Many thanks to Shaun for him letting me keep his rather excellent guide to Czech beer on my blog. You can download a copy at http://travelbeerfood.co.uk/files/czech16.pdf
An old work colleague, Shaun, decided to move the Czech Republic a few years ago. He’s put his time there to good use and produced this excellent guide to Czech beer – download it at http://travelbeerfood.co.uk/files/czech15.pdf.
Prague’s good for beer. The Czech Republic has a long history of beer and even though much of it is bog standard lager, scratch beneath the surface and there are some really really good beers to found. Tourism has had a big part to play in all of this, and it’s helped develop some really good breweries and beery places, but it’s also chucked out a load of rubbish.
A colleague once asked me about Prague and it’s beer and I told him “Stay away from the main square. Go even one street away and if you see Czechs, you’re not going to be far wrong”. When he came back, he grumbled at how much he’d paid for bottles of Corona from ‘English bars’ on the main square.
So – where was visited on this trip?
Tyrova 135, 266 01 Beroun, Czech Republic
Mon 09-20; Tue-Thu 09-22; Fri, Sat 09-23; Sun 10-20.
Ever been to a pub in a scrap yard? How about a brewery? No? Well visit Prague and get yourself off to Beroun (40 mins from Prague by train). Leave the station, turn left and after two minutes you’ll be in a scrap yard. Pass the Tatra and koda lorries, keep going past the tank and you’ll find this small restaurant, bar and brewery. They even have a hotel on site too!
Step from the train and into the station still ensconced in the Communist era and head left, walking by the railway lines into the scrap yard.
Many a beer afternoon has been spent here sampling the two beers – Světlý leák 11° and Tmavý speciál 13°. Also available were some new ones – Cyklopivo světlý 8° and Polotmavý speciál Grizzly 18°. They also had a couple of beers from other breweries – Podkovan 10 Kvasnikove and Klepacek Polotmave 14. The rather excellent and very cheap lunchtime food (CZK69!) was also sampled
It’s one of the standards for Prague beer – well worth a visit.
Čestmírova 390/5 140 00 Prague 4-Nusle, Czech Republic
Mon-Thu 11-23:30; Fri 11-01; Sat 17-01; Sun 17-23
Tram: Line 11, 18; stop Náměstí Bratří Synků (on the way to or from První Pivní Tramway)
Well – Zlý Časy. They stopped selling Big Brand beers something like four years ago, and now have 24 beers on tap along with more bottles (Czech, German, English, Scottish, Belgian…_ that you could shake a stick at. The range of beers is displayed on information cards across the top of the bar as well as a menu (tick list) presented to your table. Of course, it’s table service which at times can be a tad slow, but that’s usually because the bar’s full. Oh yeah – if you want to be guaranteed somewhere to sit, arrive early!
As far as beer selection goes, Zlý Časy is easy the best bar in Prague. Prices are very reasonable (much better than other establishments with a ‘decent range’ in the area) and is just generally a decent place to spend a few hours in an evening.
Davle, K Pivovaru 1, 252 06 Praha západ
Mon-Thu 10:30-22; Fri 10:30-11; Sat 10:30-11; Sun 10:30-22
Railway station: Davle
I’ve been through Davle a few times, and even spent about half an hour there last year. I’d noticed the building but there was no sign of a brewery. A few months ago however, the building was transformed into a hotel, brewery and restaurant. Excellent! [Update: the beer is brewed elsewhere]
Leaving the station and crossing the Davelský Bridge, which was used as the bridge in the film ‘The Bridge at Remagen’ and turn left and the imposing building is just in front. Everywhere seemed pretty dead in the town when we arrived, but fortunately there was a chap serving beer. They seem to do a range of seven beers, but only the only one available on draught was the sedmnáctke – a 17° golden beer. It was rather good. The other beers were all available, but only in 1.5l bottles – perhaps a bit much when we only had 40 minutes between trains.
