No longer confined to smoky backstreet bars and restaurants packed full of beer-bellied, bearded middle-aged men, the centuries old golden brew is now officially de rigeur and is once more the drink to be seen with. Latest figures show that the Czechs lash down a staggering average of 143 liters per head each year. Although cheaper than bottled water, the national tipple wins bucketfuls of awards when it comes to quality, prompting us to look at some of the lesser known tricks the country has up its sleeve when it comes to the old amber nectar.
1. It’s the home of the original Budweiser
Two major landmarks occurred in 1785 — the dollar was chosen as the official currency of the United States and Budweiser was first brewed in the town of České Budejovice. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that they must be darn good at brewing the stuff by now. Czech Budweiser (known in the USA as Czechvar) is one of the country’s iconic brands and ships to over 60 countries.
2. There are beer trams
No slouches when it comes to drinking, the Czechs soon realized that moving from bar to bar can result in a serious loss of valuable drinking time. So, what better solution than a beer tram that serves its passengers as it trundles between venues? The city of Brno got one over on its big brother Prague by launching the first of its kind in 2015.
3. You can bathe in it
We’ve all heard of beer shampoo and beer soap although the Czechs take the concept one step further with plenty of visitors and locals willing to indulge themselves in one of the many beer spas that have sprung up across the country in recent years. Wallowing in a beery hot tub with a beer in hand adds a whole new dimension to the expression “drinking the barrel dry”.
4. You can watch it being made
After downing copious amounts of the national brew and splashing around in it with your rubber duck, then maybe it’s a good idea to see what exactly your inner and outer self are ingesting. Find out by taking a tour of one of the country’s landmark breweries. Both the legendary Pilsner and Budweiser breweries offer fully guided tours that, of course, include the best bit — tasting. Take a tour of the Budweiser brewery when planning a journey to Česky Krumlov or make time to stop off in the city of Pilsen to sample some of the best beer that the country has to offer.
5. You can sleep right next to it
If you can’t bear to be away from your favorite tipple for the night, then why not check yourself into a brewery hotel? As well as those in the big cities of Prague and Brno, there are many similar well-priced establishments dotted around the smaller towns in the country’s microbreweries. These have become popular choices for those visitors who like to watch, sample, imbibe and pass out before doing it all again the next day — all without having to leave the premises.