Beers from the Czech Republic are some of the best beers in the world, and are produced with real love and care. Any country that can pass a law regarding the purity of its brewing must really love their beers. In fact, the Czechs consume more beer per person than any other nation in the world – 159 litres each. The most famous Czech beers are lager beers, although there is also a huge range of darker beers as well. Known as ‘Pivo’, there are few countries that can boast as impressive a range of beer as Czech lager beer.
History of Czech Beer
Czech beer has one of the longest histories of any beer in the world, with beer being produced over 1,000 years ago. Czech Republic is widely regarded as the premier beer-brewing nation in the world. Not only do they consume more beer than anyone else, but also they have the first beer museum in the world, the first beer-brewing textbook, and the first ever golden beer. Czech lager beer is what all other lager beers are based on, with the first being brewed in Pilsen back in 1842. The country is full of famous beer brewing towns such as Pilsen, Budweis and Bohemia. If it weren’t for Czech Republic, we perhaps wouldn’t have many of the brands and lager beers that we are familiar with today.
The Budweiser Story
One of the best-known beers in the world is the American beer Budweiser, which is made by the world’s largest brewer Anheuser Busch. However, perhaps the real source of Budweiser is from the Czech town of Budweis. Although American Budweiser was brewed first, there is clearly no comparison in taste. Budweiser Budvar, the Czech lager beer, is slightly spicy, dry, hoppy lager beer with a citrus aftertaste. Just like many Czech beers, it is made with quality Saaz aroma hops, and beats the American version every time. Both companies have been involved in legal wrangling for decades, with the Czech firm wanting Budweiser to only be made in Budweis, and Anheuser Busch wanting the Czech beer to change its name. Whatever name Budvar goes under, it is definitely one of the finest lager beers in the world.
Perhaps the most famous Czech beer is Pilsner Urquell – the original lager beer that all others are based upon. With a sweet, malty taste, this is lager beer at its finest. Produced in originally in Prague, the brewery is now owned by beer giant SABMiller. Despite concerns over dropping quality, the original Czech lager beer is still one of the best in the world, especially when sampled in its homeland.
Dark Czech Beers
Although Pilsner and Budvar along with beers like Staropramen are the best-known Czech beers internationally, there are some amazing Czech beers that are less known. In particular, the bottom-fermented dark beers from Bohemia are some of the most interesting and satisfying beers in the world. Although this process is becoming increasingly rare, there are still many excellent beers and breweries to be found. One of the best is called Pernstejn Porter, a strong 8% bottom-fermented porter. The beer tastes of toffee, and liquorice, and has a bitter, hoppy finish. It is the perfect combination of sweetness and bitterness and its final bitter finish has a real lasting quality. Although extremely hard to find outside of Czech Republic, if you are visiting then you should definitely track it down.
If you don’t come across this beer then one of the more common dark Czech beers is U Fleku. It is a brewpub beer and has been around since the 15th century. Other great beers available include Kelt, which is a good beer for Guinness lovers, and Kozel Premium, which is a smooth, dark lager.
The Czech people are truly proud of their beer, and it is more than just a drink; it is part of their history, culture and society. This is what makes Czech beer so special, and why it is one of the greatest beer-producing nations in the world.