The beer has a small terrace overlooking the river which in summer months, I would imagine is most pleasant. The area is popular with walkers and in summer, there is a steam train service.
Křiíkova 17°, Praha 8, Karlín
Metro: Line B, C; stop Florenc
Pivovarský dům is the oldest of the new wave of brew pubs and is incredibly popular with tourists. Pivovarský klub is it’s younger brother, concentrates more on beer than food (even though the former actually brews the beer) and is definitely less touristy.
With up to six draught beers to choose from and over 200 bottles, it’s probably the best stocked bar in the centre. They usually have one or two beers brewed at Pivovarský dům, but the rest are from small breweries across the country. As can be expected, the food is rather good too.
Havelská 501/23, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město
Tram: Národní třída
Havelská Koruna is not strictly a beery place, (they only sell Gambrinus and Pilsner Urquell). It is however a classic old fashioned Czech restaurant – my favourite since the one on Na poříčí was sold and turned into a Starbucks.
As you enter, you’re given a slip of paper that is imprinted with a stern warning of the threat of a 500CZK fine if you lose it!
Once you’ve overcome the shock of the threat of losing the piece of paper, you approach the array of serveries. At the hot food one, you have the choice of reading the menu on the wall in Czech or pointing to what you want, except that you can’t point to what you want as everything is covered with metal lids. Even though the style of restaurant is a bit of a throwback to the ‘olden days’, the staff now do have a smattering of English, although I was able to order the old favourite of ‘vepřo-knedlo-zelo’ (roast port, dumplings and sauerkraut), a beer and retire to the table. Everything you order is marked by number on the piece of paper which is then presented to the cashier on the way out.
If you’re in the centre of Prague and want good, homestyle cooking at a most agreeable price, go here.
Na Chodovci 1a, 140 00 Prague 4 – Záběhlice
Mon – Sun 14-00?
Tram 11; stop Spořilov (on the way to or from Zlý Časy)
Get off the tram at the terminus and immediately in front of you is a building. This is První Pivní Tramway. Walking time – about 2 steps.
This place is crowded. Even with only a few people in it’s crowded, but this gives you a good chance to sit with the locals and have a chat, for this place is definitely off the tourist trail (hurrah!). It’s got six beers with two or three exciting ones, again with good food at exceedingly good prices. Only downside – a touch on the smoky side.
Dlouhá 720/46 110 00 Prague 5-Old Town, Czech Republic
Opening hours: not mention on the web anywhere, but seem to remember them open much later than anywhere else
Tram: Dlouhá třída
Well, I was looking forward to this place. They had quite good reviews when they opened, but that seems to be long gone. Yes, they do have 30 beers on tap, but takeaway the national blands and they have less than Zlý Časy. Prices are very expensive – probably 10-20CZK more per 30cl beer than most other places.
The staff are a bit useless too – the one serving us just seemed to want to sell us the most expensive one – 69CKZ for a 30cl – that’s dearer than the UK! They also had a beer on called ‘Good Bulldog’ but no one seemed to know who brewed it and I was also advised not to try the house beer. It was also very smoky. If you’re a tourist, fine – you’ll like it. If you want a decent beer, find somewhere else.
Czech beer’s good. The lingo might be a bit special for anyone so here’s a few tips and word n stuff.
The beer is measured in degrees plato, so you instead of having a 5% beer, you might have a 12° beer. Read all about it here if you want, but a good rule of thumb is to subtract two from the plato scale and then divide by two. It’s not accurate, but it sort of works.
Svetlý – light
Polotmavý – medium dark
Leák – premium beer
Peničné – wheat beer
Medový – beer with honey
Viňový – beer with cherries
Údolní 7, Brno, Czech Republic.
Mon-Sat 11-23, Sun 11-22
U Richarda Brew Pub has been open in Brno for a wee while now, but as it’s out in the sticks and I’ve only been to Brno once before, I’ve never managed to visit. All is not lost now as there’s a second branch on the edge of the city centre (probably only 5 mins from Pegas brewpub.
