I’m a beer lover, and I’m planning to visit Czechia in the near future. I’m looking for some tips and recommendations on how to enjoy the beer scene in Czechia.
My question is, would you recommend hiring a guide who knows the ropes, or can a casual beer fan like myself do ok going self-guided? On one hand, a guide could give great insights and take me to cool events/hidden gems. But I also like the flexibility of self-touring. What have others experienced having done it both ways?
Also open to recommendations on any breweries that are must-visit or under-the-radar gems I shouldn’t pass up.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and hopefully getting some great recommendations too. Cheers in advance!
Weellll, there are some people doing pub crawls for tourists in Prague, but I doubt that you can just hire a guide who will guide you around the country.
For how long are you there? When exactly Which places are you visiting? Do you have a set itinerary or are you flexible? Public transport / buses and railways or do you have a designated driver? It’s not the biggest of countries, but it’s not exactly tiny and some good places take time to get to.
Thanks, @marko. I was planning to go in September 2024 and do a self-guided tour, hoping to catch a beer festival along the way. But I only have 10 days to spend there, so I might not be able to visit all the places I want to see without a guide.
The breweries I’m most interested in are: Pilsner Urquell, Eggenberg, Brevnov Monastery and Budweiser Budvar. But I’m still doing some research on other breweries that might be worth checking out.
When I was in Prague I took the train to Louny is the place where you find Zichovec maybe the best Brewery in the country I guess it’s also possible to take a train to the city who brew Matuska the best brewery ther and price’s are better than Prague.
@charlotte, thanks so much for the recommendations on Zichovec and Matuska brewery! I personally prefer taking the trains in my travels. I’ll have to add both Zichovec and Matuska to my itinerary. It’s really helpful to get recommendations from people who have visited before. I want to make the most of my 10-day trip and taste as many unique Czech beers as possible.
Urquell is a must-visit with the cellar tour - while you’re in Pilsen, the Raven brewery is a must, an easy tram ride from the center that dumps you in front of the brewery. Good places in the center to visit would be Pivstro, KEGzistence, Zlatá Kráva Bandaska and maybe Francis. They will offer a mix of traditional styles and modern ones. If you luck into the market on the main square, there might be a stand with Slovak Včelovina meads there - fantastic stuff.
The Břevnov monastery is a fine visit. The brewery part (not sure if they offer tours) is connected to a small store only, however, they have a taproom on the other side of the monastery (Klašterní sýpka) that also sells beers to go. The restaurant in between those two is unaffiliated with them, and serves fewer beers. A short tram ride away from there in the old city center the Strahov / Sv. Norbert brewery is a must visit, their amber is a classic but they’ve been nailing modern hoppy styles really well recently as well. Not far from there near the Hradčanská station you have perhaps the best beer store in town (though there are other gems around) - Base Camp, you have the Automat Matuška taproom (no need to visit the brewery honestly, far away, and they have outlets in Prague), and not far from that the Bubeneč brewery. A further tram ride from there can take you to the Letná area, with the Lajka brewpub and other places.
The Zichovec brewery is cool, but of their beers are, however, easily available in Prague. Our Places section will provide you with a good to-do list honestly. Brewpub-wise, Vinohradský is a must visit too, Dva Kohouti is fun, Cobolis. Hostomická nalévárna for the fantastic and cheap Fabián beers… Prague can beer-wise honestly, unless you really want to travel around the country, take for most of the trip.
Budvar should be a cool visit, and in Budějovice the Solnice brewpub should be very good for beer and great for food, Krajinská 27 being another should-visit brewpub, along with Žiznivá gumovka and Klub malých pivovarů (KMP) pubs.
Wow Marko, this Czech beer guide is incredibly detailed - thank you so much for putting it together! I think with your recommendations, I really have a chance to finish the tour within ten days with the added bonus of getting to explore more of the country. I know I’m going to have an amazing time!
Thank you again, @marko for the updated information. Eggenberg was included in my list, but its a good thing another brewery is at its location now. Their green lager looks interesting! I found two more breweries, namely, U Fleků in Prague and Starobrno Brewery in Brno. U Fleků was suggested from another forum where I can enjoy live music and Prague cuisine with their beer, while Starobrno is one of the oldest breweries in Central Europe and has been brewing beer since 1325.
I think I am satisfied with the list of breweries that I will be visiting in the Czech Republic. I am in the process of planning the other places I will visit that are not beer related. While researching, I came across this great resource about visiting Czechia while I hope other interested travelers will find it useful Tourism In Czech Republic Statistics 2023: The Ultimate Guide | GoWithGuide
To be perfectly honest, you’d do better to actually check the resources on Ratebeer here, the Places for example:
Starobrno is a dirt-average Heineken-owned brewery that’s pretty much a meme when it comes to beer quality inside the CZ beer scene. The brewery itself was built in the late 19th century (like most big ones), only “carrying on the tradition” of the old one, which was at a different location. The person writing that article doesn’t know much about beer, or places worth visiting when it comes to beer. While visits to Urquell and Budvar are great, especially the former, pretty much no other bigger breweries are worth a detour, unless you’re really into industrial brewing plants.
Apart from RB places, the only two other online guides worth checking out (in English) would be: https://www.beerguideprg.com/ - by the late and great Fred Waltman, sadly not updated for most of this year due to his passing, but still relevant for Prague
And the European Bar Guide should be good for bars:
Thanks so much to @marko for sharing these great resources on breweries in the Czech Republic. While I knew there were many, I had no idea the number was as high as 528 listed in the Beer Directory alone. With only 10 days for my trip, trying even half of them seems impossible! It looks like I’ve got plenty of research ahead to narrow down which breweries most align with my interests. Though it’s a welcome dilemma to have too many options rather than too few. I welcome the challenge of planning the itinerary within my limited time. Cheers !