • Vinohradský Pivovar: The brewery was founded in 1893 as Měšťanský Pivovar when the Vinohrady neighborhood was not yet part of Prague. It continued its legacy throughout the 20th century (despite the nationalization of breweries under the Soviets) the brewing connection remained as the country’s Brewery and Malt Research Institute operated out of this location. It reestablished itself as a group of friends from school who had long dreamt about starting a brewery together. They achieved this dream after years of raising capital and searching for the right location and opened doors when the craft beer scene was still in its infancy in Prague. They serve 10, 11, and 12-degree lagers as well as plenty of ales such as the special Coconut Galaxy IPA!
  • BadFlash: Located in Karlín, Bad Flash was founded in 2013 by two friends Zlej Hanz and Libor Kult who had both run very successful pubs ( The Zlý Časy pub and the Kulovej Blesk pub). These two enthusiasts, who were lucky that their biggest hobby became their job, went to create BadFlash- a striking new beer scene concept. A brewery that strives to ensure that the term “good Czech beer” means a wide range of beer flavors – from the finest whites and blanches through ipes, lagers and bitters to hardcore tastes of barley wines, imperial stout or smoked doppelbocks.

Just outside of Prague:

  • Hostivar Pivovar: There are actually not 1 but 2 breweries that stand on the border of Hostivař and Horní Měcholupy. The goal behind this business is to connect locals with travelers, young with old, athletes with intellectuals, and sometimes even Slavists with kangaroos… as they claim! H2 (the second brewery) even has its own drive-through bakery. These breweries stand out not only because of the excellent quality of their beer but also for their modern, spacious design and massive outdoor spaces – including a fireplace pit! Inside you can find all sorts of lagers and ales and if you’re lucky even a wheat beer in the summer season.
  • Matuška Brewery: Located in Broumy in the heart of Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Territory, Matuška Pivovar is a brewery crafting excellent quality beers without sugar, syrups or hop extracts, only with water, malt, hops and yeasts, and with a decoction mash – a process that is very demanding in time and energy, but gives the beer a fuller body. All their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, keeping their fresh taste, (as if they were tapped straight from the lagering cellar)! Visiting the brewery can make for an excellent day trip outside of Prague, however, if you don’t want to go that far, you can find their beers in every good multitap or craft beer shop (such as BeerGeek) in Prague. Look out for their ales in fancy 0,7-liter bottles and artistic label design!

Shops for hops:

  • BeerGeek: Easily found in Vinohrady or Andel, BeerGeek carries the biggest range of beers from local and foreign craft brewers in the Czech Republic. Every day they connect 5-10 new beers, many of them you will not be able to find anywhere else! Also,  they don’t carry beers that you can buy from the supermarket, like Urquell Pilsner or Gambrinus. They even brew their own beer under the brand Sibeeria Brewery which you can try on tap at their bar!
  • M0ST: With two locations in the Holešovice district, this shop has been running since 2018 under the co-ownership of two friends. Ecologically minded all drinks are in glass, to preserve the delicious taste, with the least possible environmental impact and the possibility of easy recycling of packaging. They supply the best in local and foreign beers which they believe are of premium quality. M0ST also organizes beer tastings, live music events, and much more.