Although catering to drinkers, U Richarda 2 does seem quite food based – in fact they call themselves a ‘Restaurace’ so it would have seemed rude not to have taken advantage of the current special offer of 500g of spicy pork ribs, bread and a Czech salad / garnish for 149CZK- about a fiver. Oh – with two beers too!
From what I understand, the beers are brewed out in the brew pub in the suburbs and sold there in the bar. I tried all they had to offer , these being
Světlý leák 12°
Tmavý leák 12°
Viňový leák 12° – a cherry beer
Pivni Special 12°
Peničné 11° – a wheat beer
Medový speciál 15° – a dark beer laced with honey.
A nice, modern bar, good food and good beer!
Jakubská 4, Brno, Czech Republic.
There’s not really a lot to say about Pegas – if you’ve been to Brno and like a beer, the chances are you’ve been to Pegas. Pretty much bog standard German / Czech beer hall type place with lots of wood, hops on the ceiling and fag smoke. The beer’s good though!
Whilst there, the Christmas beer was available – ‘Vánoční’ – a 15° beer that the barman said was just a mix of two of the standard beers. Still, if you blend two very good beers, you’re bound to still end up with a good beer!
After arriving in Praha, having a quick shower in the hotel, I was soon out with Jerry exploring the sites of Praha. Not the usual touristy sites (apart from a quick visit to Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí).
First port of call was
Opletavova 1597/24, Praha
222 244 302
Pleasant cellar bar with strange decoration. All the bit and bobs around the bar are made from old tools – the coat hooks are the heads from rakes, ash trays are trowels etc… Ferdinand beers available, including the excellent Sedm Kuli.
Lunch was at
Havelská 501/23, Praha 1
224 239 310
The beer’s not particularly great – just Gambrinus and Pilsner Urquell, but the food is traditional Czech. When you enter, you are issued with a piece of paper. Don’t lose or or you’re fined something daft like the equivalent of £15. Next, queue up in the snake like queue, decide what you want and order. It’s slapped on your plate and the bit of paper scribbled on to show what you’ve ordered. Choose a beer and then find a table. Some of the staff do speak a little English, but if you learn to say “vepřové, knedlíky a zelí ” you’ll get the good old staple of pork, dumplings and sauerkraut.
On the way out, hand the stern lady behind the till your paper and she’ll work out your bill.
Uhelný trh 415/10, Praha 1
224 229 982
I’ve walked past this place countless times – on this visit to Praha we went in as it now brews its own beers. They supposedly brew svetle, polotmavy and tmavy, although they only had the svetle when we were there, saying that the beer was too popular for them to keep up with demand!
As we were in the area, it would seem a shame not to visit
Nádraní 23, Praha 5
Sun-Wed 1130-01, Thu-Sat 1130-02
257 941 669
Part of Staropramen’s ever growing chain of restaurant pubs, this branch is in the brewery buildings! Allegedly the only place to get the unfiltered (nefiltrovaný) Staropraman – I can’t dispute this as I’ve not seen it elsewhere! But on this occasion I decided to try the new Staropramen 11. The restaurant is actually really nice – I’ve eaten there before and the food is good and the decor is quite modern. The only downside is that they allow smoking, but that’s still pretty much par for the course anywhere in the Czech Republic.
Next port of call –
Na Veselí 702/48 , Praha 4
261 224 717
A proper Czech boozer! Basic interior, plastic topped tables and a thick smoky fog that makes your eyes smart before you’ve even sat down! They served four beers from the Kacov brewery – Hubertus 10 and 12, both available in ‘normal’ and unfiltered varieties.
Čestmírova 5, Praha 4
Mon-Thu 11-2330, Fri 11-01, Sat 17-01, Sun 17-23
One of Prague’s best ‘ticker’ pubs with a selection of 12 beers on draught (including a Brew Dog beer while we were there!) but was just a touch on the busy side leaving us to squeeze in to tables with other folk. It soon thinned out, affording us a stool at the bar. A must visit.